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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bottle Master
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    The future of bottle colllecting?

    Does anyone wonder what the future of collecting bottles will be, for younger generations? Because people's attitudes towards keeping a lot of stuff around, seems to be changing. Especially for the Millennial generation who tend to be more minimalists who do not want a lot of clutter. It could create a market where lots of bottles are available at low cost, because of little demand. I feel like I'm already seeing this on Ebay. Not just with bottles but with old vintage items in general.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bottle Master
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    Good point. Seems high end stuff still selling , local stuff if not common to local collectors as well. Not many young collectors for sure. This used to be a busy site ☺

  3. #3
    For me I got into this for my family history. Im kind of stubborn in that I only care about my family's bottles but I respect a lot of other brands.

  4. #4
    For what they're worth, these are my views......

    The future of bottle collecting, or preserving material culture/history in general, can go many ways. Bottle shows, imaginative ways of involving the family in bottle activities, getting more bottles in museums (getting more bottle museums period!), and publishing more about them (with beautiful images) can always help spark interest. I think this forum is a great resource, and maybe we should ask ourselves how we can extend its reach and encourage involvement in its activities and discussion.

    But massive waves of social and culture change are hard to beat. What happened to the rage about playing with Monopoly, "pick-up-sticks", toy guns, etc.? Yes, it seems like millennials and post-millennials are much more disconnected with the past than when I was young during the 1960s. Little appreciation of history and art, and artifacts that were part of and examples of the two. Way too many artificial distractions - smartphones, computer gaming, selfies, etc., etc. Not that they are bad, just some people don't see beyond them and get sucked in.

    I just collect the best examples of historic antiques I can, and will leave all to somebody or some institution that will appreciate and preserve them forever, for the public good, without worrying whether or not their values increase or decrease. 1,000 years from now, if the world survives, people will be thankful that we had the foresight to save, preserve, and hand-off these examples of human creativity and records of human behavior. Not only do I have a bottle collection, but I collect historic letters and military items, and this is what I plan to do with what I have.
    Last edited by historic-antiques; 06-20-2018 at 05:41 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bottle Master
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    I agree there is a movement away from having so called clutter , I've been to our dump here a few times and is always people just getting rid of stuff . for no particular reason other than to free up some space and get rid of things

    haven't really found many if any bottles so far this year but I have actually found some really neat books and some highly useful local topographical maps that someone just left at the dump in a box


    as for the future of collecting ? not really sure where its headed , we were seeing somewhat of a local surge in antique stores and used items stores . but in the last couple years a number of smaller antique stores have closed as owners retired or locations became too expensive to rent . we had one downtown here but it closed a couple months ago and space has been converted into a brew pub/restaurant . another larger antique mall closed last year and owner is doing an auction style website instead . overall the trend here has been towards more larger antique mall type businesses instead of small independent antique stores downtown , we have a few successful large antique malls but is fewer and fewer of the independent antique stores


    the largest bottle show in this area that they have once a year in april is always pretty busy , don't see there being a shortage of collectors or people looking for bottles , isn't an entirely grey haired crowd , some younger people there

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bottle Master Robby Raccoon's Avatar
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    I've long harbored a few views on the topic:

    Short answer: the hobby will crash in the next 25 years.

    Long answer:

    Most bottle collectors are over 40. Bottles are viewed by people as old trash. Most people who do appreciate them may like only the aesthetic, but not the history. Only certain bottles are liked by the average population (i.e. Coke). Bottles that aren't pre-Civil-War and embossed are often thrown out by even many collectors. They even, generally, frown on label-only even when a superior label is on the bottle.

    Therefore, bottle collecting will die out like train (Wisconsin still has a stronghold), furniture (East coast still has a stronghold), and porcelain (I think I'm the only stronghold?) collecting. Currently, there is a bubble: like the housing market. Retirees are the main collecting group. They can spend big. They do spend big because they want what is currently in vogue (historical flasks and rare bitters). Even damaged bottles in those categories can sell well.
    When they pass away, though, the bubble will collapse and these bottles will end up at thrift stores because few people want them-- and the few who want them aren't going to have to pay big anymore, so their value will be minimal: back to the 1960s values, when the hobby was taking off.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bottle Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by historic-antiques View Post
    For what they're worth, these are my views......

    The future of bottle collecting, or preserving material culture/history in general, can go many ways. Bottle shows, imaginative ways of involving the family in bottle activities, getting more bottles in museums (getting more bottle museums period!), and publishing more about them (with beautiful images) can always help spark interest. I think this forum is a great resource, and maybe we should ask ourselves how we can extend its reach and encourage involvement in its activities and discussion.

    But massive waves of social and culture change are hard to beat. What happened to the rage about playing with Monopoly, "pick-up-sticks", toy guns, etc.? Yes, it seems like millennials and post-millennials are much more disconnected with the past than when I was young during the 1960s. Little appreciation of history and art, and artifacts that were part of and examples of the two. Way too many artificial distractions - smartphones, computer gaming, selfies, etc., etc. Not that they are bad, just some people don't see beyond them and get sucked in.

