After the common - "how much is it worth" e-mails, our next most common enquiry revolves around someone trying to identify a particular bottle they have. Again, in many cases I am not able to help but it is possible to make good use of the WORLDWIDE ANTIQUE BOTTLE WEB FORUM above by clicking on the chat link. I especially like the approach of a recent correspondent. He had a large number of old bottles he knew nothing about, so he took some digital photographs, placed them on a web server, then placed his message on our web forum providing links back to his website. So anyone reading his message could click and then view all of his bottles - GREAT IDEA!! One I would ask you to think about if you want others to help you. They say a picture is worth a thousand word and in the world of Bottles & Bygones this is especially true. Now for some general hints, especially if you want to know if you have an old bottle or not.

F.A.Q 1 - How do I know if I have an OLD bottle ?

SERIOUSLY old bottles - these are usually made of blackglass - which is actually really dark brown or green. Most of these were freeblown and are amazingly crude. Look out for shapes like onions and mallets and also cylinders, the latter like the wine bottle shape of today.( Dates 1640's to 1800)

EARLY MOLDED bottles - these are what we call 3-piece mold as they were made in a mold composed of three pieces. Look for tell-tale mold or seam marks up both the sides AND around the shoulders (Dates - Early 1800's)

PONTILLED CLEARGLASS AND AQUA glass bottles. Feel the base for a very rough glass scar but be careful, some are sharp enough to cut ! The scar was created when the bottle was broken off the PONTIL rod during manufacture. Many of these are medicine bottles (Dates 1770 - 1870)

SMOOTHBASE OR BIMAL bottles. These have no pontil scar and were usually made in a two piece mould. A skilled glassblower would blow a small blob of molten glass into a metal mold and then blow hard to create an internal air cavity inside the bottle. The mold was then opened to release the bottle which could also be embossed thanks to the metal wall of the mold. That still left the lip which had to be hand applied by the skilled glass workers. Hence BIMAL which stands for Blown In Mold Applied Lip. Look for the seam or mold mark on both sides of the bottle which STOPS at the bottle lip. (Dates 1870- 1900)

MACHINE MADE bottles. These were entirely manufactured inside a mold, usually in an automated process. This means that these bottles totally lack the character of the bottles above and few bottle collectors like them. They all have a uniform appearance and their walls are usually made of thinner glass. Look carefully at the bottle's lip. If the seam mark runs up and through the lip you have a fairly modern bottle. (Dates - from 1900).

It is a general statement but usually the older the bottle, the more valuable and certainly the rarer it is !