Vol.7 No.5                                                                                                                                          February 2009
Member Club of the F.O.H.B.C.



Bottle Show

          John Pastor called me to announce that he will be at this month's meeting, Lord willing and if the creek don't rise! With all of the snow we have had, anything can change! John will bring show fliers and raffle tickets to pass out for our 30th annual bottle show. Can you believe it? This year marks 30 years of Michigan's largest antique bottle show!

     John and Scott both asked me to encourage all club members to be at this very important meeting.

       Again, this year's grand prize in the club's raffle will be a new metal detector. The detector will be a model introduced by Garrett Electronics back in 2005, called the Ace 250. Let me tell you, it is the hot topic among the treasure hunters on all of the Internet forums because this little machine is hot! This detector has become the world wide best seller because it has the performance of big-dollar detectors and it is loaded with some great features!

      Great depth is its claim to fame, but it is also a programmable detector that can be set up to reject or accept whatever you want! I use a detector like this one when I am called upon to search for evidence at a crime scene.

      For example, I worked with Kalamazoo County at the scene of an attempted homicide where a 9-mm hand gun was used. The victim was shot through his car door and the bullet lodged in his thigh. After tearing through the door's sheet metal and then striking bone, the bullet could not be traced to the weapon. However, the shell casing could be tied to the gun . . that is, if it could be found! The shell was ejected onto a snow-covered street and, because the brass came from the gun 'hot as a pistol,' it sank through the snow and ice as fast as a bullet! (Pardon the puns!)

     Now, to make matters worse, before the crime had even been reported, a county plow truck came flying by, throwing the shell casing and tons of snow over the curb and twenty feet onto one of the trashiest pieces of real estate in the county!

      The county detectives worked for 2 days digging bottle caps, tin foil, pull tabs, nuts, bolts, hair pins, sparkler wires and anything else you could think of, but no shell casing!

      By the time they called me, they had given up! Their thinking was that the casing either wasn't there, had been recovered by the gunman, or it went down a large storm drain, never to be seen again.

      They made my job easy, thanks to the technology found in our raffle detector, the Ace 250. You see, they were able to tell just one thing from the badly fragmented and mushroomed bullet --- it was a 9-mm!

      I don't have anything against guns, but I am not a gun person. I prefer a mean dog for protection. You cannot get in trouble for carrying a concealed spaniel! However, as a detector user, I find lots of shell casings in the strangest places. I dug out a couple brands of 9-mm casings and found out where they "read" my detector --- which " window" you could say, then closed all the other "windows!"

       I wandered into the suspected area where the other detectors were going nuts, and my detector did not make a peep! Then, after sweeping over the snow- covered ground for about 5 minutes, I got a strong beep! Bending over, I carefully brushed through a few inches of snow and loose ice and there on the ground was a 9-mm shell casing that spelled doom for another bad guy!

The Ace 250 has:

1.Waterproof, Spider-Style Coil!

2. Target Depth Reading!                                              

3. Target Meter ID!

4. Target Tone ID!

5. Programmable Discrimination!

6. 5 Factory Pre-Set Programs!

7. Non-Motion Pinpoint!

8. Light Weight!

9. Great Depth!

10. Great Warranty!

You can be excited about selling these raffle tickets! Good Selling!

Down in the Dumps

         Scott Hendrickson, our program director, selected this for our February meeting theme. This month you can bring in one of your favorite dug bottles or anything interesting that you found while searching for bottles. I have a large, tin, Buddy L steam shovel from around 1920 that Mark Churchill dug somewhere. It is very restorable but I don't know when I will find the time to do it. I used to buy non-bottle items that one of the local diggers used to discard until he met a sucker like me. I have a bone toothbrush, a bone shaving brush, and even some carved bone chess pieces.

         Many of the items that I have purchased are antique doll parts. I had one tennis-ball-size doll head that was stamped "Germany." It was in perfect condition. It had everything going for it. The collectors like the opening and closing eyes and open mouth. I didn't have the eyes, but the very fact that they were missing said that this doll had opening and closing eyes.

