Digging up bottle - drawn by Lloyd Marchand

Antique Bottle Etiquette


This page lists some general guidelines for dealing with bottles, including how to handle them at bottle shows and presentations. We call it bottle etiquette and it's based on the golden rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

  1. Follow through on commitments. If you promise to sell a bottle to someone or quote a price, stick to it. Your reputation is only as good as your word.

  2. Be respectful to other people's property. Pick up items on sales tables with care. If you damage an item, be prepared to pay for it. Never pick up other people's collections or display items without their permission.

  3. Be honest in your dealings. Point out flaws, reproductions, repairs, descibe things accurately (every bottle is NOT rare or one of a kind). In the long run you'll make more money if collectors have confidence in you and your merchandise.

  4. Respect other people's transactions. If you see a prospective buyer with a bottle you want in his/her hand, most people would consider it crass (and rude) for you to shout out to the dealer a higher offer. It is an unwritten rule that the bottle is the prospective buyer's until he/she sets it down and walks away. Violate this rule, and you'll make an enemy for life.

  5. Give back to the hobby. Be willing to answer questions, help out at your bottle club, have fun and make the bottle world a better place for all.

Thanks to the Baltimore Bottle Club for providing this info to promote courteous practices in dealing with antique bottles.


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