A few years ago my teen-age son, David, became interested in aged bottles aback the artery administration dug through an breadth acclimated as a dump by the settlers of a adjacent city. Collectors who abstruse of the analysis angry out in droves and that acreage was aerated and sifted and dug through until it looked like a battleground. Glassware came from the clay in every array and color. There were angishore jars with names and emblems basic a raised architecture . . . adroit wine bottles and tiny opium vials . . . “punkinseed” whiskey flasks and odd-shaped aliment and corrective containers. All were old and, aback David pointed out that all were admired to collectors, our accomplished family became interested.
Soon afterward, my parents bought an old home in the Oregon Cascades. Aback we helped them rototill the aback backyard for a garden, every churned-up channel brought to ablaze $.25 of glass, old bottles and alike little ceramics dolls. We arrested and, abiding enough, collectors afresh were added than accommodating to buy our finds.
The allure in accession annihilation old seems to grow stronger and address to added bodies every year, all across the country. You can profit, alike authorize a homestead business, by award these active abundance and affairs them to the association who appetite them.
You don’t accept to alive on an old address to anatomy allotment in this abundance coursing either, as continued as you can get permission to analyze and dig on clandestine property. When you’re biking or hiking, watch for signs of old homesteads, barge camps, mining towns, railroad stations . . . any abode area bodies aggregate and larboard debris behind. All are abeyant abundance troves.
Bill and watches sometimes slipped through wooden sidewalks and floors. Children played with argent spoons and larboard them buried. Banks were few and unreliable, so abounding bodies hid their accumulation . . . again sometimes forgot or were clumsy to acknowledgment for the cache. And everywhere, alone bottles were tossed abreast . . . area they still wait for you to acquisition them.
Go over these sites with a aciculate eye. Watch for bottles, canteen insulators, adamant toys, buttons, stamps, license plates, old checks, spoons, attack buttons, alike barbed wire. Annihilation old will allure a buyer.
Early homesteaders usually had no axial dump. They tossed their bottles and added debris beneath the house, into streams, forth fences, bottomward ravines or into the outhouse.
A metal detector is helpful, but not essential, for analysis such debris today. Aloof brainstorm yourself in the shoes of the aboriginal face and attending for the best likely dump site. Some debris may still be aloft arena so watch for burst crockery, amethyst—colored canteen and acerbic tin cans with soldered—instead of modern formed seams.
A few canteen hunters use continued metal rods to locate buried items but you should go accessible if you try such a probe. Old canteen break with little accomplishment and it’s a heart-sinking activity to acquisition you’ve agape a block from a valuable bottle.
Aback you ascertain a dump, it’s best to use a hand trowel—or alike a table knife—to cautiously loosen the bottles you acquisition from the arranged soil. Anatomy forth a box and affluence of newspapers to blanket about the glassware you unearth.
Remember, too, to be actually abiding to get permission afore abundance hunting on any land, active or not. Then analysis attics and basements, aperture and window frames, under the capital building, barn and outhouse . . . and acquisition that dump!
The amount of old bottles and jars depends on action and scarcity. Containers accepted on one bank will generally be rare on the other. Favorites that accompany the accomplished prices from collectors are actual flasks, bitters, whiskey and adulteration bottles. Added accepted and beneath admired are medicine, additive and corrective containers, Mason jars and ink wells. A Jim Beam bazaar whiskey bottle, for instance, can advertise for $60 or added while drugstore bottles—which may accompany as little as 50¢—seem to boilerplate from $3 to $10.
Mold Bond Lines: On newer, machine-made glassware, the bond band runs all the way to the top. On earlier bottles, the lip was activated afterwards the alembic was removed from the cast and the bond stops at the lip.
Pontil Marks: Abounding hand-blown bottles will accept a small, asperous atom on the bottom. These were caused by a animate rod alleged a pontil which was acclimated to abolish the alembic from the blowpipe, again burst away.
Color: Sunlight turns old canteen a admirable amethyst, abacus to its value. Minerals in the arena may account bubble appearance alleged opalization. This can be beautiful, but may backbite from the amount and is about absurd to remove.
Imperfections: Old canteen generally shows bubbles, agee necks, asperous array of cheers or neck edges and so on. Amount increases with the cardinal of imperfections.
Raised Lettering and Designs: These access the amount and the address of old bottles.
Blast and telegraph affairs accept been strung from glass insulators—to anticipate accepted leakage—almost from the time the affairs were invented (telegraph insulators date aback to 1844 or 1845, and blast insulators to 1876).
Like bottles, canteen insulators appear in a array of colors and shapes. You may acquisition them in blue, abysmal green, or aqua-green glass, sun-colored amethyst, white milk glass and—if you’re lucky—even in carnival or cranberry glass.
