Selected Questions May 2007

Want your Questions Answered? Ask Digger.

Digger Odell Publications 2008

From: OP Surgery
Subject: bottle found in old miner shed
Date: 05/31/2007 4:59:58 PM
Hello I found a bottle that is shaped like a revolver hand gun. It is about 4 inches long and 2 inches tall and 1 inch wide. It is missing the cap. I found it under the floorboards of a shed that I tore down. Please email me back if you have any info on something like this. Thanks Dee Troutman

Dee, Figural bottles in general are quite common and figural gun bottles are plentiful and often sell in the range of $30-100. The gun bottle pictured is unusual in that it has a date embossed on the handle. One way to check the age of the gun figural is to look at the lip. If the lip is ground off, then it probably was made between 1880-1915. Interesting find. Digger

From: Dugan's
Subject: I took pictures of a bottle to capture the pontil and bulbous base and the camera caught an odd maker mark and initials etc in the glass
Date: 05/20/2007 1:55:04 PM

The maker mark or whatever the mark is, is actually in the inside of the glass and came up on the camera, and is on the right side of the bulbous base. It looks odd, like an anvil, then, when I took a picture of the pontils in an odd exposure, a clear 2, what looks like a ' z ' or ' n ', and initials that look like ' m e d ' show quite clearly and unmistakably. I enclosed pics. Do you know what this is? The pontil is a rough pontil over another, the bottle appears to be either paste mold or one piece dip mold, possible free blown. --- Dugan's

I do not know what it is for certain. First, I believe it to be contemporary. There does not appear to be any wear on the base and the form is not right for an early American blown bottle. Secondly, to me is does not fall into the collectible bottle category so much as into what I'd call "Art Glass". Glass makers often leave marks, including etched or scratched initials to identify their wares. They do this also as a service to the collecting market to help prevent fraud.

From: Jeremy Ulrich
Subject: Date?
Date: 05/04/2007 5:04:38 PM
Dear Digger, I live on a farm and frequently when we work ground in this one field we frequently find china, glass, Indian arrowheads, and items related to this. The story is that there was a house their and it was raided by Indians. The house was burnt down and just left go which is why we find so many items. Nothing is ever whole pieces and usually you can't tell anything but today I found something that I could read so here it is. In the picture attached is what I found. I was wondering if this would give us any clue to whether the story is true or if you could maybe help me date this item. I wasn't sure if the 1472 was a date or not. Thank You, Jeremy Ulrich

Your are absolutely correct about the date not being 1472. You are also correct that the numbers are a clue to the age of this bottle. Most likely the '72' stands for 1972. The '14' is probably a batch or mold number. The second clue to the age is the textured base a style found on new bottles. Finally I see what looks like the symbol for the Owens Glass Company - an 'I' inside a circle. I do not know what the 'RRRR' means.

From: Steve Horenstein
Sent: Sunday, May 27, 2007 3:35 PM
Subject: Bottle appraisal
Hello, Wondering if you could tell what era this bottle is from, or what it was used for? Is it old or something recent? The imprint on label looks like "England Pottery 7". Thanks, Steve-

You have an imported English Ale bottle circa 1870-1900 worth about $15. Digger



From: "Susan C Straley"
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 8:42 PM
Subject: green carboy
Dear Digger, My mother bought a green carboy around 1940 in an antique store in Connecticut, where she was told it had been a ship's water bottle. Its wooden or cork lid (no longer extant) had fit over the neck finish (i.e., it was not a stopper or plug). I would like your opinion on when and where it was made, what its likely use was, and its value. It is ca. 21.5 inches tall and 10 inches wide (see picture, "carboy height"). This picture also shows a rough ridge below the join of the lip and neck (a faint ridge continues around the neck but is only rough where shown). The picture, "neck manufacture" shows the most distinct of two mold seams on the finish, which do not line up with the mold seams on the side of the carboy proper. The outside of the lip is smooth, while the beveled inside of the lip is more granular in texture (but not sharp or rough). There are many (more than 50) bubbles, ranging from tiny to ca. inch, including in the neck finish, and wonderful swirls in the body (see picture, "bubbles and swirlies", which doesn't do justice to them). The two side mold marks do not extend into the base (see picture, "base manufacture" ), and the base is embossed with a small stylized D (?), the number 24, and letters that may be V or Q within a diamond (see also picture, "embossing on base" ). Thanks much, Sue Straley, Lexington Kentucky.


