Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Past Finds 2

As I get closer to the present, my unlisted finds are becoming more numerous, so I’ve decided to continue with just the highlights and spare you all the countless variations of soda and medicine bottles I’ve found…save a few.

The past bottle shows at the Richmond Antique Center have produced some nice RI bottles, which I attribute to the free setup which attracts a host of newcomers.  Two years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Mike, a digger from Pawtucket.  He had been digging near the river, and had a few hundred bottles to show for it.  He later showed me his site, and the amount of digging he had done put my ventures to utter shame.  While a lot of the bottles had damage, he had kept a few medicine bottles that most collectors would discard, and that was good since a lot were unlisted.  I bought a few unlisted versions of G.T. Dana Pawtucket, an unlisted size Fisk & Co. Druggists Pawtucket, and a new bottle from Martin’s Drug Store Pawtucket
Bill Rose also brought a bunch of damaged unlisted medicines, so I obtained an O. Sumner Providence unlisted as rectangular, an unlisted size of C.J. Luce Providence, and some cool soda bottles.  The Moose Head Beverage Co. of Providence had moose heads embossed on their bottles.  I got an unlisted art deco style and unlisted in green quart in a trade.  They are some of the only “creature” bottles I’ve seen from RI.

Another brand new drugstore bottle surfaced on ebay and was a cheap buy thanks to the lousy picture.  After finding it was beat to heck, I got a small refund, and was able to properly enjoy it.  The bottle reads  From Moore’s Drug Store 377 Broadway Providence, RI.  It was slightly different than the average drug bottle, having a M in a square in the corner of the slugplate, and Ounce measurements on one side, but no CC markings.  The base was also embossed Marvel, which has nothing to do with the comic books.
Update (9/12):  I finally found out that there was a Marvel Bottle Company out of Plainfield, NJ which started in 1899.  

I fondly recall the days when I first started collecting.  I was like a vacuum, sucking up any bottles that crossed my path.  As storage became an issue, I had no choice but to specialize, so RI bottles it was!  In that category there were many subcategories, including local bottles.  This is pretty much my area of most intense concentration, which includes the towns of Wakefield, Narragansett Pier, and Peace Dale.  The first bottle collector I ever met, David Gates, is the authority in this area, and I have spent many an hour drooling over his currently unmatchable collection of local bottles.  You could imagine my excitement when I spotted a local he didn’t have on ebay.  Not only was it unlisted, but was easily one of the top 5 local bottles.  It was a square medicine embossed Frank Watson Registered Pharmacist Narragansett Pier & Peacedale, RI.  Now Watson’s Pharmacy bottles from Narragansett are very rare, and the only Peace Dale medicine reported may not even exist.  Simply put, I had to have this bottle!  I sniped it with an unreasonably high bid which I luckily paid less than half of.  You could imagine my befuddlement when it came in the mail full of these odd wooden pieces!  I noticed it had some sort of puzzle in the neck online, but seeing it in person was different.  I labored over an hour extracting the darned things, and was able to recreate the model of a sawhorse and tools from the pieces.  Amazingly I didn’t damage the bottle in the process, and it cleaned up mint.  David still bothers me about it every time I see him.

I’ll end off with one of my biggest collection acquisitions of RI bottles.  During of the Little Rhody Bottle Club’s summer shows, Russ Archambault, a collector of RI, particularly Woonsocket bottles, decided to sell all of his non-Woonsocket bottles.  It was a sight to behold.  A light amber quart Burke Bros. Providence blob soda stuck out like a sore thumb.  It was an unlisted variant, as were most of the bottles I bought.  There was an E.P. Anthony Druggist Providence, which is terribly common, but not when it’s 8” tall.  I had the great fortune of buying the original metal slug plate used to make this bottle on ebay, and had it with me at the show.  I put it against the bottle and it fit perfectly!  That was a pretty special moment.  I also got a large J. Fred Gibson Co. Providence, an unknown B.E. Dewey Apothecary from Pascoag, RI, and an unknown Kenyon Smith & Co. Exchange St. Providence.  There were also some great soda and whiskey bottles including:  Unlisted acid etched wine for Sullivan Bros. Providence, unlisted J.J. Maguire & Co. Providence quart whiskey, an unknown P. Lynch Nasonville, RI soda, unknown Geo. Denniston Kinsley’s Wharf Newport, RI soda, and many more!

The most significant find was barely in one piece.  It was an early straight-sided Coca-Cola bottle.  It listed four towns, including Fall River, Taunton, New Bedford (all Mass.), and Newport, RI.  It may only be ¼ Rhode Islander, but that didn’t matter to me!

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