Vol. 7 No. 1                                                                                                                                    September 2009
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club News
Member Club of the F.O.H.B.C.


Meetings start this month!

Well folks, it is that time already! Time to get back to the bottle club meetings for 2009 & 2010! I cannot wait to hear how you have been doing this summer, especially with all your digging and collecting. I am just now starting to feel good again after my cancer treatments. If you didn't hear, my final surgery removed all the dead cancer tissue and the surgeon did not find any more cancer!

Yes, I am praising God! For each one of you who prayed for me, thank you from the bottom of my heart! The treatments were terribly rough and it will take a long time for me to be back to my old self. What they do to kill cancer, well, it seems like what they do, is all but kill the patient then hope that he or she comes back from the dead without cancer! I'm telling you it is rough!

All the while I have been thinking about you diggers. So many times you are crying the blues because you cannot probe or dig due to the hard dry ground. For the most part we have had great ground moisture and cooler weather this summer, so I hope that you took advantage of it!

A friend of mine just called me from an antique shop in Tennessee. He wanted to know if he should buy a half pint dairy bottle embossed "Sambo's Chocolate Milk?" Of course I didn't know anything about it, but I was online at the time of his call. I did a quick e-Bay search and it only turned up a re-production tin sign for Sambo's Chocolate Milk but no bottle. I also did a search for past, or completed auctions, and that turned up nothing.

At that point I asked my friend about the bottles condition. I figured that if it was like the half pint bottles we had when I was in school, it would have what they call 'case wear,' The milk bottles that our school used must have been washed and refilled a few hundred times in the bottle's life span!

He told me that the glass looked like new and it had a few air bubbles in the glass. So I am thinking, "Looking like new, fitting nicely into the black memorabilia category, especially with the caricature of a black waiter or bus boy. . . Reproduction!"

He said that it was priced at only $12.00 and that sent up more red flags for me! But at that price why not take a chance and buy the thing? If he finds out that it was a big collectable, and the real deal, for both bottle collectors or black memorabilia collectors, he will be glad his buddy Al steered him right! However, I got the feeling that after he left the shop with his new found treasure, the store- keep went into the back room, reached into a cardboard shipping case, and unwrapped another for his shelf. As he watched my friend drive away he noticed the Michigan license plate, shook his head and smiled! The store owner probably paid $12.00 for the case! He just got his money back and still has 35 left to sell!

What do you know about this bottle? I know that in Shipshewana IN. there is a giant hardware store called Yoder's, they stock a selection of reproduction antique bottles in assorted colors! That is one of the things I love about digging . . you rarely run across reproductions! As I am writing this, I have some baby pork ribs on the grill. When was BBQ sauce invented? Does anyone have an antique BBQ sauce bottle? Was pepper sauce the forerunner? Food for thought!


    The digging team of Chuck Parker and Scott Hendricksen reported in with a recent digging adventure to me. They drove to Flint Michigan where they caught up with a member of the Flint bottle club. It seems like the downturn in the automotive industry has left Flint with some real problems like much of Michigan.

    From what Scott told me complete neighborhoods are being deserted right in the oldest parts of town and the city is tearing things up! (Battle Creek is also) They are turning entire blocks into green zones! Bill Heatley is the fellow who took them digging and as I understand it they were probing for outhouse pits with not a whole lot of luck.

    The guys did find places to dig, but they were not finding much in the way of old bottles. Then, when they had just agreed to load up and move to another location, one of them noticed a small animal hole with small chunks of pottery in the tailing piles! This looked interesting so they started digging!

    The guys ended up digging a trench twelve feet long and only two feet deep! From this ditch they unearthed around 50 whole bottles! Many of the bottles were a selection of early Flint beers and one Lapeer MI druggist bottle! They also found a Kalamazoo Zoa-Phora and several doll heads! They were very happy with their finds and by the time you read this they should be back to Flint yet again!

    There was one "cry-over to report! They found a slightly broken "Union # 1" wax sealer fruit jar that, had it been whole would be a $500.00 bottle!

