Antique Milk Bottles
Antique Milk Bottles are glass bottles used to contain milk, deemed collectible due to their age, design, colour and rarity.
In recent years antique milk bottles have become highly collectible due to the fact that in the early 1900s hundreds upon thousands of a variety of different milk bottles were produced every year, yet today they are considered to be much more rare.
Milk bottles that were produced sometime between the American Civil War and the first World War are often referred to by collectors as "smooth based," while milk bottles that were made before the 1900s were either partially or completely hand-blown and formed. Milk bottles that were made after 1914 were produced via an Automatic Bottle Machine (AMB).
"Open pontil" milk bottles were produced in America between the 1600s and the late 1850s, while "iron pontil" bottles were produced between 1840 and 1865.
Types of antique milk bottle
East End Dairy milk bottles
Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania sold a green quart-sized 1934 East End Dairy milk bottle from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for $3,250 in August of 2010.
Log Cabin Farm milk bottles
Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania sold an antique white and quart-sized Log Cabin Farm Jersey milk bottle which was pictured on the cover of John Tutton's Book of Milk Bottles for $1,100 in August of 2010.
Beavers Dairy milk bottles
Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania sold a clear, pint-sized Beavers Dairy milk bottle from Millerstown, Pennsylvania for $1,400 in August of 2010.
J. E. Foltz Dairy milk bottles
Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania sold a a clear, pint-sized J. E. Foltz Dairy milk bottle from Deodate, Pennsylvania for $1,600 in August of 2010.
W. Melvin Reid milk bottles
Hassinger & Courtney Auctioneering in Richfield, Pennsylvania sold a pint-sized, embossed, clear and round W. Melvin Reid milk bottle from Martinsburg, West Virginia for $550 in January of 2007.
C.L. Cassel Dairy milk bottles
Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania sold a clear, pint-sized C.L. Cassel Dairy milk bottle for $850 in August of 2010.
L.A Trostle Dairy milk bottles
Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania sold a clear, quart-sized L.A. Trostle Dairy milk bottle from Maytown, Pennsylvania (circa 1927) for $600 in August of 2010.
Good's Dairy milk bottles
Conestoga Auction Company in Manheim, Pennsylvania sold a clear, quart-sized Good's Dairy milk bottle from Ephrata, Pennsylvania for $650 in November of 2010.
M. M. Cassel Dairy milk bottles
Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania sold a clear, quart-sized M. M. Cassel Dairy milk bottle from Manheim, Pennsylvania for $750 in August of 2010.
Guide for collectors
In order to determine an age of a milk bottle, check to see if the mold seam on the bottle runs over the lip; if it does, the bottle was probably made after the twentieth century, thus is not considered to be very rare and valuable. If the mold seam stops before running over the top of the lip of the bottle, then it was probably made before 1900, thus is considered to be rare.
It is important to point out that just because an antique milk bottle is rare, does not necessarily mean it is valuable.
Milk bottles that have a rare or "unusual" color are considered to be valuable. Aqua, clear, amber and green bottles tend to be the most common, while cobalt (or blue), yellow green, yellow and purple bottles tend to be the most rare and valuable.
Restoration of an antique milk bottle is not recommended.
For more information regarding where to find antique milk bottles, visit the National Association of Milk Bottle Collectors.