Vol. 7 No. 4                                                                                                                                      December 2009
The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club F.O.H.B.C.


Last Meeting

    At our last club meeting we had several members present. I passed around a sign- up sheet and here are the names logged in: Scott Hendrichsen, Brent Heighton, Tim Hayes, Chuck Parker, Bill Drake, Mary Hamilton, Elmer Ogg, Steve DeBoode, Wayne Marvin, Ed Nickerson and me, Al Holden.

    Chuck and Scott mentioned digging recently, but without much luck. They were in what could have been a great pit because they found 5 broken Drake's cabin bitters bottles! They did find one common, unbroken Mandrake Bitters bottle! Why does it work that way? Well, that dig only added to the value of those beautiful Drakes bottles!

    Steve DeBoode has been digging in Battle Creek, which is the location of an old favorite dump of southwest Michigan bottle diggers for a long time! Steve found one very unusual bottle that he brought to the club, in hopes that someone could read Russian. Bill Drake took the bottle down to the library desk to see what he could learn and it turned out the writing used Greek symbols. "

    Sorry the words did not transfer into HTML (internet format)

    Some of these letter are not a perfect match. For example I used the symbol for Y which may be a mistake. Let us know if you figure it out.

December Meeting

    For December we will be meeting at the Library for a brief meeting and then we are going to the world's greatest pizza joint! Tis the season for Bimbo's pizza!

    Now listen up, you yahoos! You must be a paid up member! It is driving Chuck nuts that everyone hasn't paid their dues! It is only $10.00 per year. Even with this economy, you should be able to scrape together $10.00.

    Many thanks to Steve DeBoode for the great selection in the $25.00 raffle! There were several great bottles that I would have loved to add to my collection, but I am rarely the lucky one in those raffles. Mary Hamilton was the winner and she passed her ticket to the person sitting next to her!

The way it goes!

    Every year, near the end of October, and for the first half of November, my business drops like a lead ball! On some days I feel like I could not even give stuff away. During times like these, it would be better dollar- wise if I stayed home! That is especially true since it is a 20 mile trip to work..

    This year is different in some ways! That is because I have some buyers coming out of the woodwork, yet nothing to sell them! Let me explain. It seems that somewhere in the Sahara Desert, someone located some gold with a metal detector. They tell me that the unexpected part to this story is that the government is allowing it.

    It just so happens that the people in this area are not the real brilliant folks to begin with, and the gold wasn't found with just any metal detector. The detector the finder was using was a very expensive (some might say overpriced) Minelab GPX 4500.

    Minelab is the only brand of detector that I sell that is not American made. The headquarters for Minelab is in Australia, but most of their detectors are made in Ireland. The GPX 4500 has a suggested retail of about $6,000.00! And as of right now, if you have one in this Muslim part of the world, you can name your price! It is really amazing! The factory has not been able to produce these detectors fast enough! The local European supply of these detectors has dried up and now they all have family and friends looking for them throughout the world.

    If I place an order for this model, I can expect a two month wait. Also, if I want to get a GPX 4500 I am only allowed two and I need to prove that it will be used by an American in America! I am not kidding! I get e-mails and phone call everyday wanting to know my price on the GPX-4500! If I had 100 I could ship them all out today! How many have I sold? Zero! How many can I get? Zero!

    All of these callers have a strong middle eastern accent and, if you were to guess what a terrorist would sound like, that would be what you hear. One day I answered the phone and it sounded like the same old story and I was getting a little tired of it by now! By now, I needed a real sale! But this time there was a difference. The caller wanted to know if I had a Teknetics T-2? This is a very good little known detector, and also a very good American brand.

    Let me back up for a second. I forgot to tell you that proceeding all of this, there was an industry-wide scam taking place with stolen credit card numbers. The scam is rampant and it never ever changes. The caller or e-mailer wants some Garrett weapon scan wand- type metal detectors and they usually want 20 or more. What happens is, you take the order, shipping address, credit information and then process the sale. It is only after the items have been shipped that you find out it was a scam and you are out a lot of money! Also, in each of these calls, the caller almost always has a strong middle eastern accent. So far they didn't get me, but I heard another local dealer got burned.

    So, here is this guy who wanted my Teknetics T-2 and Lord knows I needed the sale. I quoted him my sale price of $799.00 which is a discount of $100.00, but a good deal for both of us. However, his accent sent up red flags for me. Also, he seemed too eager to make the deal, which also sent up red flags! I took down the shipping address, credit card information, and the man's phone number.

    First I started checking it all out. I called my bank and, with the first four digits of the card number, I was able to find the card holder's bank. Then, I called that bank and told them that I felt like I had someone using one of their cardholder's credit cards. Well, the name I had matched the card holder, as did the account numbers and address and expiration number and security code! It all panned out! Even the phone number was correct and it also matched the number on my caller ID!

    All that was left to do was ship the detector and I had a sale! After dropping off the package at the post office, I was back in time to call in an order to my distributor. "Hello Geiger, this is Al. I need another Teknetics T-2."

