Antique Hutch value
Digger Odell Publications 1997
While there is no substitute for experience, understanding the basic factors which influence price will help you assess the value of most bottles.
THE TWELVE VALUE FACTORS
There are twelve important factors that determine the value of any antique bottle. Any one of these factors is frequently not sufficient in and of itself to make a bottle valuable. It is the combination of these factors that determine value.
- 1. supply and demand
- 2. age
- 3. rarity
- 4. condition
- 5. color
- 6. esthetic appeal
- 7. embossing and design
- 8. category
- 9. size
- 10. individuality
- 11. historic significance
- 12. locale
SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Recently milk bottles and painted label soda bottles, both of which were made after the turn of the century, have become collectible because there is a good supply of these items and there is great variety of both types of bottles. Only a few years ago bottles in these two categories rarely brought more than a few dollars but as interest in these categories increased so did the price. Today some are selling for hundreds of dollars. Whenever demand increases or outstrips the supply of a collectible, the price goes up.
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Age is another important value factor. Collectible bottles can be divided into periods that help us to assign value: "Open Pontil" bottles are generally the earliest an America, dating from the 1600s to the late 1850s)." Iron Pontil" bottles range in age between 1840 and 1865. Bottles made after the Civil War but before the first World War are referred to as "smooth based". All bottles made before the turn of the century are partly or completely hand blown and formed.
Bottles made after about 1914 were produced in much greater number by machine (ABM for Automatic Bottle Machine). Until recently, with relatively few exceptions, bottles made after the turn of the twentieth century have had little value to the collector. The mold seam on machine made bottles will run all the way over the lip. The mold seam on older bottles, pre-1900 (non- machine made), stops before running over the top of the lip. However, just because a bottle is very old, that alone does not make it valuable.
Like age, rarity alone is not sufficient to make a bottle valuable but it is a major factor especially when a bottle has several other important value factors. There are thousands of very rare bottles that are not worth more than a few dollars. Rarity only matters when there is demand. Rarity is very difficult for the novice collector to determine. Consulting books, dealers and other collectors can help the novice determine the rarity of a piece.
Like collectors in other hobbies, bottle collectors want items in as close to original condition as possible. Chips signficantly reduce the value of any bottle. Cracks are even worse. A relatively common bottle with a crack has almost no value; a common bottle with lip chips may sell for only a fraction of what it would were it in mint (perfect) condition. Stain from contents, or from being buried for a long time, will reduce the value of a bottle anywhere from 10% to 50%. Usually this stain can be removed only by professional cleaning methods. The term "cleaned" in this guide refers to bottles which have been tumbled or polished. Chips, cracks or stain make a bottle less esthetically pleasing and so less salable.
Original labels, wrappers and boxes increase value and may make even a common bottle increase in price. Original contents may or may not increase value, as they tend to hide the color and embossing.
Color plays a major role in determining value in several important ways. First, there is a hierarchy of colors which appeal to bottle collectors. Rare and unusual colors command the highest prices. The most common color for antique bottles is aqua (the color of a Coke bottle- light greenish blue). Clear and amber (brown) and a great variety of greens (teal, blue green, olive green, emerald, ) are the next most common colors. milk glass (opaque white) judging by prices has less appeal to bottle collectors than some other colors, perhaps because it is not transparent. Cobalt (blue) is rarer and in great demand. But a very common bottle in cobalt such as a Bromo Seltzer bottle sells for only a few dollars. The chart below is by no means a comprehensive list of available colors:
LOW VALUE COLORS
AQUA, AMBER, CLEAR