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Label Over Label I Want to Remove????

Robby Raccoon

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Jun 14, 2014
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Today I picked up a labeled bottle because there is clearly another intact (though heavily stained) label underneath the visible one.

I want to remove the current label without damaging either of them, for I'm very curious about what was in the bottle (empontiled European apothecary bottle with Michigan druggist label currently present). It appears to have been added many decades ago (it says and smells like Turpentine).

So is the best route for removal to just soak it in cold water? Again: I don't want either damaged. I just want to know what the older label says.

:confused:
 

Robby Raccoon

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Jun 14, 2014
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The photos wouldn't turn out for showing that it's entirely there (held up to a bright light, you can see only a tiny bit is missing from the label beneath as it otherwise is a dark rectangle under the other label except where they don't over-lap. Looking through the inside, too, shows it's there.)

IMG_20171221_133703.jpg
IMG_20171221_133651.jpgIMG_20171221_133736.jpg
 

CanadianBottles

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2014
2,768
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Oh yeah hmm that's a tough one. One thing I might suggest is cleaning out the inside of the bottle as best you can and then holding it up to the brightest light you can find.

So, my theory about this one is that the older label might not actually be much older at all. I'm guessing that this was a bottle kept in storage at the back of the drug store for dispensing turpentine, and they had a similar label which got too stained to read so they put another one on top of it. They'd look a bit different because one was an earlier generation of slightly different labels.
 

Robby Raccoon

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Jun 14, 2014
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I tried with the brightest light, it it's too think of paper to read it. I had a similar thought and then wondered if maybe it was a wholesaler label, in which the Allegan druggist put his label over it at some point. I'm just really curious to find out what it says. Who knows how long it's been covered up, not seen in 90+ years.
 

CanadianBottles

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2014
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I'm thinking it's probably not a wholesaler label because I don't think that bottle was sold with contents in it. I think it was sold as refillable equipment for a drug store and had some sort of glass stopper. I think it would only be likely to have a particularly different label if it had been bought second hand by that drug store and they put a new label over some different store's, but I think it's much more likely that since the old label is stained and the new one isn't, that it's just a replacement for a label that became illegible over time.
 

saratogadriver

Well-Known Member
Sep 10, 2009
1,200
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If the label that can be read has any value for a local apothecary collector, I wouldn't attempt this. On the other hand, if the pharmacy is common and the label doesn't give any real increase in value, this might be worth attempting, as the value in the bottle is going to be the bottle itself and not the outside label.

My feeling is that you will either get both labels off or neither. I am betting that those labels are pretty tightly glued to each other.

Jim G
 

Robby Raccoon

Trash Digger
Jun 14, 2014
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I didn't search terribly hard, but not much came up for Roussin in Allegan-- in other cities, yes, but not much pertaining to Allegan directly; which then makes me think it was a chain druggist, like Rexall. They must have been around for a while, though, as there is a blotter from them under another address.
I cannot imagine a plain European apothecary bottle as having much value in the U.S. The value should be in the label, but I'm willing to risk both for the discovery of what's beneath. But is water the best option? Stream? Do I try to quickly dry it afterward?
The earlier glues were typically made from animal products, soluble in water. Thus we have hope, not like in our modern glues.
 

saratogadriver

Well-Known Member
Sep 10, 2009
1,200
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A little wallpaper removing fluid? Sometimes that stuff is good at separating layers of paper, and sometimes not. IME that stuff is hit or miss.

Jim G
 

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