ANTIQUE BOTTLE CLUB NEWS
by Allan C. Holden
Member Club F.O.H.B.C.
Pre-2019 Bottle Show Meeting
As most of you know we are very close to the 2019 Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Show! This April meeting falls on the 9th and the show falls on the 13th at the end of that same week! We need all hands on deck for this month’s meeting!
Kevin tells me that we still need volunteers for display room security. Kevin was even suggesting we could hire it done. I hope it doesn’t come to that. If it does, maybe, I can get my Granddaughter to sit in if she can make a couple bucks. She is a brown belt in Taekwondo! She is a good people person.
Kevin e-mailed me saying, “Al got the price on the shirts and sending a picture. We added K.A.B.C. on the chest area, so the cost will be more. L & XL $16.00 and 2 X 18.00. Also mention that as of now we have nobody for security for the display room. We can hire it done?
(The picture Kevin sent, did not come through on my e-mail)I personally have been very busy with both my business and my personal life, so this newsletter will be brief.
So far this spring, my business has been far better than it was last year! Not because of more customers, it is better because the products customers are asking for have been available! That certainly was not the case last year . . . what a nightmare!
Imagine, coming off that mid-winter sales slump, just hoping you can hold out financially, as you watch your reserves dwindle. Finally, when the time of harvest comes, people are walking in the front door clutching their cash . . . and you have nothing to sell! You watch as they walk away, hoping they didn’t notice that tear running down your cheek!
My reserve cash is normally tied-up in e-Bay goods to sell. Well, this last year e-Bay has also been a huge disappointment!
On a cheerful note, this spring has been so much better for my walk in business!
Two of my metal detector customers from northwestern Michigan’s U.P., from Baraga, MI, Larry Budreau and Dean Velmer, contacted me back in early March.
Dean is with Michigan State Police and he travels to Lansing to train younger recruits. Larry and Dean are both northern Michigan copper hunters.
The question Larry asked was, “Dean is coming to Lansing to run training classes, can you use some float copper?”
I love natural pure Michigan float copper! It is becoming very rare and highly collectable!
Several years back, a fellow from the Portage MI. opened a tourist shop in Copper Harbor, MI where he makes some beautiful hand-crafted copper jewelry and copper nature-art items . . . it is truly beautiful stuff.
One of my metal detecting customers from the Grand Rapids area, met Gordy at his store, and mentioned that he would like to find an area where he could go metal detecting for natural copper.
Gordy helped this treasure hunter gain permission for a good hunt site. The next year a group from the Grand Rapids metal detecting club started hooking up with Gordy and eventually they started making it an annual event.
On a side note, State and Federal land is off limits for copper hunting now.Gordy was so impressed with the success the guys were having, he asked, “Where can I get hooked up with a good metal detector?” When the guys mentioned Plainwell, Gordy said “Sure I know where Plainwell is, I am from Portage!”
Gordy called me and mentioned the make and model metal detector the guys had suggested he look into. He also asked if I would take some large coffee table display sized pieces of dressed float copper in trade.
I love trading, so, I gave him a trade price with me taking a beautiful 21 pound piece toward a new metal detector. The detector he purchased was a waterproof Garrett AT Pro which is exactly what I would have picked.
Once he started hunting in the lakes, standing in chest-deep water, he realized he needs some more gear! So, I fixed him up with some rock tools, a diver’s goody pouch, and a heavy stainless steel long-handle sand scoop.
My payment was another 50- pound natural copper nugget!
My mailman, who is a friend of mine from Church, named Ted, delivered both nuggets. Ted and I have always had a wonderful family-like relationship. That is until Gordy learned that a solid 50 pound pure copper nugget would fit into one of those shoe box sized boxes! You know, the one where the Postal Service promotes, “If it fits it ships!”
Ted and I are still friends, but he wasn’t smiling when he lugged that box into the store!
There are four types of collectable copper found in the Keweenaw copper country. One type is the very rough, jagged pieces which I call, ‘Old Mine Copper.’ This is the copper normally found by searching old mine tailings, or along old abandoned rail grades. Some of it fell off overloaded rail cars, and some was deposited when the overburden from the mines was used to build and maintain the rail bed.
Another desirable type I call ‘Tooled Copper’ which was a by-product of chiseling away copper outcroppings within the mine. Also, from the mining works, you can find core plugs they used drilling for samples or to remove copper.
The most desirable copper is by far the rarest is Native American hammered copper. Spear points, arrow tips, scrapper tools, leather punches, which we call “Copper Culture” items.
Copper Culture items sometimes date back before the great flood of the early Bible times. In fact, I feel it soundly disproves the modern science theory of evolution and the ancient earth theory of the ice age over millions of years.
I say that because Michigan copper is ‘unique’ from copper found anywhere else on earth! Michigan copper can be easily traced back to Michigan’s copper country. Michigan copper has a higher degree of purity, and it has basic elements which give it a hardness unlike other copper.
One element that is found in Michigan copper that contributes greatly to its strength is natural silver as well as other mineral elements.
Michigan copper is very easy to trace back to its source. Bands of native copper were contained in outcrops 2 to 8 miles wide and of varying depth. The surface deposits first attracted the Native Americans who dug out the easily accessible chunks and fashioned copper tools and adornments from them.
