Why do we collect things?
Perhaps it’s to remind us of something long ago or something we wish for and finally get or some particular thing that fascinates us.
I believe we humans have a “thrill of the hunt” gene that comes out at garage sales, flea markets and thrift shops.
My particular thing is old bottles. I am hooked on bottles, whether they’re just old or truly antique.
It all started with a friend who was collecting egg cups. She read an article on egg-cup collecting in a Martha Stewart magazine and started her hobby.
I also read an article on bottle collecting in one of Martha’s magazines and started my hobby.
Suddenly, I was going all over town and out of town to antique stores, “junque shoppes,” flea markets and garage sales in search of bottles. And did I find them!
“I’ll take that one and that one,” I would excitedly exclaim as a I toured the local flea marts.
I bought bottles that were pretty, small, large, colorful and strange looking. But, hey, they were old bottles and that was fine with me.
Before I knew it, my showcase — an old bookcase — started filling up with bottles.
Finally, I decided to go about this collecting business in a more organized manner. I began reading about bottles and the how collectible they were. I decided to go after a specific bottle type — the milk bottle — because I remembered that kind being delivered to my door when I was a child.
But whoa! Milk bottles are big and take up a lot of space.
I then decided to check out ink bottles. They are small and interesting.
Then I discovered bitters and medicine bottles. Have you seen these? Talk about interesting names. Who could resist nerve tonics and blood purifying liquids? And what about “The Cure for Fits,” by Dr. Chas. T. Price? Who knew?
There are some interesting spin-offs to this bottle collecting, not the least of which is historical significance.
When I look at an old bottle there are so many things to consider. How old is it? Where did it come from? Who used it? What is the history of the area?
Bottle collecting is unique and fascinating. The “thrill of the hunt” is ever present. I’m always looking for that extra special bargain and that extra special bottle.
And, oh yes, bitters bottles fit perfectly in my bookcase.
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