Types of Old Glass Bottles

Updated February 21, 2017

The beautiful colours, shapes, range of sizes and unique handmade features make hunting for and collecting old glass bottles fun and interesting. Bottles can be found at flea markets and garage sales, in attics and sheds, on old farms and estates, along rivers and on the outskirts of old towns. There are many kinds of antique glass bottles, but some of the more popular types are milk bottles, Coca-Cola bottles, beer bottles, perfume bottles and Ball canning jars.

Antique Milk Bottles

Antique milk bottles hark back to simpler times when milk was delivered to the doorstep by a friendly neighbourhood milkman. A good way to date a milk bottle is by the shape and style of the bottle. Bottles made before the 1930s were rounded and had names embossed in the glass. Milk bottles in the 1940s were square shaped and had glazing or labels. Antique milk bottles range in value from $10 to hundreds of dollars, depending on age, condition and rarity.

Antique Coca-Cola Bottles

Antique Coca-Cola bottles looked different than the Coke bottles on store shelves today. The oldest and rarest Coke bottles were straight-sided with embossing or painted lettering, and were made before 1900. Vintage Coke bottles are made of clear, aqua, green, blue and amber glass. There is a multitude of Coca-Cola memorabilia in addition to Coke bottles for collectors. Antique Coke bottles range in value from £6 to £32.

Antique Beer Bottles

Antique beer bottles in the mid-1800s were made from heavy pottery then from handblown glass in the later 1800s. The most common colour for beer bottles was brown or dark amber, as well as amethyst, a reddish-purplish colour which is a very valuable colour of old glass in beer bottles. Antique beer bottles range in value from £3 to several hundred dollars for rare bottles from the 1890s.

Antique Perfume Bottles

Antique perfume bottles were made in a multitude of fanciful shapes and colours with various decorated stoppers. Cut and blown glass bottles in differing artistic styles, such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Lalique, are prized by collectors. Antique perfume bottles range in value from £16 to a couple of hundred dollars to as much as £325 and up.

Antique Ball Canning Jars

Antique Ball canning jars are not as valuable as some other collectable old glass bottles because they were mass-produced by the Ball Glass Manufacturing Company. Different varieties of canning jars include Ideal, Sure Seal and Perfect Mason, among others. The rarer and more valuable Ball canning jars are darker-coloured glass such as cobalt blue and black. Antique Ball canning jars range in value from a couple of dollars to £26 or £32.

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About the Author

Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.