    I just collect the best examples of historic antiques I can, and will leave all to somebody or some institution that will appreciate and preserve them forever, for the public good, without worrying whether or not their values increase or decrease. 1,000 years from now, if the world survives, people will be thankful that we had the foresight to save, preserve, and hand-off these examples of human creativity and records of human behavior. Not only do I have a bottle collection, but I collect historic letters and military items, and this is what I plan to do with what I have.
    Could not have said it better myself! There needs to be more bottle and/or glass museums that will properly take care of these items for the long haul. In my area, those type of museums have not fared well due to lack of funding and support.

    There are way too many distractions of daily, short-term, trivial things now. People want instant entertainment and do not have much interest in old relics or preserving the past. They live in the moment. I don't mind a great video game myself, but there is always more to the world.
    Last edited by WesternPA-collector; 06-20-2018 at 08:28 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bottle Master
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    Very good insight. Can't argue with any of that. I first found an interest in old bottles in my teens, but I know that is the exception. Many don't give a second thought to an old bottle on the ground. Saddest example I have found is a Yough Brewing bottle from the early 1900's that someone used for BB gun target practice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Bear View Post
    I've long harbored a few views on the topic:

    Short answer: the hobby will crash in the next 25 years.

    Long answer:

    Most bottle collectors are over 40. Bottles are viewed by people as old trash. Most people who do appreciate them may like only the aesthetic, but not the history. Only certain bottles are liked by the average population (i.e. Coke). Bottles that aren't pre-Civil-War and embossed are often thrown out by even many collectors. They even, generally, frown on label-only even when a superior label is on the bottle.

    Therefore, bottle collecting will die out like train (Wisconsin still has a stronghold), furniture (East coast still has a stronghold), and porcelain (I think I'm the only stronghold?) collecting. Currently, there is a bubble: like the housing market. Retirees are the main collecting group. They can spend big. They do spend big because they want what is currently in vogue (historical flasks and rare bitters). Even damaged bottles in those categories can sell well.
    When they pass away, though, the bubble will collapse and these bottles will end up at thrift stores because few people want them-- and the few who want them aren't going to have to pay big anymore, so their value will be minimal: back to the 1960s values, when the hobby was taking off.

  9. #9
    Maybe so but it won't slow down my interest. The value of my finds have never really been that big of a concern. There is just something exciting to be able to find a 100+ year old bottle, even if it is only worth $5. If anything it will increase my interest because I will be able to buy bottles that I wouldn't have ever been able to afford. I think the easy picking opportunities are getting harder to find, therefore it is hard for some people to be continuesly interested.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Bottle Master
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    I think one of the real dangers to the future of the hobby is how hard it is to stumble upon good, old dumps these days. Most collectors got into it as a kid finding an old dump in the woods. Now there are still plenty of dumps in the woods, but they're full of slicks from the 50s and 60s and even when those bottles are 100 years old they'll still be boring. I still see a decent number of collectors at shows around here who would qualify as millennials (late 20s/early 30s) though, so the hobby shouldn't be dying out on a large scale in the next few decades - not like stamp collecting which is in a really dire state right now.

    I disagree that young people today are uninterested in history and instead preoccupied with selfies and video games or whatever. People say the same sorts of things about every generation, and with every generation it's true for some and not for others. The thing with millenials and post-millenials is that they aren't interested in the 19th and early 20th century the way the Baby Boomer generation was interested in that era, but they're fascinated with the 60s and 70s. I think in general people are interested in the history of the era which came a few decades before they were born, in which it still seems familiar enough to have grown up around the remnants of that era and heard stories from their parents and grandparents about it, but is still far-removed enough that it feels like it has some sort of romantic mystique to it and the elusive sense of having been a better, simpler time. Remember how popular that old-west style font was in the 50s and 60s? Now modern graphic design is taking heavy cues from the 60s and 70s. Someone in 1960 would dream about what it would be like to go back in time to 1890 and be a cowboy. Millenials don't want to go back to 1890, to them 1890 is a very foreign world that they have little relation to. But they definitely daydream about what it would be like to go back to 1960 and be a beatnik.

    We aren't going to see a disappearance of antique collecting. But we are currently seeing a change in what is being collected. These days it's mid-century stuff that's popular. Mid-century modern furniture is popular among millenials with more money and condos to furnish. For those with less money it's smaller stuff; cameras, radios, postcards, that sort of thing. But that does bring us back to the lack of good dumps for kids to find, since someone who's interested in the 60s isn't going to randomly decide to start collecting ACL sodas, there has to be something to spark that interest.

    The large collection does seem to be disappearing, but I have to wonder about how much that has to do with millenials increasingly moving to cities since that's where the jobs tend to be these days, and rent in cities being too expensive for the space required to have a collection. I wonder if millenials in small towns are also giving up collecting. I suspect that they aren't, but I really have no experience in that area.



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