    Also, from somewhere different, Chuck acquired a C.S. Dewitt & Co. Kalamazoo Hutch beer and two amber Berliner Weiss Beers. . also Kalamazoo bottles! Great going guys!

    I hope that you can make it to the meeting and hear more details about these exciting digs and check out some of these and other great finds!

What have you been up to?

    Ever since this cancer thing got started, and even now that the worst stuff is over, I have found myself with time to read. One day I was in a magazine store and I picked up an issue of Hot Rod magazine. I haven't read a Hot Rod magazine in years and years! Thinking back now, it must have been when I lived on Fair Street in Otsego-- almost 35 years ago!

    My love of cars goes back to my childhood. When I was a boy, I used to buy model cars every chance I got. I used to build them, then rebuild them, over and over. It was like an addiction! If I didn't build cars I would draw them -- even in church and school! I had a friend who lived just a few houses away from me right, on M-89 in Plainwell. The house had big, wide concrete front steps which to us were like bleachers. This was way back before the U.S. 131 expressway had been built. At the time, all the drag racers going north to the Martin Dragway went right by his house! It was like a weekly car show! I can still remember those cool hot rods driving, or being towed on their way to the dragstrip. In those days most cars were being flat-towed with a tow-bar or hauled on an open trailer--- what a show! This was before everyone had enclosed trailers! Enclosed trailers are just not cool!

    By the time I was in my teens I was racing every week at the dragstrip and by the time I was in my 40's I was building and working on as many as three drag cars at a time! In the early 1980's I built a streetrod pickup that I drove everywhere! At the time hot rodding was a very cheap hobby especially, if you knew how to find your parts in a junkyard which was most of the fun!

    That is how it was done back then! You didn't go out to a speed shop an buy chrome go-fast parts, you built your own stuff! Since then it has become very expensive!

    Just a few months into buying Hot Rod magazines I started to see a dangerous trend develope! I found myself on e-Bay and before I realized it, I had placed a bid on a Chrysler Hemi engine and I had ordered a catalog for building a street rod chassis!

    What was I doing? I needed a distraction fast! I got out my wheat penny collection and picked up a coin magazine. It worked! Thank God I was out-bid on the Chrysler Hemi! That was a close call! I decided to buy a few of the wheat cents that I was short. Up until now my coins were all found-- some with a detector. All I need now to finish my Lincoln cent collection is 6 coins! You know, coin collecting is very cool! Of course, most of you know what the hardest coin for me to get for my Lincoln collection will be-- right? Of course it will be the 1909-S V.D.B. The designers initials V.D.B. are on the rare one. Right now that coin can run from $800.00 to $1,500.00!

    For the anniversary of the 1909 Lincoln Cent, the U.S. mint has out 4 new pennies this year. The four Lincoln bicentennial one cent coins will show different times of Abraham Lincoln's life. These new pennies have already been minted by the billions but you wouldn't know it! They are being hoarded big time! My mother-in-law has found one in her change in the U.P. but I haven't found one here. A friend of mine already found one with his detector, but I don't know which one.

    These new pennies for circulation will be very, very common, and like all the cents minted since 1982, they will have a zinc core. However, the 2009-S pennies, in the government 'proof set,' will be like the 1909 version --- 95% copper! THEY WILL BE RARE! You can order the proof set from www.usmint.gov for $29.95 and of course you get all the 2009 coins. The 2009 United States Mint Proof Set contains 18 coins, each bearing the "S" mint mark of the United States Mint at San Francisco. Included in this set are four Presidential $1 Coins honoring past Presidents of the United States: William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor; the six quarter-dollar coins honoring the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands; the four Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Coins recognizing the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth; a new Native American $1 Coin; and the Jefferson nickel, Roosevelt dime and Kennedy half-dollar.

    I purchased three of these, one for my mother, one for my brother's birthday, and one for myself. If you want to get in on collecting all of the Presidential coins, in proof sets, you can still order the 2008 coins but you better hurry! All of the high dollar gold and platinum coins are sold out!

Meeting theme bottles.... "Latest Finds!"

    I just received word that Tim Hayes suffered a heart attack! Word is that he is doing fine and had a couple stints put in. Keep Tim in your prayers!

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

Questions? Call