ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Collecting Vintage Glass Bottles

Updated on May 10, 2015
Milk bottles and a carrier from the days of house-to-house delivery.
Milk bottles and a carrier from the days of house-to-house delivery. | Source

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.

  1. Before the 1880s the lip of a bottle would show up as irregular, would have a crude shape and a seam.
  2. 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.
  3. Bottles produced between 1930 and 1960 generally had painted labels, earlier bottles would probably have the label embossed within the glass.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The first recorded glass bottles in America are from the 18th century.
  8. Bottles which were machine made date from the 1920s and can be recognised by having 2 side seams from top to bottom.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

Antique Trader Bottles Identification and Price Guide
Antique Trader Bottles Identification and Price Guide

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

Bottles and vases collected by my mom.
Bottles and vases collected by my mom. | Source

Green, Blue, Amber and Clear Bottles

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. Old apothecary bottles were generally blue with embossed labels.
  4. 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

These make a great collectible for a writer or a teacher. My sister displays hers on her bookshelves.
These make a great collectible for a writer or a teacher. My sister displays hers on her bookshelves. | Source

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.

Bottles Collected by My Family - Photos by Virginia Allain

My mother is a casual bottle collector. She chose this one as the label is of a local business from years ago.
My mother is a casual bottle collector. She chose this one as the label is of a local business from years ago. | Source
This bottle appealed to Mom for the vivid blue color.
This bottle appealed to Mom for the vivid blue color.
From my sister's ink bottle collection.
From my sister's ink bottle collection.

Vintage Milk Bottles in a Carrier

CWI Gifts Large Vintage Milk Bottles with Carrier, 12" x 9.5"
CWI Gifts Large Vintage Milk Bottles with Carrier, 12" x 9.5"

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

CWI Gifts Small Vintage Milk Bottles with Carrier, 9" x 5.75"
CWI Gifts Small Vintage Milk Bottles with Carrier, 9" x 5.75"

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

See results

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

4 3/4" Tall Cobalt Blue Glass Square Roma Bottle 8.5oz
4 3/4" Tall Cobalt Blue Glass Square Roma Bottle 8.5oz

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.

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.

Vintage or Reproduction?

Vote in the Poll

See results

Beautiful Bottles at the Shaker Museum in Kentucky

Source

Tell Me about Your Interest in Vintage Bottles

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 3 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I love old bottles! I bought one from a dairy that had my name on it once. I also love little perfume bottles. I appreciate the information on dating bottles.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      I love the vintage siphon bottles. I have a few old lemonade bottle at home, I use them as water bottle on the table when we have guests

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @KathyMcGraw2: Sounds like you and I like the same kind of decorating.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 4 years ago from California

      I have several kinds of bottles, but my favorites are the tiny perfume bottles and the ones that have the bulb for spraying. I love how these look on old lace on my antique dresser.

    Click to Rate This Article