Glenn Poch's Bottle Collecting Newsletter 12

                                                        Aug/Sept 96
                                                        Newsletter #12

Well Expo 96' is now over and the long weekend has come and gone swiftly, 
over 650 tables were sold it was a huge convention with great bottles in 
all categories, top of the line to general was represented, it was quite 
impressive.  Some of the notables 2 - Traveller's Bitters ($5500, $7500)
- St.Nicholas Bitters ($10,000) - many colored flasks and poisons,
good number of scent bottles
and inks, some milks and fruit jars.  Lots of medicines and cures.  A 
auction was held by Norm Heckler - 170 lots were for sale many great 
pieces with a number of them selling in the $700-$3000 range, three great 
bottles were saved for the end a swirled midwestern amber handled glass 
jug/decanter estimate 12,000-26000(sold for around $14000), a concentric 
ring flask estimate 15000-25000 (20000), and one of the best bottles as 
far as scarcity and color the Columbia/Eagle flask in cobalt/sapphire 
(this bottle was the record price setting bottle pre 1994 (40,000)) est. 
25,000-52,000, it sold for $21,000. The show seemed to be selling well 
and their was something for everyone, if you didn't attend this year plan 
to attend in 2000!

To all that I met at the show - it was great to meet you, it's fun to see 
the face at the other end of the terminal and know who you are writing to 
the next time you send the letter, hopefully you felt the same way! 
thanks for taking the time to stop by and say hello.

Value of a Bottle???
During the auction I was thinking of this subject as people were spending 
all sorts of cash.  We took along a friend to help manage the table 
as we were looking at the show items, Sharon had no prior experience in 
dealing with bottles and knew nothing of them.  At the auction she would 
gasp at some of the prices that was paid for them, and at the end when 
the flask sold for $21,000 I said that was a bargin, she looked at me and 
said "I'm sorry but I don't think that".  This got me thinking what is 
the value of that flask that just sold, I looked at it in a number of 
ways - here's what I came up with:
1) Glass Content (recyclable value) what the bottle physically 
represents, it's melted sand and at base level it has some worth  - .1 cent
2) Value to a non-bottle collector, the bottle was very visually pleasing 
to look at and would make a great bottle to place on the window $5.00-$10.00
3) Value to an antique dealer with no great knowledge in bottles $50-$300
4) Value for the individual who purchased it that night $21,000 with 
buyers premium ($23,100)
5) And a history value of $40,000 (twice sold)

so did the buyer get a great deal or did he pay to much? you tell me your 
feelings, there are probably only three know in this color (so far), so 
obviously your chance to own one is small.

what if the person who buys the bottle drops it? does its value change - 
I think we have to agree it does, as my wife and I can attend to this - 
during her display at Expo one of the scent bottles fell of the stand and 
shattered, it was thrown away and now has no value to us.  

and what about chiped bottles why are they so frowned upon, a $1500 
bottle with a 1/2" chip on the lip can sell for less than a third it's 
value $200-400 or less, this is the exact same bottle its just not 
perfect, I'm not going to say I don't buy into this theory for the most 
part, because if I see something on the bottle it does bug me and I 
usually don't buy it, however their are some that I know I would not be 
able to obtain otherwise and it really does not bug me (not much anyways).

what about cracked bottles - their is more logic here because unlike a 
chip a crack can continue and in the worst case cause the bottle to break 
apart. Some bottles have had cracks that have remained the same for 
decades and others have grown (so you take a chance here)

let me know your input!


