VOL 21  NO 5                                                                                           Written By  Allan C. Holden                                                                                           January 2024                                                      
                                                     KALAMAZOO ANTIQUE BOTTLE CLUB NEWS

Happy New Year Ye-Ole Bottle Club!                                       

           Well folks, here we are . . once again, venturing out onto uncharted waters with yet  another brand-new year! Let’s pray for smooth sailing! May we all sail free from hidden obstacles!

         Some like to think of the transition into the new year as a
 “clean-slate,” or another fresh opportunity to do-things-better. Well,  let’s hope so.

        Try, as I do, I have rarely seen things get better. But, as we march ahead in time, I do remain hopeful!
        I must say,  I am very encouraged to see the club growing!

       However, at our December meeting, the group was somewhat small. On the day of the meeting, I did receive some phone calls from dear friends who simply couldn’t make it out. . . thanks for the heads up! We missed you!

        At our December meeting we saw the following folks, each  with smiling faces all-a-glow!
Kevin Siegfried, Rob Knolle, Vincent Grossi, Len Sheaffer, Juli Sheaffer, Scott Hendrichsen, Ed Nickerson and
Al Holden.
Even though some members were unable to make it out, and we tried real hard to NOT enjoy ourselves . . . .
 WE  FAILED!  Yes, I am sorry to report “We had a great time!”  (But we missed you!)

         As some of you may recall, one of our newer members, Dave Avery, passed away back in May.
 Dave’s wife contacted me by e-mail to tell me of his passing, and understandably she was very saddened.
At that time she requested that I not mail the newsletter.

         I have experienced getting, in the mail, daily reminders of a lost loved one, and it can be heartbreaking.

          We agreed to talk more at a later time when she wasn’t so grief stricken. At some point she wants some  help dealing with Dave’s  bottle collection.

         Just before Christmas I received a letter from Dave’s daughter, Sarah Avery. Her letter reads as follows:

Good day Allan;
    Firstly, I must say I enjoyed your December newsletter, and the falling snow at the top was a nice touch. My name is Sarah Avery, and I am writing because I found a copy of your Vol. 20-Issue No.8 from May 2023 on my father's desk a few months ago, and admittedly it has taken that long to reach out.
    I have a few things I want to ask you about, if you have the time. Firstly, I am wondering how you got into bottle collecting? When looking back on the years you have been collecting for, what has it meant to you? How (if any) have your thoughts on it changed over time?
    Secondly, I have some antique bottles of my dad's. He sadly and unexpectedly passed away this May and I am not yet sure what to do with them, though finding your newsletter on his desk seemed like he was a fan and reaching out might be a great start.
    I know my mum wants them out of the house though she has no time, and she would like to sell them though we have no clue what their worth may be or how to find out.
    Would you have any thoughts on how we can move forward?
Lastly, I read Vol. 20 I#8 about marble collecting, and I happen to have some antique marbles I wanted an opinion about. I am hoping to find out what they are worth monetarily and am wondering if you or John Wilterding may have thoughts? I couldn't find a contact for him though. Might you be able to pass along these photos or his contact and get back to me? Please and thank you.
Take care, I hope to hear from you soon,
Sarah Avery

    I contacted Sarah, but only to tell her I wouldn’t have time to answer her questions until after the holidays. Sarah sent a couple photo’s of marbles that her father had collected. Vince helped us out by forwarding the pictures to, John Wilterding, for his input.
   I am the last guy to ask about marbles, but I guess did know that the ones pictured were the Civil War era clay marbles which are very common.

    From what Sarah’s mother told me, her father Dave collected cobalt blue bottles. I told Sarah, and her mother, to start out by sending some photos to start with.

    Sarah asked me how I got started in Bottle Collecting.

      At first, my only interest in antique bottles was hearing my best friend say,
 “Hey, I hear some of these things could be worth a lot of money $$$$$$$$$ !”

      I think the possibility of a treasure hunt, appeals to most collectors!

      My father had moved our family out to the location of where my store is today, on M-89. He was searching for a suitable site for an RV sales lot.

       My father had met a man in a diner in Elkhart, Indiana, when he was working as a delivery driver for Michigan Cottage Cheese (my grandfather's business).

