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Interesting find

Bottle_lady

Member
Sep 13, 2020
24
13
I have a ton of “worthless” bottles - but to me...they aren’t worthless - I think they are still super cool and love to this k about the history of them.
 

hemihampton

Well-Known Member
Oct 6, 2006
6,781
113
Are you serious!!! Ha ha ha ha ....I can't believe how ass backwards I am in the bottle world.... Man I hope you guys don't think I'm hopeless...i really thought that people would like that...I said in an earlier post that it was a favorite of mine and I don't think any one wanted to tell me it was worthless...I'm glad you told me tho, because I'm gonna laugh my self to sleep about that...

Keep looking, you'll find some better older stuff eventually. Good Luck. LEON.
 

willong

Well-Known Member
Apr 22, 2009
304
43
Port Angeles, WA
I never knew there were so many people into bottles like this...
At it peak, bottle collecting was the number three collecting hobby in America. (Presumably behind stamps and coins, though I don't remember magazine and book articles specifying the first two.)

There's no doubt in my mind that the increasing difficulty of locating productive dig sites contributed to the decline in popularity. In the late 1950's and early 1960's the west was still littered with old ghost towns, abandoned mining sites, military and railroad camps and et cetera that literally lay open to the curious explorer.

I can remember riding in the car with my folks on Highway 395 through the Owens Valley* in California in the mid-to-late 1950's. Miles back, we had already passed through the Johannesburg and Red Mountain district, which was rife with head-frames and waste rock piles and scattered miner's cabins still standing. Off to the east, near Owens lake bed, stood an abandoned town about a mile from the highway. Between the buildings, and out into the surrounding desert, sat numerous abandoned vehicles of Model T and Model A vintage (I would not know the brands and models today, let alone in my childhood). Everywhere, light reflected off the bare ground patches between sagebrush clumps and bounced into our eyes as we cruised by--it was evidence of glass everywhere. I begged my folks to divert from the highway and go explore the townsite; but they were anxious to pass through the hot desert and get into the High Sierras to camp by cool lakes and streams.

Even had we explored the town, I am sure my folks would never have indulged their young child carting home crates of old bottles, trash to their minds I'm sure. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder how much "treasure" we drove by, and left for others to salvage (or shoot) on that valley floor. The bottle collecting hobby boomed a bit later, in 1959, when an "urban renewal" project in Sacramento exposed an old city dump. The public was allowed access to recover relics. As interest escalated, commercial diggers fanned out through the country. In Virginia City, NV--a place I still need to visit if only for its association with Mark Twain and "Roughing It"--the digging was so extensive and productive that diggers hired heavy equipment to assist in uncovering the goodies.

* Along that same stretch of the old two-lane highway we also passed a stone masonry structure. Of obvious oriental design, it was a gatehouse guarding entry to empty sage and scrub land behind. We wondered about that incongruous artifact for many years before learning about the Manzanar War Relocation Camp. I passed the location again two years ago on the new highway; it is now a National Park Service Historical Park with reconstructed barracks and an interpretive center. https://www.nps.gov/manz/index.htm
 
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willong

Well-Known Member
Apr 22, 2009
304
43
Port Angeles, WA
Are you serious!!! Ha ha ha ha ....I can't believe how ass backwards I am in the bottle world.... Man I hope you guys don't think I'm hopeless...i really thought that people would like that...I said in an earlier post that it was a favorite of mine and I don't think any one wanted to tell me it was worthless...I'm glad you told me tho, because I'm gonna laugh my self to sleep about that...
After seeing a fellow Moore Hall dorm resident at UA pop gallons of popcorn in order to cushion a crate of old bottles he had picked up at the site of Livengood, AK--he was going to ship them home to his sister in "the lower 48," Illinois, I think--it was his comment that "These things are worth money." which kindled my mercenary interest. About a year later, when I stumbled upon a turn-mold whiskey bottle* near Loomis, WA, the thought of free coin again visited my mind. I always liked roaming the outdoors anyways. Here was another excuse to explore that might even help pay for gas, I thought.

I've never made a cent on antique bottles in the half-century elapsed since that idea resurfaced. Instead, I got enthused about artifacts themselves and their association to an era of history that always appealed to me. Researching old maps and other documents to locate potential digging sites increased my interest and set me on some very enjoyable and memorable excursions. I only regret not having spent more time and explored farther; but financial priorities limited my adventures.

Among the earliest bottles that I obtained by deliberate seeking and excavation were some embossed Listerine bottles. Being still young at the time, I was intrigued to see embossed on a genuine, hand-made antique (BIM) a trademark that I recognized from my own use and countless TV advertisements! I never considered the bottle worthless! Other common bottles likewise caught my interest when I uncovered Three-in-One Oil and Hoppe's # 9 (firearms cleaning solvent), products that I still used. Still common, but even more intriguing to me was Sperm Sewing Machine Oil--not a product I had ever used, of course, but I had read "Moby Dick" and had a machinist friend who told me that sperm whale oil had once been considered the best light lubricant available.

An antique bottle, or any other relic, is only worthless if no one, including you, wants to own it.

* To illustrate how clueless I was when I got started in this hobby, I did not even realize what that bottle without mold marks was at the time. I only thought: "Wow, this thing must be old; it doesn't even have any mold seams..."--while I knew next-to-nothing about bottle production, I had worked in fiberglass production, and my father had worked in a steel foundry, so I definitely knew about molds--"...and it's so crude and full of bubbles! Paul said these things are worth money!" (Paul was my acquaintance from University of Alaska.)
 

Dink1957

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
35
18
Seattle area
Are you a writer? That's a serious question...also I feel like this post I'm responding to got cut off or something and I didn't get to read everything you wrote.. anyways I read this one and the last post before it and thought to myself when I got to the end, I wonder if this guy has a book that he has wrote that I can read... You're a good writer and tell a story well
 

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