between 1840-1870 there were at least four working glass-houses that 
operated in the district of South Stoddard and Mill Village, these 
factories produced bottles and tableware in their typical dark colored 
glass. However, Stoddard glass can be found ranging from green to 
green/amber, light and dark golden amber and some mahogany pieces have 
been found.  Bottle products included: Flasks, Demijohns, Wines, Sodas, 
Minearal Waters, Ale, Ink, Blacking, Bay Water, Cologne, Hair oil, Patent 
medicine, Bitters and other general types.  Many of the bottles are 
recognizable by the dark amber glass with many bubbles in it, in 
1927 James D. Cutter was the oldest remaining person who blew glass at 
Stoddard (he worked in 3 of them), Mr.Cutter discussed the batch formulas 
for the glass "eight parts sand, twelve of ash, two of salt" he also 
commented on the bubbles in the glass noting that of the Granite Glass 
Company as having the most, and the glass from South Stoddard being 
clearer, and of a golden-or reddish amber color that the greenish amber 
of the Granite factory.  Mr.Cutter also discussed the waviness that is 
frequently seen in Stoddard glass, this from improper heating of the 
mold.  There is still debate on whether or not three-piece mold items 
were made in Stoddard, in its neighboring Keene Glassworks they produced 
this type of ware but it is now generally assumed that it was not made in 
Stoddard (as no pieces have been found on the factory locations from my 

Some of the above information was extracted from: American Glass "from 
the pages of Antiques" particulary Stoddard Glass by Laura Woodside Watkins.

for further information on Stoddard Glass - On the Trail of Stoddard 
Glass by Anne E. Field.


In the course of the 19th century the barber gradually lost his 
quasi-medical role as healer, abandoning the letting of blood for a role 
more familiar to us, that of the trimmer of hair and beard.
        Sometime after 1850, glasshouses, particularly in Sandwich, 
Massachusetts, Glassboro, New Jersey, and the area around Pittsburgh, 
began to manufacture highly ornate bottles for the storage and dispensing 
of bay rum, witch hazel, cologne, and other mixt
es employed by barbers. The source of such vessels was seldom marked or 
otherwise identified, and to complicate the matter, similar containers 
were imported from European countries during the same period.
        Nevertheless, barber bottles have been of great interest to 
collectors since at least the 1920's.  What draws the bottle enthusiast 
to these receptacles is the remarkable variety of designsa d colors in 
which they appear.
        As far as barber bottles were concerned, the development 
continued into the 1900's.  Some of the most interesting pieces were 
marketed as late as 1920, at which time the customs that justified their 
use were vanishing under the assault of the safety ra
r.  The glassware of this period, variously called are ornamental glass, 
reflected a variety of technical improvements in the craft, many of which 
are found in barber bottles.
        Until restricted by the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, alcohol 
based substances such as bay rum and tiger club, as well as various 
colognes and tonics, were made up not only by commercial sources but also 
by the individual barber, catering to his cust
er's needs and preferences.  The resulting invigorants were primarily 
used in the course of shaving or as hair tonics.  Perhaps a quarter of 
all barber bottles bear the painted, gilded, or engraved name of such a 
        Embossing on barber bottles is extremely uncommon, and maker's 
marks are virtually unknown.  As a result, it is extremely difficult to 
determine the origin of a given vessel, though, in some cases, such as at 
Sandwich, excavations on the glass factory 
te have uncovered fragments that allow us tentatively to attribute 
certain forms and types to that shop.
        Bottle closures in this field are rather interesting and 
unusually attractive.  Silver and britannia metal were used, as were 
porcelain tops with cork fittings.  Unfortunately, many of them have been 
        Color is by far the most spectacular element in the design of a 
barber bottle.  Milk glass in several variations, including pink and blue 
is found, as well as glass in red, pink, purple, amethyst, blue, yellow, 
green and various shades of amber.  The c
bination of these colors with engraving, gilding, and painting makes for 
one of the most visually exciting areas in the entire field of bottles.

        Information extracted from A TREASURY OF AMERICAN BOTTLES, by 
William C. Ketchum, Jr.

For more information on collecting barber bottles:

Collecting Barber Bottles - Richard Holiner

For sale: Zingari Bitters (open bubble) $145-
          Dr.Stephen Jewitts Celebrated...(pontil) (repair, ext.rare) $35-
          Candy Container  Jeep/Jeep  $40-
          Blue/Purple Tyzarian Flask geometic pattern $375-
          French Holy water, pictorial flask with saints embossed, pontil $150-

Wanted: Fine bottles of all kinds -

Happy Collecting!

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