Antique bottle hobby

When you begin to collect antique bottles you will be surprised by the variety of bottles that are available to you. The bottles do not have to be very old either and many Pepsi and Coca Cola bottles are of antique vintage particularly because of their unique shape alone. Bottles are collectable and can return a profit if you know the difference between modern glass bottles and those of older vintage. The real pleasure from this hobby is in the collecting and displaying on your favorite antique bottles. Glass is my preferred bottle material as a collector but a few collectors specialize in the pre glass era where ceramic bottles were commonly used. 

Expert guide to bottle collecting

What to look for as a bottle collector

The bottle’s shape is what attracts some collectors, other are intrigued by the age of a particular bottle, but my preference is for the color as a display of beautifully colored glass bottles is a joy to behold. Other factors affecting a bottle’s status will be its condition and the year of manufacture. 

How to start collecting antique bottles

Antique bottle selectionThere are several places to begin your collecting hobby. For instance, it might be as simple as digging in the garden and unearthing a buried bottle or two. Other good places you might discover antique bottles would be by the seaside as they sometimes get washed in with the tide. Old ground which may be derelict or deserted can be a good hunting ground for bottles. When searching for discarded glass bottles great care is required and you should wear appropriate protection equipment which at the very minimum is a strong pair of gloves. Your own safety is paramount but with the correct tools and clothing you will also avoid the disappointment of breaking a rare bottle upon finding it.

Colored antique bottles

Antique bottle selection

Recognizing different types of antique glass bottle seams

Information is available when you examine a bottle and it is possible to tell whether it was free blown or manufactured on a bottle machine. A free blown glass bottle will never have a seam at the sides or around the bottle’s shoulder. If the bottle does not have a seam it will indicate a date pre the mid 19th century especially if the bottle is not evened out and has a slightly non-regular shape. Later bottles were spun to get the glass to spread evenly. Bottles that contain a seam indicate that they have been made in a mold and often the seam will stop short of the top of the bottle as the top section get attached afterwards. A 3 piece mold will yield yet another type of bottle without seams at the bottom but with seams from the bottle shoulder upwards.

Cleaning glass antique bottles safely

Several chemical cleaners are available and the main tool to use in conjunction with these cleaners will be a bottle brush. There is not any need to buy expensive cleaners at all really because old fashioned soap and warm water works really well. In addition to this you can boil-clean a glass bottle. Another tip, when cleaning a bottle, is to put some sand in the bottle (not too much) with the bottle about one third full of water. Stopper the top and shake the bottle and the sandy water will act as an abrasive and assist with the interior cleaning. The bottle’s exterior can be cleaned with a good scrubbing brush. 

Finally, if you do decide to start an antique bottle collection, I am sure that you will find it a most enjoyable hobby. The most important thing is having a hobby of some kind. If old antique bottles are not to your taste you could try something different such as postcard and postage stamp collecting or a hobby of collecting thimbles or sewing buttons. 

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