      At the time, this man was relatively a unknown stranger. But, looking back now, he was a pioneer in the RV industry, Jack Coleman.

      My father had been working for Michigan Cottage Cheese Company, but he had a desire to one day be in business for himself.
    Jack convinced him that the RV industry was the growing business of the future, and the industry was always in need of more dealers.
    Soon Dad was looking for a good place to buy and establish a sales lot.

     After purchasing the property on M-89, which included a huge old farm house and several smaller structures he applied in Allegan for permits to tear them all down.

       Somehow, the people who handle such matters had connections with the Allegan County Historical Society and they were alarmed at the thought!
    This was believed to be one of the oldest farms in Allegan County! They begged my father to not tear it down!

    The old building was still was full of personal stuff, even though it had not be occupied for decades! A virtual time capsule! 

    Arrangements were made to clean the building of anything of value to the family, but when they were done it was by no means clean . . . . and what was left behind was antiques! One man’s treasure as they say.

     The Michigan cellar was full of junk! Most of which was bottles! Old, Old bottles!

     Dad had agreed  not tear the building down, and his new plan was to build two apartments on the ground floor.

     My friend and I were in the 10th grade, and, we were employed at the trailer sales washing trailers and cutting grass. Our job description to my dad was, “General Clean-up.”

    There was a private farm dump on the back of the property near the river. We had an old truck that we would load trash into it and dump it out back.
    We were always going to letter the truck doors, 
Tim and Al’s General Clean Up!”   

    After the home owner’s family had left, our job, according to dad was; “ Boys, I want you to go into that house and do some, “General Clean Up!”

    It was my friend, Tim, who was the first to see that the trash they left behind could be valuable antiques!

      We secured my dad’s permission to put up a sign, and use the front room for an antique shop. I painted a large sign which read, “Ye Ole Antique Shoppe” and we were off!

       A new TV show had just started up, it was all about a old mountaineer who could barely feed his family, striking oil, and moving to Beverly Hills, well, it was our plan to move in right next door!

    The first few folks came in, wandered around and left without buying anything. But, somehow, word got out about that old brass spittoon we found.

     The lady who ran the Secretary of State’s Otsego office at Roller and Steven’s Jewelry, Mrs. Otto Roller,  said, “Allan, I hear you have a nice brass spittoon for sale? We would like to have it for the Museum in Allegan. I can’t pay you anything, but I may have something to trade.”   
    So we worked out a deal for some Nazi Poker Chips and other stuff that was donated to them, stuff  they were uncomfortable displaying.    

   So, we made our first transaction, but still no cash changed hands! Our dream of riches was slowly  turning to dust . . . and dust we were rich in already!

    Then, one afternoon, an antique dealer from Otsego came in and looked over our treasures. It looked as if she was about to leave empty handed when she said, I will give you $20.00 for everything!
    And just like that we were out of the antique business!

    About 90% of what she purchased were antique bottles and glassware. I recall very few beverage bottles but several ink bottles and ink wells.
    That was my first interest in old bottles.

     It was several years later when I started becoming interested again. In my business of selling metal detectors, there were four people whom I dealt with who were involved in the
Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club . . . which was just starting up. They were, Jack Short, Ernie Lawson and Jerry and Mark Churchill.

    Jack and Ernie in particular really tried to hard get me interested in the club.

    Sarah asked, “What has it meant to you, and have your thoughts changed over time?”

    I think my interest in bottle collecting may be different than it is for many collectors. I do appreciate the rarity of some bottles, and the high dollar value of some bottles. But what really captivates me is the people and stories behind the products!
But by far the best part is the people! Through this hobby I have made some wonderful friends!

Through the club’s web site I continue to receive questions
about antique bottles for all across the country!

    One of the most recent questions I received was from a local new-home builder in the Plainwell area. He asked about a bottle dug at a new home site.  What he unearthed is a Plainwell Druggist bottle embossed, “From Mesick’s Drug Store, Plainwell, Mich.”
 It is clearly a machine made bottle from around 1920's . . . is my guess.
    Here is the letter I received from the builder.

