Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12/7/11 Report - Signs of the Times - Bottles

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Blown Bottle Found on Treasure Coast.

When you detect, keep your eyes open for clues. You can learn a lot from the non-metallic items that you see. Many will help you evaluate an area, including what has gone on there in the past, as well as what is going on there now. Remember, beaches are dynamic. They are always changing. And the items on a beach are often moved. One key to success, is knowing what is going on and where items of different types are being deposited.

Like coins and metals, the prices of different collectibles change over time. Since the popularity of sites like eBay, many collectibles markets changed dramatically. Older, but more common bottles that once were easily sold for good profits, are now harder to sell. Yet there is still a market for nice old bottles and a very good market for rarer bottles.

Detectorists might not always recognize the significance of some of the thing they see when they are out detecting. I've mentioned before the fellow that saw a stack of blue and white china being uncovered on a beach and paid no attention to it and later found out that it could have been very rare and valuable Kang Hsi china, but he couldn't find it again. Things like that happen all the time.

The more you learn about a wide variety of objects the better off you will be.

One day I detecting for coins right after Hurricane Andrew passed through, and I saw some bottles in the surf. Luckily I could tell those bottles were old, so I found an bag and started picking up the bottles. I found out that the bottles were worth more than the coins that I found that day. That was when got my first introduction to old bottles.
Anyway if you see a bottle on the beach, or anywhere else, estimating it's age might provide some useful information. While I am no bottle expert, I can give you some things to look for that will help you tell something about how old a bottle might be.

Old bottles were hand blown. As a result you'll often be able to see bubbles in the glass if you hold the bottle up to light so you can look through it.

The bottle shown at the top of this page hows an unusual number of unusually large bubbles. Those aren't cracks or reflections. They are actually long thin bubbles in the glass.

You might also be able to see that it has an applied top.

The glass of older bottles is generally thicker than newer bottles, and also more irregular in thickness.

Modern machine-made bottles are thin, consistent, and don't show bubbles.

Another way to tell the age of a bottle is the seam lines. I won't go into all of that, but generally speaking, the higher the seams go on the bottle, the more modern it is.

When talking about soda bottles and things like that, older bottles were often embossed. Embossing gave way to painted labels and paper labels.

Here is a milk bottle found on the Treasure Coast.   It is embossed on the side as well as the bottom.

This particular bottle is also embossed Miami, Florida.

I've found quite a variety of bottles from Treasure Coast dairies.   I would like information on Alfar, Boutwell, and Alfar Boutwell dairies, especially.

It seems the two must have combined at one time.  From the bottles that I've found I would guess that they were dairies located in the Fort Pierce area.

By the way, one Vero area dairy bottle that I found sold for over $80.

That might spark your interest in bottles.  There are many web sites on old bottles.   But my main point is that detectorists should be watching for any and all types of clues when they are detecting.  Bottles can be treasures, but they also can tell a story that can lead you to other treasures.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions

The wind is from the west now, and the seas have dropped off to somewhere around the three to five foot area.   Conditions are poor, but you might want to check out the low tide zone before the seas pick up again.

They'll increase next week, reaching around seven or more feet by Tuesday.  I consider six to eight foot seas to be the low end of what is usually required for significant improvement.  Although, of course, it doesn't always happen, as we've seen repeatedly, eight foot sea are getting up to levels that very well might result in improvement.

So hunt low tide now and look for possible improvement when the seas increase again.

Happy hunting,