View Full Version : Best price guide/identification publication?

05-10-2013, 08:53 AM
I am new to this forum and have been purchasing bottles here and there for about a year now. I do have trouble identifying bottles that do not display obvious markings such as a label. I was at a book store not too long ago and found a book on the subject, but it was very difficult to understand. Is there a particular book that helps to identify and offer a ball park figure as to what I should be paying that is easy to understand, or is this just something that will come with time?

All recommendations would be most helpful. TY

RED Matthews
05-10-2013, 09:24 AM
So I have given this new collector my two cents treatment. Bottles give me daily pleasure and the reasoning of value has now gone beyond reality from the postings I am reading today. So learn what gives us a common sense cash value logic. More two cents worth. RED Matthews

05-10-2013, 10:49 AM
Is there a particular book that helps to identify and offer a ball park figure as to what I should be paying that is easy to understand, or is this just something that will come with time? I hope I don't come off a rude but basically no to the first and yes to the second.
I would never use a price gide for dertiming buying, only selling and that would only to be to find out if it's worth the effort of typing. Most guides won't mention low price stuff so if you see something interesting, go with you gut. If it's 25 cents, what the heck. Sometimes I'll use the old 70's Carlo Sellari but even then some things go up and some go down.
Also, use any price as a mint condition bottle. No chips, cracks, stain, not even a tiny fleabite in most cases.

05-10-2013, 10:12 PM
I concur with RED and cowseatmaize. How much do you want to spend? How old are the bottles you want? Rare is rare to whom? Spend a lot of time on ebay looking. You'll see stuff that is relatively inexpensive that might excite you. Local always sells higher locally. I live in Kansas City, but collect bottles from central New York because they are basically cheaper and more plentiful. Local beer and soda bottles, pre ABM are not at all common here. You are the only one who can decide the value of a bottle. If more people want that particular bottle, through an odd color or interesting shape like a Brown's Indian Bitters or interesting context like a historical flask, the price will go up. The best price guide is your guts.


andy volkerts
05-11-2013, 04:08 AM
One thing that you could do that will help you at least know what is out there, is to go to your local library and peruse or check out there bottle books, there will be price guides, identification books and books on the history of glass bottles. Most price guides are out of date in a year or two and some of the bottle categories were written about many years ago, like Bill Agees books on cures, done in the late sixties. Peck Markotas book on sodas, and Ring Ham on bitters, all of these are out of date. Ring Ham is the closest to being accurate on pricing, but even it is a little out of date on a lot of the better bitters. BUT these publications will at least let you know what you might like to collect. Kovels is the worst for pricing, but it is good for showing what is out there generally. You will have to develop gut feelings on how much you might want to pay for a bottle, but KNOW this fact above all COLOR is KING KING and even the most common bottle in a rare color will bring many times its value over the common color. Be aware of NUKING bottles to get them to show rare colors. search this forum for nuking and you will see discussions on this disgusting practice. MOST of all talk to your fellow collectors and JOIN a bottle club in your area if possible......Hope this helps, I have been doing this for near fifty years, and learn something new all the time, So you are going to make mistakes, dont beat yourself up to much, just use your gut feeling about if you want to pay asking price on a bottle.....always ask for a lower price, sometimes it works, nothing gained nothing lost....Andy

05-11-2013, 06:52 AM
Helping you find a good book depends on what type of bottles you like to collect. Every category has a specific book or two that collectors consider gold. Fruit jars has the Redbook of fruit jars, flasks have American Bottles & Flasks and Their Ancestry and I could go on and on. Some of these books do not even tell prices either. Pricing bottles comes with time and experience. If you are a general collector of all types of bottles I would suggest picking out your favorite bottle determine what category it fits in and learn about that type of bottle. Learn how old it is, how it is made and if older where it was made. That is my favorite part of collecting because I collect early American pontiled bottles with no embossing, determining where the were blown gives me more enjoyment than finding out how much they are worth. Everybody that is a member of this sight started as a beginner and I am sure like me they have made a mistake or two over the years. Just always remember if it is to good to be true it probably is. Let us know what interests you and I am sure we can recommend some reading material. Putting value on bottles can be as simple as looking at completed listings on ebay, unless you like Coca Cola or Pepsi bottles there all over the place on ebay right now but that is a whole other story. Good luck with your collecting and buy what you like so if you pay to much for it at least you will like it.