I'd guess it was made in Italy, likely held wine or oil and dates to 1900-1920. From your description, it looks to be early machine made. Nice story though. digger



From: Chapman
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 10:47 PM
This bottle has not been cleaned very well. There are no marking on this bottle except the raised letters of OLD CASCADE TENNESSEE SOUR MASH - It is a 32oz / 1qt size bottle (8-1/2" tall) Have you ever seen a bottle like this? Do you know the approx. year? Thank you for taking your time to look. Christy Chapman Pegram, Tn


Yes, I have seen them and they are very collectible. They bring about $150 and date to 1890-1900 period. Using a large cylinder as a container for whiskey seems to be found mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee bottles. Other forms such as pumpkinseed flasks, strap side flask, coffin flasks are found all over the country.

From: William Rodgers
Subject: Duffy Whiskey bottle date 1886
Date: 05/28/2007 6:03:40 PM
I found a bottle dated 1886. It is a Duffy Malt Whiskey Bottle. Amber glass, height 10 ", BIM, has most of original labels, near mint condition----well almost near. Just wondered what the bottle might appraise for if anything. Thank you, Willie

Willie, your bottle is very common. The bottle itself often draws interest because it is unusual, attractive and have a date on the base. Not only did Duffy promote his whiskey as a drink but also as a medicine. It was for sale on shelves up until the day prohibition was ushered in. Machine made examples are known, as are several color variations. With a label, it ought to be worth $25. Digger

From: Geoff Moore
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 10:53 AM
Subject: Gin Case bottles?
Hi Digger, I have four Gin Case bottles that I retrieved from a river near Sapele, Nigeria in the early 1980's. Two are dark brown with the word AFRICAN embossed down one side. One is dark browm with the name V. HOYTEMA embossed down one side. The fourth appears to be older as it is more crudely made, is pale green in colour and has the name J J W PETERS embossed down one side and on the opposite side what appears to be a dog with the words TRADE MARK surrounding it. I have no desire to sell them as they are part of my memories of my time in Africa but I would be grateful if you could enlighten me as to their likely history and possible worth. Many thanks. Regards Geoff Moore

They are Dutch and sound to be 1870-1890 in age. Probably sell in the $40 range. Unusual to find them in Amber...the African ones might be the better bottles. These bottles were widely exported to colonies. Digger

From: Kris Rutherford
Subject: Hey Mr. Odell
Date: 05/13/2007 10:44:05 PM
Any Idea on this one? Dr. Cronks

Kris, There are numerous variants of Dr. Cronk's  stoneware bottles. The name "Dr. Cronk" maybe have been licensed out to various bottlers and manufacturers. Both 8 sided and 12 sided stoneware pottery bottles are known with various embossings. and proprietor names. they are usually said to have contained 'flavored beers'. Most have some form of the wording, " Dr. Cronk's Sarsaparilla Beer."  A similar Dr. Cronk's bottle was recently offered on Ebay as a buy it now for $150, which in my opinion is a bit high.  Your bottle lacks the additional embossing which probably hurts its value despite the fact that it might be rarer than the 12 sided ones already described. Dr. Cronk pottery bottles were widely dispersed distributors in Michigan, Ohio, and New York.  The pottery examples date from the mid 1840s through the mid to late 1860s after which they are not found. According to one source, Warren Dronk of Detroit, Michigan began bottling mineral water about 1857. Numerous glass examples of Dr. Cronk bottles from about the same period can be found.  Most of these are rare and some beautifully colored.