Selected Questions June 2007

Want your Questions Answered? Ask Digger.

Digger Odell Publications ©2008

From: Slufootlou
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 9:41 PM
Subject: Note for Digger on Vess & Whistle bottle
Hi, Just run across you page about [Questions for 2003.. Just a note on the Questions Whistle & Vess , this company was started by my Dads Brothers WILLIAM Sylvester [Vess ] JONES -in 1916 in Texas ,then he branch out to many places over Texas, New MEXICO, Arizona, the last one was in St Louis, Mo 1928.. He later got the rights to sell Pepsi Cola to all the western states, Where the best money came from. At first they had the man that started 7up working for him , but Vess was very hard to get along with, so he gave the rights to his Orange Drink to Vess and left. My Dads other brother worked with him A.T. Jones and his son Penn D. Jones took over when Vess died in 1936,Which at this time Penn was in Ohio, and A.T was in Manhattan, New York. The company in St. Louis , Mo is still bottling Vess Drinks only about 200 miles around The St. Louis area [ right now] ,due to the new owners trying to get their drink going . It was a great drink, and had others also. Please pass this on to the person who ask the Questions .That place was his first company. Slufootlou

Hey Lou, thanks for the help and your participation. Digger

From: BeeGee
Subject: Hall's Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer [From Don Fadely's great site on hair bottles]
Date: 6/29/2007 9:41:02 PM
Hi Digger, Sorry for all the photos. I can't find this bottle's value anywhere on the internet. The history of the product is available in many places, but not the value of the bottle. I presume it's a very rare bottle. The paper wrapper is almost completely intact except for a few tiny holes near the bottom of the bottle. Do you have any info or any ideas where I can look? Thanks in advance, Tom Lynch

Tom, the condition of your Hall's Hair Renewer bottle is excellent and looks to be about 1890-1900. With a label, yes it would be rare - but rarity is not the only, or in this case, the most important factor in valuing this old bottle. There are two things which reduce the value: 1) The bottle is clear. 2) The bottle is unembossed. You would be surprised at how many labeled bottles have survived. See the question below. I'd put the value of your bottle at $40-$50. Digger


From: Valerie Bell To: Subject: Wyeth's Sage & sulpher Compound & semi round base bottle Date: 6/22/2007 9:24:44 AM I work for a museum in Florida. Recently we have been given a large collection of medical equipment, including over 150 bottles. Many I have been able to track down some information on, but there are a couple that I have not found out much about. One is a amber bottle with its paper wrapping intact, but no cork. It is labeled "Wyeth's Sage and Sulphur Compound". I was wondering if you could give me an approximate date. As it is wrapped I cannot determine the manner of manufacture, but I am assuming possibly in the 1920's. On the back the directions are written in English, German & French.

The second bottle is what I believe is referred to as a semi-round bottom base. I believe they were used for soda water, but I cannot find any information about them (dates, etc.) Thank you for any assistance. Valerie Jackson Bell

I found listing for Wyeth's Sage and Sulphur  product in the 1912-1916 Druggist Circular Proprietary Lists. Wyeth & Co. were the makers and the product was listed under 'Creams'. It may have been listed earlier or later but my sources were limited to those years. Note the wording, " Not intended for the cure, mitigation or prevention of disease" on the label. This clearly suggests the bottle and content date after 1906.

Your round bottom bottle is a soda and there just is not much written about the various forms in which soda bottles were made.

From: sherje
Subject: would like some info.
Date: 6/22/2007 4:32:18 PM
Digger , My husband is an excavator. He is always bringing home bottles that he has dug up at work. The one he brought home last night I would like to find more information about it but am having trouble could you help? The picture is the attachment. The wording on the bottle is raised or embossed : P.R.R. DISINFECTANT Thanks Sherry

Sherry, I have had several of these 1880-1900 era bottles including one which I dug. My belief is that the PRR stands for Pennsylvania Railroad. In fact, I dug mine along some railroad track. I have no firm evidence of this however. Your bottle needs a good cleaning and then it might bring $25-40. Digger




From: Skybaby
Subject: ever get tired of bottle questions? :)
Date: 6/22/2007 7:33:34 AM
Hey Digger....I am a pharmacist, and have a lot of fun looking for old pharmaceutical bottles at antique stores. I bought a bottle from an old guy who I bought from because he was 84 years old and cute as a button, not because I simply "had to have" the bottle! Anyway, without embarrassing myself with what I paid for the bottle, I would like to know more about it and it's value. It is a light purple bottle (so I assume it is late 1800's - early 1900's), holding over 16 oz. and topped with a cork. The back's imprint is "Prepared by Dr. Peter Fahrney & sons Co." Chicago Ill. U.S.A. and the front is "LOZOGO" Del Dr. Pietro. The bottom of the bottle has a mirror image of a 6 and regular writing that I can't make out....something like XXXPPLIXXX. I would assume that that referred to 6 oz., but this is much bigger than that. I did a little research to find that Dr. Fahrney and son was quite popular for their pharmaceutical preps and have quite a history in that area. Can you tell me more?

Peter Fahrney was a prolific innovator.  He trademarked all types of names and even a unique design for his bottles. He became quite wealthy from his endeavors.  Peter died in 1905.  Born in Quincy, Pa in 1840, he came to Chicago in 1869.  For a while he practiced medicine

until he started in the manufacture of a line of his own medicines - primarily blood purifiers.  He built the business which was taken over by one or more of his four sons.  When Josiah, the president of the company in 1924,  died suddenly there was a struggle for control of the assets as outlined in the excerpt from a Chicago paper.

