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How to Find the Value of an Antique Bottle

Antique bottles are found in landfills, old homes, abandoned buildings, collectable shops and nearly everywhere that glass is preserved. There are innumerable shapes, designs and colours of these bottles and, in many cases, they can draw a good price because of their age, rarity or quality. Several factors weigh in when determining the price of your bottle. Consult auction sites or antique dealers first if you want someone else to help you set the price, but if you would like to value the item yourself, there are several determining factors to consider.

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  1. Determine the age and rarity of the bottle. Bottles made after 1914 are mass-produced by machine and thus not as valuable. They generally have a seam that extends the entire length of the bottle, all the way to the lip, as opposed to handmade bottles, on which the seam stops before the lip.

  2. Check the bottle for chips, cracks or stains caused by the original contents or from sitting in dirt or dust. The more perfect an old, rare bottle's condition is, the more it will be worth.

  3. Note the bottle's colour, embossing and other aesthetic factors. Yellow, yellow-green, cobalt, purple and puce are the most valuable colours to bottle collectors. The amount and quality of embossing are also determining factors when it comes to value.

  4. Consult a price guide or professional, recounting all of the bottle's details, to uncover its value. "Bottlebooks.com" provides its own guide to the value of different bottles, but another online source or print books about bottle collecting will do the same.

  5. If you want to check the price against what another collector is getting for the same or similar bottle, sign into eBay and search for the bottle in question. Select "Search only completed listings" in the "Preferences" section to find out what others have got for the bottle you have.

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Things You'll Need

  • Bottle
  • Bottle collecting book

About the Author

Emily Manthei

Emily Manthei holds a masters degree from the University of Edinburgh and has written for publications as diverse as the "Oxford Journal of Theological Studies," "Emanuel Levy Film Reviews," "USA Today" and "Northern Express Magazine." She also writes screenplays for short and feature films.

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