Glenn Poch's Bottle Collecting Newsletter 7

September, 1995


The Federation Show in Chicago proved to be a smashing success as the
display I helped with on Chicago bottles & Northern Ill. was the largest
display of its
kind with over 250 examples of rare examples some even unique, there will
be a part two of the display in October at the Chicago Bottle Club show
held at the same hotel in Rosemont, IL (for more details on this show
E-mail me).  The Auction held by James Hagenbaugh of Glass Works Auctions
was a good one with around 90 pieces, the two rarest bottles brought
about alot of bidding - a rare Doctor Bell's Figural bitters (bell-shaped
& pontiled) brought $7000- and the surprize of the auction was a puce
colored soda bottle in a semi-torpedo shape with paneled sides (can't
recall the name or state) estimated to sell for $800-1400 sold for
$5700-, some bitter bottles from the Chicago area were sold from the
Carayln Ring collection - I was able to buy the last lot at what I
considered a fair price - it was 2 Hi-Hi bitters (triangular bottles) one
in amber one in citron-green.  Many dealers from all around the country
attended the show, hopefully we will see them again in October along with

Submitted by Lewis Noah (Thank's Lewis):

                   "YOU DO WHAT?"
As a digger this is the commonest response when fellow workers here about
my hobby. I find that it is usually followed by a very heavy dose of
curiosity. My career as a Defense Department worker brings me in contact with
many people and the folks I work with have expressed a interest in "Privy
Digging" if for no other reason than curiosity. So I decided to set up a
demonstration Privy Dig and invite any and all to observe/participate and
learn. Nice guy ain't I? O.K. so the more astute of you have already figured
I will get a lot of leads to future digs by interesting more people in our
hobby. I do admit it worked very well in this case.
On Aug 31 a demonstration privy dig was held and all interested parties were
welcome to be involved. The cooperation of the property owner "Mary Ellen's
Attic" antiques in Reynoldsburg OH was gained. The site had an obvious three
hole indentation in the center of a large backyard. Convenient parking for
cars was at hand. I had previously "Post Holed" the site so had a date of
1900 to 1920 for the privy. This is a good time period for a demo dig as
the items would not cause a riot as to value but are of significant interest
and very different from anything normally seen today. The people started to
arrive at the appointed time and I was amazed at the cross section that
showed up. One person from Kodiak Island Alaska visiting inlaws in Ohio,
Directors, supervisors, fellow employees, wifes, children, even an Opera
singer. WOW  The dig was on. I had previously laid out the tarps and tools
for the dig. I am a bucket digger so a hundred or so 5 gallon buckets were
also on hand. The people wanting to be actively involved were put on the
end of tools and away we went. The sod cutter cleanly opened the hole and the
sod was set aside to be replaced at the end of the dig. The shovels could be
used two at a time at this stage so a lot of dirt was moved quickly. As we
progressed down we came across a very nice stone liner. John from Kodiak
was in the hole and turned up the first bottle, would you believe "Sperm Oil"
sewing machine oil, an extremely appropriate bottle for the man from Alaska.
As the digs progressed I observed and gave direction to the crew. Most of my
time was in explaining all the shards and the whys of items being in the hole.
Sitting back I noticed young people picking up shards as if they were gold,
older people examining bottles, marbles, and arifacts. Neat! this was what its
all about each person having a good time and learning.  The hole was only
about four foot deep so the dig came to an end too soon. Some of the helpers
were not ready to believe it was bottom so attempted to dig deeper.  In this
area the bottom is solid so the end is very apparent. All hands gathered to
share the finds and thank the land owner. The split was done by mutual
consent. The Diane, the land owner, picked a Handleless cup, each of the
diggers took home bottles, or marbles or shards as each desired. The list
of finds was a good cross section of normal finds. A 1/4 pint sample whiskey,
several warranted flasks, a selection of product jars, three porcelain marbles
the shards of a decorated commode bowl, and for are visitor from Alaska a
nice "Sperm Oil".  What did I get out of all this? Some good prospects for
future digs, some understanding about my "unusual hobby", possibly some
extra hands to dig at sites down the road, but most of all a good time
was had by all.


