Good Stories from bottle hunting in the 1960s/70s/80s

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Still

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Hi guys,
So as the curious young person I am, I want to learn more about what this great hobby was like during the prime age of bottle hunting. Im hoping some of the more senior folks on here can provide some insight into how bottle hunting and digging was like in the 1960s/70s/80s. Good finds? Common finds? Rare finds? How easy was it to get permissions then vs today? Etc… and Im also curious to know the history of how the bottle market evolved over time.
Thank you to all the folks who provide their insight and please don’t be offended by me calling you senior, I’m using this term as a way to describe you in terms of experience within the hobby and the time you’ve spent in the hobby and not your personal age!
Thank you!
 

East_Tn_Bottle_Guy

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Hi guys,
So as the curious young person I am, I want to learn more about what this great hobby was like during the prime age of bottle hunting. Im hoping some of the more senior folks on here can provide some insight into how bottle hunting and digging was like in the 1960s/70s/80s. Good finds? Common finds? Rare finds? How easy was it to get permissions then vs today? Etc… and Im also curious to know the history of how the bottle market evolved over time.
Thank you to all the folks who provide their insight and please don’t be offended by me calling you senior, I’m using this term as a way to describe you in terms of experience within the hobby and the time you’ve spent in the hobby and not your personal age!
Thank you!
This is not really telling what bottle hunting was like, but it's a fun story, so I thought I'd share. I'm not sure when this took place, but I belive some time in the 80s or 90s. Anyway, my uncles and grandfather were hunting deer down where they lived in Southern Georgia. They agreed to stay until it got dark and they would meet back at the truck. It got dark and my uncles had reached the truck but my grandfather wasn't there yet. They heard some scraping off in the woods and realized what was probably going on. When they checked it out, my grandfather was digging through an old trash pile with the butt of his 30.30! The next time I'm down there, I'm hoping to be able to ask him where they were that night.
 

TexasRancher

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Was hunting in 1970 to 75 in upstate N.Y....every colonial to 1890's home standing or gone had a place where they dumped their household used-up steel and glass...from their wagons. Usually right off the side of the road and usually in gullies in and near rock-lined fences. Farming was key...rocks and trash went down into the low water spots along the road. Deep dished bottom Iron pontils were plentiful but almost every one was broken..beautiful blues and green pontils were used as throwing bottles and hit the rocks. But the Blob-tops survived were dumped out. No permissions needed as a boy i could just go search and dig around most anywhere that wasn't mowed or cared for along side a road it could be searched...people in the country in the 1970's weren't so possessive about their land. There was a least a dozen old homes standing- abandoned unmowed that we could search their backyard ravines. I used to find lots of good Model T and A automotive hardware just left in their fallen roof sheds-garages. Free for anyone that wanted it. Use to find dusty ball mason jars still intact (canned) with food inside....green beans, peaches, plums, apples, peas still in them in the celler cupboards (where it didn't freeze)...we used to open them just to check the contents and smell how things were...everything smelled pretty good..but was probably canned in the 1920's 30's, 40's. I found an 1850's seated half-dime raking leaves as a kid...Dad found an uncirculated 1916 buffalo nickel...but was darkened... digging in his garden. I'd come back with old blue medicine bottles and silver spoons when I was 5 or 6..found in our celler, barn areas...and didn't even know what they were (treasure)...until my parents spoke-up and were amazed. That's what got me into exploring and bottle hunting. Oh and the best way to discover where the bottles...in treed-land with lots of leaves on the ground... was to look for the tops of steel trash like old buckets and basins...these wide metal items never sunk very far...find the steel junk and the bottles were beneath it.
 

Hezezilla

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Although I didn't exist back then, from the stories the old folks tell me, back in the day was incredible. I live on Oahu and they often speak of the days when Honolulu was being redeveloped. All the old homes were torn down and massive areas were clumped together for new high rises. The guys brought old Sanborn maps. It was one awesome dump after another. You didn't even need to ask for permission most of the time since the construction workers themselves were often bottle diggers. One thing that really shocked me was how much gold and silver these guys were finding while hunting for bottles. I heard of a spot where they pulled two or three cans worth of silver quarters. I hope to check that spot out over the summer since they believe there's more still there.
 

CanadianBottles

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Although I didn't exist back then, from the stories the old folks tell me, back in the day was incredible. I live on Oahu and they often speak of the days when Honolulu was being redeveloped. All the old homes were torn down and massive areas were clumped together for new high rises. The guys brought old Sanborn maps. It was one awesome dump after another. You didn't even need to ask for permission most of the time since the construction workers themselves were often bottle diggers. One thing that really shocked me was how much gold and silver these guys were finding while hunting for bottles. I heard of a spot where they pulled two or three cans worth of silver quarters. I hope to check that spot out over the summer since they believe there's more still there.
Sounds like a place that's really worth bringing a metal detector to, people who hoarded silver often buried quite a lot of it. Digging every overload signal at a home site is going to get old fast though, no way to tell a jar of silver apart from a big piece of trash without digging it, and old home sites have a LOT of buried trash.
 

TexasRancher

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Sounds like a place that's really worth bringing a metal detector to, people who hoarded silver often buried quite a lot of it. Digging every overload signal at a home site is going to get old fast though, no way to tell a jar of silver apart from a big piece of trash without digging it, and old home sites have a LOT of buried trash.
Most of the smart old-time hoarders-burying their silver, long before metal detectors...usually put them in pottery-crock pots or wide mouth glass jars...as they knew the steel-metal cans would not last in the ground and coins would not be keep clean and together. That hoard of gold coins found in corroded steel cans in California...was unusual...someone (a thief) buried them fast without thought.
 

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