This post on collecting vintage bottles, identifies types of bottles to collect, where to find them and how much they cost.
A quick note that this post includes affiliate links and I will receive a commission from items you purchase but at no additional cost to you. I am presenting you with my own opinion and honest review of the information provided. If you want to read the entire disclosure statement, please click HERE.
For many years of my life, I lived in apartments or townhouses. At one point, I lived in a 500 square foot studio. As someone who loves collecting vintage and antique items, living in a small apartment or townhouse posed some challenges. My collections were limited to small items. I also had to collect things that could be packed up easily.
So, I was always on the lookout for things to collect that were small, light weight and easy to wrap up into a box. This is how and why I started collecting vintage bottles. Another reason that I started collecting bottles is because some of the bottles were beautiful and affordable. Today I want to share with you some tips on collecting vintage bottles and why I love to bring them out during the summer months.
Collecting Vintage Bottles
First, let me start off by saying I do not collect bottles for their value. Frankly, the last thing I am looking for is whether or not a bottle is worth a lot of money. What I DO look for is bottles that have unique qualities, will compliment my existing collection and that I love.
Those of you who stop by on a regular basis may remember a post about collecting Codd Bottles.
Codd bottles are have some unique characteristics. These bottles were designed to hold carbonated beverages and used a marble to keep the contents from going flat.
If you look closely at the photo above, you can see the marbles in the Codd bottles that floated to the top and sealed the contents of the bottle.
It’s a bit of a challenge to find Codd bottles since they are not readily available. The best place to find them is on ebay or Etsy. However, expect to pay more for these bottles if you buy them online, particularly once shipping costs are included. If you come across these bottles in an antique store they generally range in price from $18-$25. I do still have a few Codd Bottles for sale in my booth.
French Canning Jars
As time progressed, I started having an interest in French canning jars. I blame Maria Carr at Dreamy Whites Atelier for my growing addiction to these jars. The few French canning jars that I do own, I have purchased from Maria. The two porcelain topped jars shown in the photo above are from my personal collection and were purchased from Maria’s shop.
I love to collect the porcelain topped canning jars, although I also have a few of the glass top canning jars.
The photo above shows some the glass topped French canning jars on the shelf by the sink.
Here is one last photo of some of the smaller and narrower porcelain topped French canning jars. As you can see, the French canning jars come in a variety of sizes and styles. Maria’s prices for these individual French canning jars range from $85 to $150. As I said previously, I didn’t start out collecting French canning jars but slowly started building up a collection over the last 8 years. If you are interested in Maria’s French canning jars, just hop on over to her website. Fortunately, she does have an online shop
Vintage American Bottles
This is my favorite category of vintage bottles because they are still easy to find, still affordable and still fun to use. There are old clear bottles, bottles with aqua colored glass, bottles with old soda labels, and even the amber glass bottles that are popular for decor in the fall.
Using Vintage Bottles
For the summer months, I love using the old bottles with aqua colored glass as well as the clear bottles. My favorite way to use these bottles is to group them together and fill them with fresh flowers. The varying heights of the bottles and the different shapes of the bottles make for a great display.
For the summer holidays, like the 4th of July, I like to use the occasional vintage soda bottle to introduce a little red into the display. Vintage bottles are also great for holding small flags. Finally, I like to use these bottles to add a subtle hint of color. The vintage aqua bottles in particular remind me of the ocean and of summer. A collection of these bottles always looks nice when grouped together.
Tips for Buying Vintage Bottles
When shopping for vintage bottles here are some things to keep in mind:
- Large outdoor markets are the best places to find these bottles. Some examples include the antique shows in Brimfield, Massachusetts and Madison-Bouckville, New York.
- Look for bottles with unusual shapes or qualities. For example, in the photo above one bottle has a large indentation on the bottom.
- You can usually get a better price if you pay cash and if you buy multiple bottles at one time.
- Make sure you check the condition of the glass – some of these older bottles have hairline cracks.
- Make sure you check to see if the bottles are clean and if the glass is clear. (Unless you don’t mind cloudy bottles or bottles with a bit of dirt in them)
- Bottles that have white porcelain tops are usually more sought after.
- Try to bring newspaper or something you can wrap the bottles in to protect them.
- Try to bring a backpack or some other bag in which you can safely carry the bottles.
Most the vintage American bottles that I buy are usually only a few dollars. At most, I pay $10 per bottle. Generally, you can buy them at large outdoor markets for between $1 and $5 each.
Of course, there are some vintage American bottles that are particularly unique and valuable – and they will be priced accordingly.
My advice is to buy what you love and what you can afford.
Shop the Post
I did do some research on Etsy and found a few bottle “lots” for sale. A “lot” simply means there are multiple items for sale in one listing. I felt the price of the bottles was reasonable, however, please keep in mind that shipping costs will still need to be included.
Other Summer Collectibles Posts
If you liked this post on Summer Collectibles, you might also like the previous post on Collecting Vintage Flags.
In summary, vintage bottles are fun to collect and are perfect to use in your summer decor. An added bonus is that they don’t take up much room and are fairly light weight. While there are some specific bottles and jars that can be more expensive, don’t be deterred. There are still plenty of old bottles in varying styles and shapes that are very affordable. Thank you for stopping by the blog this week. I hope you are enjoying the Summer Collectibles Series. I wish you happy bottle hunting.
Love this one, Anna!! I DO LOVE old bottles…I’ve got some old glass milk bottles with writing in pretty colors and I’ve really been into the amber colored bottles. I love the blue ones that you have with the pretty tops. It’s such an easy way to create a pretty display with flowers as you mentioned! So fun!!!
Hi Rachel! Old dairy glass bottles are also one of my favorites. Perfect for flowers in the summer time.
“Buy what you love” – love it!
I love old bottles with horses on them, of course! I credit Mom with steering me in that direction when she gave me one as a house warming gift. So lovely to use as a vase and then I have flowers and horses on my table. Can’t get better than that.
Hi Susan! I love the idea of collecting old bottles that have horses on them! Fabulous. I will have to keep an eye out for them . . .
I just learned so much about collectible bottles and now am eager to start searching for some on my own, because they can be affordable and the criteria I can go by is my own preference and their uniqueness. I never knew about the use of marbles. Years ago in my former Rhinebeck home some people asked if they could dig in the back yard to search for bottles, and they were excited to find several, medicinal ones I think. I never should have let the treasure go, but I didn’t
know any better then, not having Skylark blogs to inform
Hi Kathy! Thank you for reading the post on collecting bottles. I bet there were some great old bottles in your yard! However, I am sure they found good homes with people who will appreciate them. Yes, collecting bottles is easy, inexpensive and fun.
What a great blog Anna. I want to go out and start my own bottle collection right away. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Hi James! Thank you for commenting. Yes! I highly recommend starting a collection of old bottles! You can’t go wrong!
This is such a fun collection of bottles, Anna! I had no idea there were so many different types. I love all the French ones and the Coke bottles were fun too. My uncle has been collecting them for as long as I can remember. He was definitely ahead of his time. Big hugs, CoCo
Thank you CoCo for your comments. Your uncle is DEFINITELY way ahead of his time. Hugs back. Anna