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A guide to collecting antique glass bottles

What makes people antique glass bottles collectors? The colour of a bottle, its peculiar finish and its history are the main attractions for collecting antique bottles. It is a great hobby and can keep both the young, old busy and happy. Antique bottles also tell interesting facts about their manufacturing techniques and country of origin.

Phoenicians and Romans

The earliest bottle makers were the Phoenicians more than 2500 years ago. The Romans acquired the art from them. Chinese bottles were made of porcelain as early as the eleventh century. Early bottles were made for perfumes, medicines and then for wine bottling. Identifying the age of a bottle becomes easy from its seam. A seamless bottle which is tinted brown or light blue can be antique. It indicates a handblown old bottle.

Tell tale seams

Knowledge of seams is very important for identifying vintage bottles. Seams are upraised, visible and can be easily felt with the hand. A telltale seam is one which only goes partly up on the neck of the bottle. It marks it as being unique and most probably from the eighteenth century. A complete seam to the top of the bottle is a sure sign that it is machine-made and from the early twentieth century.

Alphabets and numbers

A pontil at the base of the bottle is a rough circular residue which shows the point where the rotating rod was cut of from the bottle. This indicates an old glass bottle. There are guides available which are good reference sources for identifying alphabets and numbers on antique glass bottles. Identification of rare bottles is an art learnt over time and with experience. It is good to join an antique bottles’ club.

Cream and poison

Carafes, antique decanters and scent bottles can be from any country in the world. A handcrafted early nineteenth century decanter from France can set one back a pretty penny. Czech antique perfume bottles are exquisitely shaped. A Lalique crystal glass decanter is a work of art. English decanters have very individual shapes and sizes. A Bristol blue mallet shaped decanter is an example. Antique pots People love to collect antique cream pots. Antique pots can be again of peculiar shapes and quaint sizes. Old advertising regarding various medicines, creams and perfumes of the last two centuries is also very much in demand. Bottles made for dangerous insecticides are also in demand from antique bottle collectors. They were clearly marked POISON with upraised letters and the bottles were generally made of dark blue or green colour. There is truly a plethora of antique glass bottles and containers. A discerning buyer must consult experts, friends and reference books in order to make a safe purchase.

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