Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News

Written by Allan C. Holden

February 2015                                                                             Member Club of F.O.H.B.C.


It sort of "snuck up" from behind!

HI friends! I hope you are thinking about the 2015 Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Show! The very idea that the show is on the other side of winter, well, that makes it a very happy thought for me!

At our last meeting, and very near the end, Kevin Siegfried had a sudden panic attack! After he shared his thoughts with the rest of us . . .  we were all looking like deer in the headlights.

So here is what he said, "We only have two more meetings before the bottle show!"

Frankly, that is a very sobering thought!

I spoke to Chuck and he reports that Kevin is working on getting the show fliers printed. John Pastor is working on the raffle tickets, and he has already posted our ad in the Antique Bottle & Glass Collector Magazine.

We really need all-hands-on deck for the meeting this month, as we will be going over show details. Please, if you can help, we need to know A.S.A.P.

At the last meeting we started passing around sign-up-sheets for Bottle Show duties like 'Show-Room Security Detail,' as well as other sign-up sheets for the Hospitably Suite. We are always looking for help to keep the show running smoothly and to make each one the best show we that we can offer.

It is interesting to watch the club evolve over the years. Many of our early group are gone now, and we have new members who are taking their place. Of course, the worry-wart that I am, I am always concerned about coming up short for show help.

Also, we need to start selling raffle tickets soon! I am donating a nice metal detector package again this year (unless John Pastor has a different plan.) Be sure to be at this next meeting for the latest show planning updates!

Last Meeting

At the last meeting we had a very good time . . . well, at least we tried our best to! Our favorite Western Students, Katie Osborn and Kelsey Ennis were unable to make it!

Also, we have all been missing Dee Cole for a few meetings now so I checked in on her. Dee is doing fine, and she has been busy caring for her 96 year old mother. Also I learned that she did get a chance to get out of this Michigan winter for some Florida sunshine. Dee has been busy on the tennis circuit as well! What a gal!

Here is a run down on the group we saw at the last Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club Meeting. This is the list as it was reported to Homeland Security:

Kevin Siegfried, Lt. Gen. C.H. Parker Jr., Mary Hamilton, Bill Drake, Vincent Grossi, John Winkler, Scott Hendrichsen Esq., Ron Smith, Ed Nickerson, Al Holden.

As usual a great time was had by all!

Here is a run down of the great treasures we saw at the last meeting. Our theme last month was Warner's Safe Remedies and Cures!

Vincent Grossi was right on top of his game! I never for a minute stopped to think about bringing in a Warner's Tippecanoe bottle!

The original Warner's Safe bottles are a classic in the antique bottle collecting hobby. But then when you consider the design of the Tippecanoe bottle, you can see where Warners saw a real importance in making iconic, recognizable, packaging for their product.

The Tippecanoe product was a 'Tonic Bitters' and one of the great figural bottles. It was a simple design resembling a log with a bulbous mushroom top.

Vince also has a nice Warner's Safe Kidney & Liver Cure. Also, Vince has a nice collection of antique bottle books which everone enjoyed seeing.

Vince had a number of other neat items! One bottle that I really like is an old screw cap milk-glass cold cream bottle. It has a paneled mug type base. I love these little jars! They are just pleasing to look at, but the reason they are not rare is because they are amazing survivors! I have dug river-bank farm dumps piled up with tons of field stones. Not only was nearly every bottle (except these) broken, even stones were broken! I admit, I do love milk glass!!

John Winkler and Ron Smith found a neat place to dig. They brought in a big box of "cry over fragments" that really brought tears to everyone's eyes! It is amazing to see how folks love to look through a box of parts and pieces.

I remember back in the mid-80's when they had a Collecting Club Show at the Kalamazoo Fair Grounds. A few of us set up a metal detecting display at the show, representing the Southwest Michigan Seek & Search Club (treasure hunting club).

It was a neat show! I don't know if they do this anymore? If they ever do, we should do a antique bottle club display. I can remember seeing a coin club, stamp club, rock & mineral club etc.

That was back in the day when metal detecting in the water, at old swimming holes, was just catching on. A couple guys who were active water hunters at the time displayed some of their gold ring finds.

Back then, an active, shallow-water hunter in Michigan could do really great! With a waterproof metal detector, and a long-handle scoop, a guy could average 200 rings per summer . . . along with a ton of coins!

 So, at the hobby show, a couple guys from the detecting club had big display cases full of gold rings they had found.

The way the world is today, I would be nervous about displaying that much gold!

At that time, around 1985, one of my customers had found a 18-K gold gent's ring with a 7-1/2 caret deep-blue saphire that was appraised (back then) for $25,000!! A expert in antique jewelry was able to date the ring to the 1860's.

Also, besides these eye-popping displays, one of the guys brought in a big box of assorted junk that he had found while water hunting. He let people dig through the stuff! That was the biggest hit at the show! It was full of trinkets, like swimming locker tokens, keys, Cracker Jack toys . . . it was basically junk, but really cool junk! It is fun to think back on it.

