During one of the hottest summers on record,I managed to dig up over 700 old and antique bottles. I had a few old bottles that I had collected over the past 10 years,but nothing like the amount that I had found this time. There were so many bottles just lying around on the ground, I just started by picking up the ones that I found interesting.These would be bottles that are colored,have advertising on the front, and are from the 1800s or earlier. I made my way over the area until I reached an old tree that had fallen over. The bottles around the base of the tree were really old,around the 1900s. I kept picking up good bottles until I filled my backpack, it held about 35 bottles. Once the backpack was full I would make a pile of 50 bottles and cover them up with branches, to keep them safe and easy to load once I returned later that same day. When you start digging up bottles, a good hand trowel is needed, and a small gardening shovel.
The task of cleaning these bottles is daunting, they have been in the ground a long time. After I had 100 bottles, I started cleaning them. What you will need is a good bottle washing tool, 2 buckets of warm water with dish soap in one, and that is all you need. A good tip to know when cleaning is to soak the dirty ones for a couple of days. On the outside of the bottle I use a bristle pad to take off the rust marks and tough spots. I have so far cleaned over 700 old bottles, and still look forward to the next great find. Some of the antique bottles I have found are ones worth keeping. I would like to collect more colored old bottles,such as purple,green,and yellow.My advice here is to collect the old colored bottles, they are the rarest. The larger old bottles are harder to find it seems, but when you do find one of a good size, your work will be rewarded.
The antique bottles that I have shown to others are the bottles from the 1890s. When you do show people your bottles you will notice that some prefer one type and others another kind. This is good to know if you plan on selling your bottles.I like to have the advertising on the bottle, this gives it character,something of interest to talk about. When they made bottles they made them to last, the glass was thick and durable. This is a good thing for collectors like me, they are still out there in the woods and on the side's of old roads everywhere. What I look for when I go out to look for old bottles is rusty cans lying on the ground,that usually means that there is a garbage pit there. Look along old roads in the woods or at crossroads where traffic would have stopped, people would throw their bag of garbage out the window and that would become a regular routine for many passing by that spot. A metal detector can be used to find garbage pits but you will have to dig to find the bottles. Be careful when you start digging, I always start from the side of the mound and take small layers at a time off the top,working my way down and in to the pile.Wear protective gloves, you will come across broken glass and if you are not careful,you will get cut bad.
I have found some good websites for information on prices of antique bottles, this is one of the better sites http://www.antiquebottletrader.com/ I was quite surprised at how much some of the old bottles are worth. Antique bottles are a good investment, I will definitely keep on looking for the great old bottles that are still out there in the ground.
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