Because of Native American tribal trading, Michigan copper- culture items have been found as far south as Florida and even in Europe! Proving before the flood there was a land connection. The British and French explorers saw the indigenous pieces but did little to exploit the resource.
Much of the copper used by the Native American was "drift copper" removed from the rocks by receding flood waters. The Indians were made aware of the existence of the metal by masses of ‘Float Copper’ left lying on the surface.
Sometime, in the remote past, an unknown tribe began to mine the native copper in the Upper Peninsula. They dug pits in the ground and separated the copper from the stone by hammering, by the use of wedges, and, possibly, by the use of heat. Thousands of stone hammers have been found in and about the old pits.
Copper from these mines was widely distributed throughout the country, and it is probable that numerous tribes made summer pilgrimages to the Upper Peninsula to get supplies of the precious metal.
Copper jewelry and amulets worn by the Indians excited the interest of the early white explorers. They learned the Indians had not mined the copper but had found it scattered on the surface west of Pictured Rocks. Explorers from the time of the Jesuits on have searched without success for the "mother lode." Although the French explorers were told of the copper deposits by the Chippewa Indians in the early 17th century, no mining was attempted until late in the 18th century, and none of the French mining ventures were successful.
Of course that brings us to the fourth type of copper from copper country, “Float Copper.” Float copper has recently become much harder to find, and is also highly collectable! With increasing value, more and more treasure hunters armed with metal detectors have moved into copper country looking for this valuable treasure.
Some copper hunters tell me about buyers who will pay good amounts of cash on-the-spot for the right pieces! Much of the stuff they purchase are dressed up and retailed in high-end nature art stores in areas like New York .
I say all this to say that I have about 1000 pounds of beautiful float copper for sale! I have several nice pieces for around $50.00 to $80.00.
A piece like this 21 pound with natural patina (not highlighted) would cost about $189.00, but in a nature art store would run $350.00 to $450.00! I have a couple big pieces, one is 114 pounds and another about 144 pounds for $1,100 each. They would each have a $2,500 value in the right shop and the value is headed skyward!
The following people signed in at the March meeting: Rob Knolle, Charles Parker, John Winkler, Ed Nickerson, Vincent Grossi, Kevin Siegfried, Scott Hendrichsen, Al Holden.
We were not able to find a ride for Mary, and everyone missed her! I am hoping we can get her to this month’s meeting.
Rob Knolle picked up some nice dairy bottles! One was a one pint Kalamazoo Creamery Bottle in sparkling mint condition! Honestly it looks like it was never even filled! Sometimes a common bottle can be considered rare because of condition! (I know that is true with coins)
Rob also displayed a nice clean “Milk Producers Company” one pint with a phone number ‘220' ! Very cool!
Rob also showed us a square 2 quart Maple City Dairy from Paw Paw MI. This size and shape reminds me of milk delivery when I was a kid in the 50's! I even have one like this in amber!
Rob displayed an aqua Elgin Eagle Beer Bottle from Elgin IL. Also, a sharp amber Conrad Seipp Brewing Co. Chicago Ill.
Kevin Siegfried, brought in a 1-quart waxed milk carton from Klover Gold Milk, from the Kalamazoo Creamery. So, you ask “How old can that be? Certainly not an antique.”
My question is, how many survived? And who on earth saved this? It really was a choice way of packaging! The creamery had information about all of their products listed on all four sides of the box! With enough room left over for an old school Amber Alert!
Vince Grossi, had some neat items as usual! My favorite was a fully labeled bottle, with contents, with an original box! Groves Tasteless Chill Tonic!
When I pick out my Sunday shirt and bow tie, sometimes the wife will stop me cold and say, “You are not wearing those together?!”
I think at some point in my life I had some Tasteless Tonic!
Another cool labeled bottle was a small pill bottle with tiny Water Purification Tablets for purifying water in canteens! My Boy Scout memories come flooding back!
John Winkler, displayed a crystal clear glass Mortar and Pestle which may have been connected to the Upjohn Labs. Mortar and Pestle are implements used since ancient times to prepare ingredients by grinding them into a fine paste or powder in the kitchen, medicine and pharmacy. I actually sell them to gold prospectors in my store for crushing gold-bearing rock ore. Of course mine are made of iron. Very cool, John.
Mr Scott “Scooter” Hendrichsen displayed some awesome bottles! One beauty was M.S. Carney, Druggist Decatur MI. Another druggist bottle was
R. Curtis, Hillsdale, MI. and a Colman Son & Fisher, KALAMAZOO.
Another beauty was DR. A.B. Spinney, 308 Woodward Ave. Detroit MI.
Also, another early druggist C.H. Cook MD. Druggist, Albion MI.
Also, A. S. Johnson MD. Office Centennial Block, Battle Creek, MI. All small druggist bottles.
The theme this month is recent finds and sauce bottles!
Reminder! We need more help with security at the doors and display room.
Don’t forget to sell those raffle tickets! Time is running out!
THE KALAMAZOO ANTIQUE BOTTLE CLUB;
Meets at the main Kalamazoo Library, 315 South Rose Street. We meet on the third floor in the
Van Deusen Room. .
Meeting is APRIL 9th.
Meeting starts at 7:00