    "Don't we all!" he replied! "How much did you sell yours for?" he asked.

    I told him how much it sold for, only to find out that someone found some gold in this same area with a Teknetics T-2! So now it to is also on the most wanted list with the GPX 4500! As I write this the Fisher F-75 is another one they are looking for. Geiger told me that I could have doubled or tripled my money on e-Bay! You just cannot win!

    The Teknetics T2 buyer called me back to see if his credit information checked out, and to get a tracking number. That is when he told me that he would take all the T-2's that I could get! Sales are at a all time low, at the same time they are at an all time high! Sadly I forgot how to work this cash register! I'm not complaining, any sales are better than none.


    This is a story that I wrote several years ago for the treasure club newsletter. I don't know if you read it before or not. May you and your family have a great Christmas!

    Silas Harter, his wife and two young daughters had just returned home from Christmas Eve services at the small country church they attended. Each year the Sunday School classes treat the congregation to a Christmas play. This was always followed by a joyous evening of singing Christmas hymns.

    It was 1898, the winter the Farmers Almanac had warned would be harsh! Harsh it was! The sleigh ride to church was through falling snow- snow flakes as big as goose down. It came down so hard that even the warm backs of the horses were covered!

    For the ride back home, the sky had cleared. In place of the clouds there was a full Christmas moon, and what looked to the girls like a million stars. Their delightful singing went on the whole way home. It was the perfect Christmas Eve, and all thoughts were on the birth of the Christ Child.

    After tucking the girls into bed, mother adjusted the oil lamp wick, then curled up under the blanket she was knitting. "I will see to the horses and bring in more wood for the stove," whispered Silas to his wife as he lifted his hat from the nail near the door.

    As he wandered back out into the night the full moon made the snow look like a sea of diamonds, and bitter cold made the snow squeak under each step. Yes it was the perfect night for a Christmas Eve. Silas was feeling very good about his family, the farm, and his plans for both.

    That night before entering church, one of this neighbors paid Silas in gold coin for his team of the finest plow horses in the county. A farmer was nothing without his team and anyone else would have felt unsettled about selling, but it was all part of a plan, or you could say a dream that Silas had.

    The dream started only a few short months ago at the Allegan County Fair. A dealer from the Kalamazoo area was there displaying one of the most beautiful pieces of machinery Silas had ever seen -- an engine powered by steam! It was an iron horse that could do the work of six teams of horses! The best part is, all you fed it is wood! Wood is something Silas would never run out of, it seemed. And best of all, you don't have to feed this iron horse during the winter months. The salesman demonstrated how the steam engine could be used to saw wood, plow the field, and even power a machine shop!

    "To be a successful farmer in the 1900's you must have a steam engine," warned the salesman. "Makes a lot of sense," thought Silas.

    As he reached inside the barn door, he felt for the lantern. As the lamp sputtered to life the darkness turned into the familiar barn he and his neighbors worked so hard to build. This was his kingdom; a retreat where he could get alone with just his thoughts as he repaired the equipment or cared for the animals.

    Silas walked to the far corner of the barn where he hooked the lamp over a long peg on an overhead beam. At his feet stood a large empty wooden barrel which he rolled to one side. Behind the barrel was a stack of burlap bags. He stooped and lifted them from the ground and placed them onto the barrel. With the manure shovel, Silas dug into the soft dirt floor until he heard a familiar clunk. Setting the shovel against a wall that hid him from view of the door, he crouched down and felt for the wire bail handle on the buried container . Sitting the can on a nearby work bench he emptied its contents.

    Laying before him was a large pile of gold and silver coins; over three thousand dollars to be exact and tonight he would add another $160.00---all in twenty-dollar gold pieces! After checking the total count, Silas returned the coins to the hidden underground safe and again covered the can with dirt.

    The little family had a wonderful Christmas -- a Christmas they would never forget!

    Before the spring frost broke and the steam tractor was purchased, the Lord called his servant, Silas, to be with him. The farm changed hands many times and eventually became rental property. Sadly, the landlord let it run down to the point of no return. All that is left today is a small pit that was the basement of the once cozy little farm house. There is no sign of the old barn. After it collapsed, the aged silver wood was sold and hauled away. The bank of dreams? It's held firmly by the roots of a beautiful oak tree just waiting to be found.

    One of the best places to treasure hunt is often overlooked. The barn served as the a perfect hiding place, shielded by prying eyes! A cache could be buried, witnessed by only the animals who are too smart to value money. The dirt floor could also hide coins that fell from the farmer's pockets as he lay beneath the tractor or wagon for repairs. The barn roof would protect anything buried in the floor from moisture. Antique tools, pocket watches and knives, even handguns and ammo were often hidden in the barn's floor.

See you at the meeting December 8th..... meeting is at the main Kalamazoo Library on the third floor in the Van Deusen Room. Meeting starts at 7:00

Questions? Call