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Collecting Vintage Glass Bottles
Collecting vintage bottles
Milk bottles, medicine bottles, wine bottles... these are only a few of the vintage glass bottles that collectors look for. This page is here to help anyone who is starting a collection of glass bottles and for established collectors.
Included here are examples of different bottles to look for and hunt the stores, fairs, exhibitions and swap meets. For readers who like the vintage look but prefer the reproductions, you will find some good reproduction glass bottles to use for storage and decoration.
What to look for when buying antique and vintage bottles - hints and tips
Some tips to help you when you are searching for genuine vintage glass bottles.
- Before the 1880s the lip of a bottle would show up as irregular, would have a crude shape and a seam.
- Machine production of bottles started around 1920. You can tell by looking at the base of the bottle which will be smoother and with a larger ring than those before this date.
- Bottles produced between 1930 and 1960 generally had painted labels, earlier bottles would probably have the label embossed within the glass.
- Always look at the bottom of the bottle. Often you will find a patent number and you can check the dates against patent registers. There are many available online e.g. Trade and Registration Marks
- Study the trends via collectors magazines and online forums. A good example of how things change is the recent interest - and therefore increasing value - of milk bottles.
- The value of your item will depend on it's age, how good a condition it is in, how rare or difficult to find it is, the color, labelling, and design. Many collectors specialize in one type of bottle which is probably the best way to build a credible collection.
- The first recorded glass bottles in America are from the 18th century.
- Bottles which were machine made date from the 1920s and can be recognised by having 2 side seams from top to bottom.
- Hand blown glass bottles pre 1860 will have a mount point, a molten scar in the center where the glass has been broken off after it is finished.
- The lip of the bottle might help give it's age. Before the 1800s the lip had to be fashioned by hand so would be rather crude and irregular. After around 1850 they became more tapered.
Antique Bottle Guide for Prices and Identification
It's good to have one of these guides on your bookshelf for checking your latest discoveries.
You can get this right away for your Kindle or order it in book form.
Shopping for vintage glass bottles - Bid on rare bottles on eBay
Don't you love the colors in these antiques! Some are blue, others green or aqua, there's brown and clear glass bottles.
Looking at auctions where collectors and dealers have bottles for sale gives you an idea of what to look for. Train your eye and pick up knowledge by browsing on eBay.
Colors of vintage glass bottles - What the color tells you about an old bottle
Green, Blue, Amber and Clear Bottles
- Vintage beer and ale bottles tend to be dark green glass - sometimes called black glass because it is do dark. Before 1800 all brewers used this color glass. Thereafter you started to get other colors like dark amber and lighter greens.
- Between around 1870 and 1930 bottles for medicine and poisons were usually cobalt blue in color. Often poison bottles would have the word "posion" heavily embossed on it - you can see an example of this by following the link -- Peachridge Glass
- Old apothecary bottles were generally blue with embossed labels.
- Bottles with contents for drinking like milk bottles and later soda bottles tended to be clear, many of them with painted labels. These are highly prized in their local areas even by non-bottle collectors. Great nostalgia Item.
Vintage bottles - Bottles listed as "rare" on eBay
Look these over to see what makes a bottle rare and sought after. These auctions end within 24 hours, so if you see one you want, get your bid in.
My Sister Collects Ink Bottles
Find Vintage Ink Bottles on eBay
My sister collects old ink bottles. She's a writer and these fit the theme in her writing room. They look great lined up on a bookshelf or in the window.
More about Vintage Ink Bottles
- Antique Ink Bottles - Collector Information | Collectors Weekly
It would be natural to assume that ink bottles date to the beginning of glassblowing and the written word, but prior to the 18th century, th...
- Collecting Vintage Ink Bottles - Bubblews
My sister's a writer and a collector. She combines those two interests in her collection of vintage ink bottles.(click the link to read the whole post)
Bottles Collected by My Family - Photos by Virginia Allain
Vintage Milk Bottles in a Carrier
Once upon a time milkmen delivered milk right to your door - in glass bottles! This item is vintage carrier and bottles. Measures 9.75" and are displayed in a 12" x 9-1/2" rusty wire carrier with a wood handle.
Get Inspired by This Wonderful Collection of Milk Bottles (YouTube Video)
Cream Bottles in a Wire Carrier
These are reproductions. Some people fancy the antique bottles but find them unaffordable on their budget. Reproductions can be used in your decor without worrying about the children possibly knocking off and breaking a high-priced vintage bottle.
What Kind of Bottles Do You Collect?
Vote in the poll
Resources for Bottle Collectors
- Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors
Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors.
- Peachridge Glass | Your comprehensive resource for the latest antique bottle and glass news
Your comprehensive resource for the latest antique bottle and glass news - usually has news of fairs and exhibitons
Warman's Field Guides Bottles: Values & Identification
How old is that bottle? Is it valuable or extremely rare? These are the questions that come to mind when you turn up a bottle at a yard sale or find one half-buried in the soil. Here's the book to help you determine this information.
Vintage style bottle - Cobalt Blue Glass Square Roma Bottle
This cobalt blue bottle in reproduction vintage glass and made with 40% recycled glass. It hold 8.5oz / 250ml and there is a cork top to seal it. This is a great little bottle to use or collect.
Vintage style bottles - vintage inspired
No, these aren't old, but they have the beautiful shapes and colors similar to old bottles costing much more.
Purple Decorative Glass Bottle
This would look great on the window sill with the sun streaming in.
New vintage style bottles - for vintage inspired look
This is the way to go if you don't want the responsibility of caring for valuable antique bottles. Maybe you just want that vintage look to stick a few flowers into and group the bottles together for a pretty table centerpiece. That's fine and you can find plenty of these reproductions in all colors and shapes.
Blue Decorative Bottle
A soft, luminous blue with a sweet bulb shape to the bottle.