          I put the doll head on e-Bay and the auction was one to watch! At the end of all the bidding the doll head sold for over $350.00!

          I also have a large collection of clay pipes and one was never smoked-- it was flawed! When they bored the stem, the drill hole missed the bowl and came out the front of the bowl! I guess the inspector of quality control missed that one.

        Shortly after I joined the club someone told me an interesting story. I may not have all the details right, and I don't remember who shared this with me. It seems like a bottle club in Pennsylvania, or thereabouts, had a real dilemma on their hands. Some company or local government purchased several blocks of property in the oldest part of a city and every house would be destroyed.

        The bottle club approached the city council, begging them for permission to dig the privies before all of the history they held would be lost forever. Well, permission was granted but an impossible time frame was set for the club. To make the most of the situation, the local club sent out invitations to other diggers in other clubs. I was told that some of our club members went down to take advantage of this opportunity.

        One of the last digs was a privy that was part of commercial property, like a hotel or saloon. At the very bottom of the privy, in one corner, curled in a fetal position, was an adult human skeleton! Clearly what they uncovered was evidence of a murder!

       Don't bring in any skeletons! I remember I was digging with Mark Churchill in Plainwell on property that was then owned by my grandmother. In the 1800's the property was used as a large poultry operation with lots of employees. When we found the privies, there were several pits all in a row. I don't recall anything good coming from that dig, but there was something that I will never forget. I dug a treadle sewing machine in it! Try digging one of those out! That was very hard work.

      Another memory was digging with Duane Nickerson in Plainwell on property that was owned by a dear family friend. I couldn't stick around for the whole dig, but when it was all done, Nick found two of the first issued Michigan porcelain license plates! As I recall, they were in perfect condition and sold for a couple hundred dollars.

       I have seen marbles the size of tennis balls, breast pump parts, oil lamp parts and many other tools an trinkets. So bring in your favorite dump or privy treasures to this "Down in the Dump Meeting!"

      While on the subject of down in the dumps, what an awful miserable winter this has been. One of the ways I like to entertain and support myself during these dreary Michigan winter days is with e-Bay.

       I have never been able to part with any of my own personal detecting or bottle digging finds. I cannot explain why for sure, I guess they represent little trophies to me. On the other hand, I don't have any problem selling things I buy from other treasure hunters. There are a couple guys in the detector club who offer me the chance to buy the gold that they find. Being somewhat of a wheeler dealer, I try to counter offer their asking price.

        These fellows have me figured out pretty good by now. If they have X-number grams, of say, 14K gold, and they want to get $200.00 for it they will offer it to me for $250.00. Because I am so shrewd, it only takes me a few minutes to get them down to my price . . .$200.00.

       Not always does this work out right for them, so they will usually have a card up their sleeve, something to sweeten the deal. Generally this sweetener is silver rings, catholic medals and trinkets which they will throw in as a bonus.

      I have as much fun selling this stuff as I do the higher ticket items. I sold a silver Indian ring that was somewhat crude for $107.00!

      I also sold an old brass lipstick tube for $20.00! Even the old costume plated jewelry with rhine-stones get plenty of bids!

Left is a bone handle shaving brush. I have a friend who raises horses, she got me the horse hair.
When you dig these out of an old privy they soon dry out and  start to break down so, once they dry put a coat of varnish on them,
Center This is a Native American ceremonial wedding cup.
Left  is a bone carved chess piece

Here you can see a rib-bone tooth brush. Also, found in a 1850's doctor's office privy, some very rare hand blown syringes that predate the Civil War.

Show helpers

There is a always a need for security help at each show. Sadly, we have lost, over the last few years, some key members. So, we need everyone to pitch in and help where he or she can.

So, please sign up for an hour's duty sitting with the displays, if you can. This is a very important part of our show and this is an easy job for a guy or gal!

We will also pass around a sheet for the Hospitality Suite Potluck held on the Friday night before the show. You guessed it, we are coming up a little short here as well!

See you at the meeting February 10th..... meeting is at the main Kalamazoo Library on the third floor in the Van Deusen Room. Meeting starts at 7:00

Questions? Call

Newsletter is written by Allan Holden