OCT 1, 2002

I received this letter from a concern reader:

Hello Digger,

I have been a bottle collector for many years now and I have recently seen
the worst behavior I have ever seen in the hobby.  There is an avid digger
here in New Mexico named Scott G.  At the NM bottle show last weekend he
was set up and was selling fakes he admitted to making.  There were many
NM drugstore bottles on his table that were not real.  He cast real
bottles, molded the embossing with some polymer, and glued the polymer
embossing to other real, unembossed bottles.  There were being sold for
more than $150 each and were sold as real.  A few did sell before he was
discovered. I wanted to ask you if you knew anything about this illegal and immoral
practice and if you know what materials he might have used.  It's
disturbing to me that there may be some fakes out there now that people
are unaware of.
Thanks and happy hunting,

Tino R.

Tino,  I have both seen and heard this before.  Any number of plastic resins might be used. I will not go into the methods as I do not want to contribute to the delinquency of any would-be crooks.  I have seen this kind of fake most often with Western bottles. Midwestern and Western Drugstore bottles are the favorite target since they are generic bottles which can be found with and without embossed. Repairs as well as fakes such as the ones you mention can easily be spotted. The best defense is a black light which fluoresces the resin a different color from the rest of the bottle.  Many dealers carry handheld black lights to check for damage or fakery. I will post your message on my web site to warn others.   I would guess if the perpetrators were so brazen as to sell these items at a bottle show then it is not far fetched to think they are also selling them online.  Ebay buyers beware.  I'd be happy to post news of such happenings. Thanks for the warning. Digger