Poison Bottles

How does one in the 19th Century find their medicine in the middle of the
night when their sparce lighting can not distinguish the wording on the
labels? One bottle contains a proven cure for almost anything that ail's
them and the other is a rat poison next to it - a 50/50 chance - hardly.
If this was the case their would be a lot less people on this earth
today, a handy design for most poison bottles was developed with the
Suggestion of the American Medical Association in the early 1870's - a
standardized system that would allow people to recoginize the bottles at
night or day, it was obvious and simple: a raised surface with with
ridges and lines, hex-crossing and strong embossing, another tell tale
sign was that it was often in a dark color, blue, amber, or green.  Clear
and aqua poison bottles are somewhat harder to find compared with the
most common blue color.  Some bottles have a skull and crossbones
embossed on them, this for the symbol of death taken from pirate ships on
the sea.  One of the rarest poison bottles is the Skull bottle which is
embossed poison and is a figural skull shape in cobalt - many of these
bottles have damage on the nose or chiping on the lip - a mint example
will cost around $1200-1500 today.  Some latter bottles (1900-1930) did not
have any unusual features, only a label that stated the word posion often
with the same skull and crossbones printed on the label.  Many of the
bottles in this category were imported from England to the United States
and you will often see them here today.  They are a fascinating bottle to
collect as they come in a wide number of shapes and sizes, and even the
colors can be quite spectacular.


I was able to attend the Walworth County Fair in Wisconsin this Past
Weekend, and observed their display of Antiques that were entered for
fair judging, I felt bad for those who entered in the bottle section
because the person who judged obviously did not know anything about
bottles (and glass I would guess) there were a bunch of Mason Jars (the
common ones), a Doctor Pierce's Golden Medical Discovery (it got 2nd
place, imagine that a $2/bottle getting second) a plain cobalt bottle
with eye washer on top (it won first prize - while better then the
Pierce's it couldn't be worth more then $20), a milk of magnezia, a plain
clear whiskey flask, - heres what gets me: a tippecanoe bitters (3rd
place), and a cornucopia flask (4th place)!, now I had to talk to the
supervisor and find out who does the judging around here, the tippecanoe
is a very attractive bottle and the flask is obviously old being pontil
scarred!  The person running the antiques exhibit defended the judger as
unable to be knowledgable in all 200 categories while only being paid
$60.  We never told her what was wrong with the category only that we
wanted to know how it was being judged and would their be any
consideration to having people who specialize in a certain area judge
that particular exhibit (we were offering our services free of charge)
she could not belive that anyone would do this act for free, and wanted
to know our credentials, seemingly not taking our word she wanted to see
something with our name and speciality on it (luckly I had my Federation
of Historical Bottle Collectors Life Membership Card with me), she also
wanted to know if we were experts and provided educational talks and
lectures to the public, we explained this to be the case, and reluctantly
she agreed to let us send her a newsletter from our club, with prospects
of maybe judging this category next year.  The joke of the situation is
that anyone other then the current judge could of done better and we had
to defend our credentials for over 1/2 hour to this person who always
claimed she had no part in the decision of the judging!

For Sale:
*Candy Container Gun - still some inside silver paint and black
paint on the handle, early straight gun, clear - with ground screw top,
Jeantte, PA.  $45-

*Lynn's Burnishing Ink (full label) - for a shoe polish nice label
with some pictures, early amber bottle good condition.  $55-

*early cobalt glass rolling pin - $195-

*Tippecanoe Bitters - 65% labeled - Warner co., $135-

*Barber Bottle - Witch Hazel - Milk Glass - Octagonal Shape - Barber
Supply Co. on base embossed   $65-

*Case Gin bottle - early - olive green mint condition- wonderful window
bottle, bubbles  $25-

*Amber Whiskey Cigar Figural- mint $45-

if interstead contact me at

Looking for quality bottles    - direct you for sale or wants to me -- Glenn

Happy Collecting!

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