    “I found an old bottle on one of my excavation sites for a new home.
The bottle says Mesick’s Drug Store Plainwell, MI.
I can’t find any history on this drug store.
I did find a story about a couple that owned a farm that they then opened a drug
store when the owner fell ill.
Their names were Amanda & Jacob Mesick. Jacob dies in 1865.
 She then married John Crispe in 1867.

Am I on the right path here to find out the history of this Drug store?
Any help would be appreciated. I can send a picture of the bottle if that helps.

    Well, if you were at the last club meeting, this all should ring a bell. Scott Hendrichsen had just dug a bottle from Mesick’s Drug Store!

    But, the builder is right, the history on the Mesick store is very hard to find.
If Jacob died in 1865, was he a war victim? And Amanda went on to marry one of Plainwell’s founding fathers, John Chrispe.

    So thinking that this may be one of the rare Plainwell Pharmacy bottles, I posted his bottle photo on the Plainwell Facebook page and “BOOM” they started coming out of the woodwork! They are like bellybuttons! Everyone has one!

    Scott Hendrichsen had a number of bottles to display. One was a beautiful reddish- glazed clay master pottery ink with an impressed embossing, pressed into the clay before firing “C.D. Shipman’s Utica, NY” It is a master ink with a pinched lip pour spout.
    I was able to find where one had sold in August 2010 at the Glass Works Auctions. The sale price fourteen years back was $450.00
     That master ink was impressed, ‘C.D. Shipman / Mohawk, N.Y.’ The bottle is from 1880 - 1900. An original label would have read;  Shipman’s / Blue Black / Writing Fluid, Charles D. Shipman, Mohawk, N.Y.’
    Another cool bottle Scott displayed was a short tooled top barrel shaped “Schuyler’s Alden Pure Cider Vinegar Apple Juice
    I found a neat trade card on e-Bay that would have been sent out to retailers advertising the product . . . which reads;

This vinegar is made absolutely and exclusively from pure apple juice and refined very clear!
Grocers can always rely upon getting the grade, strength and full number gallons ordered. Orders always filled with the same quality of goods!
Schuylers Pure Cider Vinegar will always please your customers and increase your sales!
Schuyler’s Pure Cider Vinegar is now recognized as the best cider vinegar in the market west or east!
BUT!!! See that it is branded SCHUYLER’S WITH OUR STENCIL!

There you have it folks, I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Now, how much was Scott asking for that bottle?
I also saw a reference to that little barrel shaped bottle as a "vinegar sipping bottle?"  (I guess some folks do that?)

      Then there was this one that Scott has recently dug.
 "E. Dexter. Loveridge / Wahoo Bitters / XXX / Patd / DWD / 1863" It is a Figural Bitters Bottle,  1860-1880 in medium amber with applied mouth with ring - smooth base, at 9 7/8 inches high.
    These are all over the place price-wise in the Auction Price Report. Sadly Scott’s bottle is slightly broken but even so cracked examples are worth $100.00! A real nice amber one with the flying Eagle with arrow like Scott’s was bringing around $1,000 to $1,500. Color is everything on this one! One in a   Yellow olive with a citron tone
hammered down for $6,000. And yet another in medium blue green went for $20,000!

The West Michigan Antique Bottle Club’s
33rd Annual Antique Bottle Show and Sale is Saturday, February 24th at the
 Fonger American Legion Post
 2327 Wilson, S.W., Grand Rapids, MI

 Show runs from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm

        Contact  Steve DeBoode  616-667-0214 Email: thebottleguy@comcast.net
The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle and Glass Show
 is Saturday April 6th 10:00 AM-2:30 PM. At the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds/ Expo Center: Exit 80, Off I-94, 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, MI. For information contact: Show Chairman John Pastor 616-581-7005 or Club President Rob Knolle 269-993-5125 or crossbonzx@yahoo.com

Don't forget to bring a bottle for the $5.00 Bottle Table  (optional)
Our theme this month is
"Personal Favorites
 Bottles, Advertising Items

The Kalamazoo Antique Bottle Club
Meets At the
 Otsego Historic Society
Meeting date is
  January 9th 
 at 7:00 pm
The Museum is located at
 218 N. Farmer St. Otsego, MI 49078
Meeting starts at 7:00

Phone 269-685-1776
    Web Address