"WIDOW LOSES FIGHT FOR HALF FAHRNEY ESTATE Court -Upholds 'Ante Nuptial Agreement. Mrs. Alice Kelly Fahrney, 639 Addison street, yesterday lost her legal battle for half of the $1,000,000 estate left by her husband, Josiah H. Fahrney who was a son of the late-Peter Fahrney, millionaire patent medicine manufacturer. Probate Judge Henry Horner decided that airs. Fahrney was entitled only to the Income from $150,000, in accordance with the terms of an ante-nuptial agreement. between Mrs. Fahrney and her husband...."


From: Kunz, Rita
Subject: Geo Benz & Sons
Date: 6/1/2007 1:48:53 PM
Dear Digger,
I have an Old Days Rye Jug (crock) from Geo Benz & Sons where do I go to find out how much it is worth? This used to belong to my great grandfather and is well over a 100 years old. I have tried to find information I do know that the Geo Benz & Sons Co was from St. Paul, MN and they now do business as Oak Grove Dairy. They also used to make Bitters. This is a tan and gray crock (Pint) with blue lettering. Any Ideas? Thank you so much,
Rita K. Kunz

I'd estimated $150-175, but after a particularly long a cold winter, someone might pay more. I have not heard of it but it should be very collectible. The bitters bottles are scarce to rare. Five variants of the Geo. Benz & Sons Appetine Bitters including a sample size (shown at the left) are known, along with a dose goblet marked Geo. Benz & Sons. Digger




From: Sue-Ellen
Subject: Honey Acres Bottles
Date: 6/1/2007 2:37:06 PM
I have two Honey Acres 4 Ounces Pure Honey bottles. The embossing on the front of the bottle is of a bee hive on a short stand, with bees buzzing around the hive, and trees/plants on either side of the hive with the “4 OUNCES PURE HONEY” underneath the embossing. On the bottom of the bottle, the words “Honey Acres” are embossed along with the mold number. The bottles are 4 ½ inches tall and 1 ½ inches wide. The bottles have a round collar below a flat, wide, round lip. The mold seams appear to be different on each of the bottles. On one bottle, one seam runs from the “shoulder” of the bottle up to where the flat lip begins and stops. This seam is on the back right of the bottle. Another seam on this bottle only seems to be between the top flat lip and the round collar. It does not continue past the round collar. This seam is on the top front left of the bottle. On my other bottle, the seam on the left front runs from the “shoulder” up to the beginning of the flat lip and stops. The second seam on this bottle is on the back right and runs from the “shoulder” to where the flat lip begins. The base of each bottle is embossed on each corner as well as the areas between the corners. The basic shape is square with rounded corners. There is no label just embossing. The glass is basically clear. There is a magnifying effect when you look through the glass. They are both in excellent condition. I would like to know anything you can tell me about the bottles. Thank You! Sue-Ellen

Honey bottles are very common but those with embossed brand names such as yours are much harder to find. they are popular with collectors because they are modestly priced, attractive, have a picture embossed and date prior to 1900. Most of the non-brand bottles, like the one pictured at the right sell for $15-20. Your might be $30-$40 in value. Digger

From: Scott Blevins
Subject: mexican roach food company buffalo ny
Date: 6/21/2007 7:30:59 PM
Wondering what the age of this bottle is? It is unopened. Has a cork stopper. The top looks applied. there are some seed bubbles in the glass. There are 2 seams that stop at the bottom of the neck. Are you familiar with this bottle? thanks for your help. L. Blevins

The style is typical of late 19th century or early 20th century. I'd think about 1890-1910. Nice label. Digger

From: MaBassh
Subject: is this worth anything no cracks or blemishes
Date: 6/7/2007 8:20:57 AM

Very interesting advertising piece. For a brief period in the 1930s it was popular to apply painted labels.  all of the bottles of course at that time would have been machine made but yours is in the old style.  Yes, I think it might be worth $40 or so.  Digger

I recently found a certo bottle that is amber in color with raised lettering and on the bottom it  says 10 made in usa 9 43??? is this worth anything? I was just wondering? Thank you for your time.

No. Certo was concentrated fruit pectin for making jams and jellies. There are millions of them around.

From: Dean Ferguson
Subject: InkBottleQuestion
Date: 6/11/2007 10:00:20 AM
I recently dug this ink I think? I've attached 4 pictures. Can you tell me if in fact this is a ink and if it has any value? It's 1-1/2" Tall and is 9 sided Thanks Dean Ferguson
Tri State Bottle collectors

I don't know. I can say it is possible but not listed anywhere. If it is an ink, it must have had a metal top. The base sat in a holder of some sort, much like a cruet set. I think it might have actually been part of such a set.  Interesting I must say. Please visit my web site at Digger

From: scott z
Subject: bottle question
Date: 6/30/2007 11:07:56 PM
I was reading your article on the internet, and have a question....if you'd be so kind to answer. Is it always a good thing to clean your antique bottles, or is there any circumstance where it is advisable to leave the iridescence, etc. on it??? thanks in advance, scott zissman

So the readers are not confused, we are talking about tumbling bottles to remove the stain, not simply cleaning out the dirt. To be honest, I do not clean most of the bottles I have dug if they are attractive. Cleaning bottles makes them more saleable but there is always the chance the bottle will get broken in the cleaning process. some buyers refuse to buy 'cleaned' bottles. With experience, it is usually possible to tell if a bottle has been cleaned or not. Certain bottle colors take on a unnatural sheen after cleaning. Most ground wear, deep etching, and small bruises will not be removed in the cleaning process. Nevertheless, I have cleaned hundres of bottles and for the most part they look more appealing to the causal observer. So really it becomes a matter of preference. Digger

What the Diggers are finding, pictures compliments of Rick.