Attn. Diggers - Save your Hutchinson Spring Stoppers! Worth way more than scrap!

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Plumbata

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I've been saving the intact stoppers found in broken hutches since I started, and will shatter the dug broken tops to collect the stoppers if they aren't already free. I did this as a habit but without much motivation other than thinking they were cool and would look good in hutches with broken or missing stoppers.

Well, a post a while back by Minnessota Digger suggesting that they be collected and sold as brass scrap made me re-evaluate the stoppers from a value standpoint instead of viewing them as mere curiosities, though I had a gut feeling that the scrap value of them as brass was way lower than potential appeal to collectors. A good proportion of the weight is cheaper pot metal or whatever (I think different convenient castable alloys were used for the gasket hub over time) so some scrapyards might reject the stuff anyway.

So I checked eBay, and have kept an eye on it for a little while, and it seems that 1.50-2.00 a piece, prior to shipping costs, is the going rate for lots of 5 or more. Strangely, an individual example sold for 6 bucks recently, which must be a fluke caused by someone seeking convenience without regard to price. Here is a standard example:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/lot-of-7-Hutchinson-Soda-bottle-stoppers-early-1900s-/251306522957?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a8309394d&nma=true&si=4TlTl5gMc66M6%252FK5eCtP8sXqJnY%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

Now here's the math:

I took 10 random acid-cleaned stoppers (sans rubber) and the average weight was 9.6 grams. That makes 47.3 stoppers per pound.

47.3 stoppers sold to the scrappers as 1 pound of brass will earn you 1.90 or thereabouts.

47.3, multiplied by a buck fiddy (conservative end of things) sold to eBayers will earn you 70.95.

Now this will be peanuts for some of you, but if you're already inclined to save them for scrap, then I doubt you'll shake a stick at the idea of generating a several-thousand percent increase in revenue from the things by selling them as the antique spring stoppers they are. [:)]

I figure I'll add this too, as it relates:

People actually pay for the porcelain mason jar lid inserts, i believe for art/hobby purposes, though marketing and selling them requires more "craft" and creativity than the hutch stoppers. Here's an example, though I've seen far more impressive sales in the past:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MASON-JAR-LID-INSERT-OLD-PORCELAIN-LINED-GENUINE-ZINC-CAPS-MILK-WHITE-LOT-X-9-/221250582585?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item33838ff839

Not very impressive on the face of it, but I've got several creek dumps where you can go and pick up dozens of these right off the surface, and conceptualized as big white half-dollars their accumulation might not seem quite so pointless. I won't actively bother with it, but those with the inclination or economic need could definitely exploit the demand and thus "squeeze money out of garbage".
 

timmy

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Very Cool. Plumbata! I know where there are a few,maybe lots of busted up Hutches with stoppers still intact! Maybe I should gather those up?
 

cyberdigger

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Yo Plummy, nice math.. for a jobless fellow..[;)] What about table ware, silver plated spoons and such.. any of that going through the bay?
 

cobaltbot

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Always loved this post:

https://www.antique-bottles.net/forum/m-199654/mpage-1/key-Hutchinson/tm.htm#199827
 

MINNESOTA DIGGER

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how many people want the stoppers ? . the market for scrap is endless i find lots of corroded ones and brass burners . . the good ones have some value . i have never sold any on ebay . if i get good ones i would put them in my own collection hutch bottles
 

blobbottlebob

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Thanks for posting this Plumb. I agree that the stoppers basically have greater historic and collectible value than their scrap weight.

And thank you to cobaltbot for linking my thread on stoppers. I always save and retrieve them from broken examples. Those polished ones add a sparkling accent to any example.
 

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