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  1. #1

    Any advice for someone starting out?

    I'm very new to this; until now I have just picked up bottles and the like at local antique stores that I thought would look good in my home. I'm curious what you wish you would have known when you started to collect items with value. Should I concentrate on one kind of item or manufacturer? Where is the best place to find items? Is there a list of must haves?! Thank you for your time.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bottle Master Spirit Bear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Muskegon, Michigan
    It's a hobby, not a job. Collect what you want unless you intend it for investment. It's meant to give you pleasure, not to make you feel competitive or the need to match. Most people are too obsessed with Keeping up with the Joneses.
    Currently, though, investmentwise....original (there are many reproductions) pictorial and figural Historical Flasks are very popular, along with Bitters bottles. But you can expect to shell out hundreds and not see any real profit in the future.
    If you would like to learn about the actual manufacturing and dating diagnostics for antique utility glass (as in, glass with a real function, like antique bottles, rather han just art glass), then here is your new best friend:
    As for where to find them, you can find neat bottles for cheap on e-Bay. Antique stores mostly sell junk now, or are just too over-priced. Even e-Bay is beginning to get like that.
    Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

    Joshua chapter 1, verse 9.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bottle Master
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Personally, I wish that I'd started collecting things that are local to me earlier. I know I passed up some amazing deals due to not specializing in anything. If you live in a small town and you see cheap bottles from your area, especially with paper labels, pick them up. Not because they'll ever be valuable (they won't) but because future you will be happy you have them.

    I wouldn't recommend shelling out too much money at first, there's a good chance you'll end up overpaying and later on you'll likely end up specializing in something and won't even want that expensive bottle you bought.

    Don't expect anything you buy to appreciate in value too much. I don't think bottle collecting is going to be dying anytime soon but the supply of pre-1930's dumps that are easy to dig is running out, and that's how most collectors get their start. Not enough new collectors means prices depreciate.

    Look for bottle shows or antique and collectible shows near where you live. That's by far the best place to consistently find good prices on interesting bottles. Flea markets are also good, and you can get good stuff through classified ads but that can be pretty hit-and-miss.

    And if you're able to try your hand at bottle digging! There are still plenty of bottles out there to be found if you know where to look.


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