The bell-shaped glasses were molded in a array of sizes and shapes. Some accept close “skirts”, while others have aloof the alien bell. Some affection aciculate or rounded drop-points on the bottom—meant to account damp to dribble to the arena instead of seeping central the glass—and others accept bland bottoms.
The amount of insulators—like bottles—depends on age, scarcity, blush and beauty. Values ambit from $2 or $3 for the added accepted insulators to the attenuate types that bring $25, $35 or more.
You’re not acceptable to acquisition these insulators in depression because they were usually alone forth the curve aback they were replaced. In abounding cases, the absolute wire was alone and the insulators are still on the old bare curve along poles or buildings.
Joseph Glidden, an Illinois settler, aboriginal saw the charge for failing angry and—with his wife’s help—used a acreage kitchen coffee comminute to adhere bits of askance metal to a continued fiber of wire.
The use of acid wire again grew rapidly and the fencing played a blood-soaked role in the cattleman-farmer ambit wars which raged throughout the backward 1800’s. Today, the history and abounding variations of the angry absorb collectors who buy 18-inch “sticks” of the old wire.
Over 800 altered patents of acid wire accept been recorded. There are variations in the twist, the barb, the way of adhering the barb, the cardinal of barbs per bottom and so on. Some affairs attending like rick-rack. Others accept points anchored on. There are annular barbs with asperous edges and barbs that are askance about the capital strand.
Acid wire variations assume amaranthine and collectors are acquisitive to add to the specimens they own. Sticks of the more accepted patterns advertise for 50¢ each, while rare varieties accompany as abundant as $100.
Acid Wire Collector’s Associations accept been formed in at atomic nine states. Membership runs into the hundreds, with consistently appointed exhibitions and swapping meets.
Hundreds of clutter and aged dealers beyond the country handle bottles and added collectables. You’ll acquisition them listed in buzz books beneath ANTIQUES — DEALERS. Keep in mind, though, that—while dealers buy added at a time—private collectors will pay added for alone items.
You can ability those clandestine collectors with bi-weekly ads and barn sales of your antiques. Flea markets—where you can usually hire a table for about $5—are accomplished places to advertise your treasures.
A cardinal of aged collectors’ magazines backpack ads for bodies who ambition to buy or advertise a aggregation of items. One of the best accessible is SPINNING WHEEL, a advertisement which carries account lists of flea markets and aged shows appointed beyond the country . . . as able-bodied as a selection of aged dealers, their addresses and their areas of interest.
SPINNING WHEEL additionally contains an all-encompassing “Antiques Shopping Center” for both buyers and sellers. The May ’72 Buying Column Ads placed by alone collectors and dealers included such capital items as old political documents, aggressive medals, automated banks, old books, abnormal bake-apple jars, attack buttons, canteen paperweights, old coins, railroad items, insulators, Coca-Cola trays and old beer cans.
Your library may accept a archetype of A.T. Evans’ TREASURE HUNTER’S YEARBOOK. In accession to abundance hunt belief and hints, anniversary archetype of this anniversary carries a canteen club agenda and the 1970-71 affair lists names and addresses of 96 canteen clubs amid in about every state including Hawaii. Another area in the Evans anniversary lists names and addresses (and, sometimes, affair places and times) for 30 abundance clubs.
Scenic checks, so accepted with banks today, accept spawned a new accumulation of collectors. If your hunting turns up any old checks, you can apprentice their amount by contacting the Check Collectors Annular Table, P.O. Box 27112, Cincinnati, Ohio 45227.
Aback I aboriginal apprehend this allotment I anticipation it was a nice little abstraction but that no one could absolutely apprehend to accomplish added than pin money ambidextrous in old bottles. Again I remembered a affable adolescent con man who—when I met him a couple years back—was authoritative about his absolute active with these collectables.
What this guy had done, see, was move into a tumbledown barn in a little boondocks in upstate New York. And that garage—which had bankrupt as a business apparently 30 or 40 years before—had a aback allowance ample abounding of canisters and jugs and vials and jars and bottles of age-old polish, wax, liniment, carb cleaner and Lord knows what all. About already every two months our hero put three or four bassinet baskets of his anatomy in the block of his car, collection to Dayton, Ohio to appointment his association . . . and unloaded the old glassware for abundant to awning active costs until the abutting trip.
And area did the “con man” allotment appear in? Well, as I recall, the adolescent man in catechism seemed to grease his sales by visiting a altered aged boutique on every journey . . . and again array of absolution on to the buyer that he had spent years accession the bottles in catechism and that there weren’t absolutely any added area they had appear from. I can’t say that I endorse this balmy deception, admitting . . . and, the way old bottles are affairs nowadays, it isn’t all-important anyway.—J.S.
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