The beat goes on!
The best ring total, that I know about, for 2014, was 100 (gold) rings! The ring metal changes as the value of gold goes up.

The bulk of rings that we find are nondescript men's wedding bands.

Most of these rings were usually 10-K yellow and white gold, the 14-K are next in quanity, and a rare treat is a nice 18-K..

Sometimes we will find engraving on the ring where we can attempt to track down the owner and return the ring.

Today, with the bad economy, we are seeing more Stainless Steel, Carbide and Tungston rings lost. When they are purchased new, they are a substancial price for a young couple to pay. Unfortunately they cannot be resized and they have no precious metal value.

Just like medicine bottle wording, after the Pure Food and Drug Act, the purity of gold jewelry had to be marked. We have often found gold rings at early 1800's sites, that are badly tarnished yet marked "Solid Gold" or "Pure Gold" which would mean 24-K, yet they test lower than 8-K! Scamming people is nothing new, it even predates politicians!

So, I got carried away. Ron and John had a neat box of colored glass fragments, and I am not talking about the top portion of an Aunt Jemima cookie jar. (Actually my wife has two of those, one the real-deal and one a re-pop)

One of the glass pieces that these diggers found is a honey amber candy dish that looks like Santa's sleigh! I did a Google Image Search as soon as I got home from the meeting but I could not find a perfect match! I would love to know more about this one!

Forgive me guys, but I cannot remember if it was John Winkler or Ron Smith who had the awesome large pontiled inverted top-hat style flower container.

It is heavy very wittled glass, with all the beauty of a freeblown early 1800's glass item, but I think it is a more modern arts-and-craft piece. It has, in four sides, strong indentations which I am fairly certain they were mounts for a heavy decorative iron wire stand. I am thinking it was one of a set, each stand a different height used in a church or funeral home.

Chuck has an amazing Craig's Kidney & Liver Cure Company bottle! That was the company that Warner's brought out! It is a beauty! Warner was in the bank safe business before going into patent medicine trade, so he put the image of a safe on his bottles.

I brought in a Warner's Safe Kidney & Liver Cure bottle that I purchased from one of the area diggers. It is a deep, dark, chocolate- brown with a double ring collar. I don't remember what I payed for it, but my friend tried to buy it back! Word spread slowly after he had found it, and a Warner's collector heard about it right after I had purchased it.

My friend tried to buy it back, which didn't work out as he planned. The price kept going higher and higher but I didn't want to part with it. He didn't tell me who wanted it, and he didn't tell the collector who had it! All along I am thinking, "He is going to double his money!"

Kevin brought in a stereo view photo of the battleship Maine after it had hit a mine. That event started a war that didn't work out too well for Spain! Kevin knows that I love nautical items, so he gave it to me!

Kevin also had a neat little aluminum John Wyeth inhaler. They are famous for the cobalt blue bottles with the dose cap but now add inhaler to the list!

Scott Hendrichsen had just returned from one of this Civil War relic hunts and he had some beautiful treasure! He found yet another Parrot Shell, a number of great bullets and some cleaner rounds, and even some round ball shot. (34 bullets to be exact) He also found 5 nice buttons!

Scott also brought in an amazing selection of bottles which I will picture in the online newsletter. One that really set me to drooling was a nice olive green double eagle historic flask! And another, was a very rare Golden Bell Kathairon For The Hair.

Bottle Show

The West Michigan Antique Bottle Club is holding their 25th annual show and sale February 28th in Grand Rapids MI. from 10am to 2pm at the Fonger American Legion Post, 2327 Wilson S.W., Grand Rapids MI. For info you can contact:

Steve DeBoode at:

Phone 616-667-0214 . . . .  E-mail (thebottleguy@comcast.net)

Roger Denslow

Phone 616-447-9156 . . . .  E-Mail (rogerdcoger@comcast.net)

Another treat coming up very soon will be on February 19th, at:

The Otsego Historical Socitety
 218 N. Farmer St., Otsego, Michigan 49078.

Chuck Parker and Scott Hendrichsen are putting on their world famous, viewed by the crowned heads of Europe, that famous "Step Right Up" antique bottle digging and collecting extravaganza!

For more detail, be at our next meeting or contact Chuck at 269-329-0853

This Month

Our meeting theme is Bottle Bloopers! Missed spelling, backward, upsidedown error bottles.

Also, I am going to collect phone numers on the sign-up sheet. I know that Vince provided me with one or two more meeting themes but I misplaced my notes.

So, just call him right? I tried to find a phone number on Google and I found everything from his Jockey Shorts size, when his dog was last wormed . . . but no phone number.

So, no problem I will call Chuck, right?

Chuck says, "I don't have a phone number for Vince, where did you get mine?"

"You gave it to me Chuck."

"Ok, Al. Hold the phone while I find something to write it down."

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
 meets at the main downtown Kalamazoo Library, located at 315 South Rose Street. We meet on the third floor in the conference room. This meeting is Tuesday, February 10th. Meeting starts at 7:00 pm.

For questions

e-mail prostock@net-link.net

Or call 269-685-1776

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