Glass bottle collecting is a hobby that can be quite rewarding, both pleasurable and profitable. But where do you begin to know which bottles are in demand and those that are pretty much worthless? There are signs to look for in starting or adding to your glass bottle collection that you should know.
Knowing what is popular among traders is key to making your collection stand out. By far, the most sought after type is the whiskey bottle that is stamped with colorful labels. Clear glass does not diminish the value with the portrait of pretty girls or military suggestions. Special editions may portray a holiday greeting while others have a metal screw cap. Uniqueness and good condition in this category can easily bring $500 to $1,000 per bottle.
The colored pontiled medicine bottle is a definite great find. Any bottle that is other than aqua or clear and has the Pontil name stamped on the base along with the Dr. name or type of medicine is a rarity. Only 200 types are known today which drives up the popularity. Some have sold for $20,000 and even one in very poor shape will bring $100. The aqua colored bottles are common but still have a selling price of $20 because of the Pontil name. Dating back to the 1600s, the colored pontil medicine bottle will add value to any glass bottle collection.
Another medicine bottle that is sought after is a bottle with ‘cures’ embossed in the glass. Labels with this word included are quite common and not as popular. These bottles were produced between the 1850s to the early 1900s and are attractive and well presented. You will find most in clear or aqua but the amber or other tones are much more saleable, possible bringing hundreds of dollars.
A third medicine bottle of popularity is one with the word ‘sarsaparillas’ embossed on the glass. Quite common are the clear and aqua brands but find a colored pantiled sarsaparillas bottle and the sky is the limit.
Hair tonic or barber glass bottles spanned the entire 19th century but still have appeal to collectors everywhere. Any color other than aqua; clear or amber can assure you fifty dollars or more. An enameled design will make your bottle worth even more.
Any type of bottle in a rare or unique color will catch the eye of a serious collector. The highest value colors are yellow green, cobalt, yellow, purple or puce. Second in value are those bottles of olive green, black, teal blue, milk glass and green. If a bottle is damaged or the color has been diminished, the value will go down.
There are many good books on the subject of bottle collecting by experts in the field. These are just a few suggestions to look for but just because a bottle is aged does not make it worth a lot. The seasoned collector will also look for the unusually shaped that may or may not hold value because of the attractiveness that it gives a collection. Collecting and trading bottles can be a great past time, learning not only the pricing but the history of eras long past.