Action packed adventures of real live Wisconsin Antique Bottle Collectors on THE HUNT

Wisconsin Antique Bottle collectors on the "Hunt" for Wisconsin bottles!



  • Given the power of human imagination the title, Greatest Find, is likely the very next find. Over the years my expectations for a bottle hunt have been on a gradual incline. Early on, I dreamed of finding another pull up stopper bottle just like the one I found the week before. What did the raised glass letters say again? Graf? Yes, Graf, how wonderful would that be? Another one of those and dare I ask God to assist me in finding one of those round bottom bottles just like my dive buddy found? How many nights did I lay in sleepless anticipation of the next day's treasure hunt with thoughts of round bottom bottles rolling t... Read Full Post
  • By: Steven Libbey Wisconsin corkscrews, from whimsical to utilitarian, antique to vintage, are loved as a ‘go with’ by Wisconsin antique bottle collectors. At the national level a record price was set on eBay when an Abraham Russel corkscrew sold in 2000 for $13,550. While we may not have any quite so valuable, we do have some interesting corkscrews from Milwaukee. A critical year for corkscrew collectors nationally is 1891. The McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 required the date on all imported goods. In 1914, the imprint of the words "Made in" became required. There are exceptions. England required "Made in" on t... Read Full Post
  • Expertise lent by Jon Steiner Jr. written by Steven Libbey With Louis Painter's 1892 invention of the crown top bottle a new collectable and the inspiration for this month’s what else was created. Crown top bottle caps were used to seal in everything from beer and soda to household chemicals. Antique crown top bottles often times, most of the time, came with little tin lithographed caps. The tiny graphic designs allowed people to see what bottles contained when looking down into an ice box or at bottles laid on their side facing out. As with just about every utilitarian piece of packaging, people 100 years ago put ... Read Full Post
  • by Steven Libbey The Hunt for the trash of yesteryear is an adrenalin laced treasure hunt. The feeling of shoveling out that last little bit of fill as you enter the trash layer of a privy or the jubilation of feeling a solid object down in the mud that shouldn’t be there then realizing it is a bottle AND feeling embossing up and down the side has to be something akin to what a drug user feels when they get high. That feeling is just so addictive. For those of you who don’t know join us on the club hunt this spring. For every one bottle rediscovered we find countless ‘lesser’ treasures. From car b... Read Full Post
  • Passion for History; Passion for Art; Passion for Discovery by Steven Libbey There was something transforming in finding my first antiquity, vanquished to rot away over its atomic half life of thirty thousand years or so at the bottom of a lake. A simple antique soda bottle added countless elements and paths to my life. Finding that first glass bottle set the building blocks for new relationships, honed professional skills and even put life on a path it would never have taken without this simple discovery. Having the hunter/collector gene and an endless love of exploration made the search for discarded and lost treasures ... Read Full Post
  • The quest to find an amber Hutchinson soda bottle goes back to the summer of 1997. That's when my brother, Bob, one of my best friends, Tom and I became bottle-hunting junkies. Since getting dive certified the year before, we were fascinated by the prospect of finding sunken treasure. The stories of slot machines loaded with silver dollars thrown into area lakes by the Feds during prohibition "Speak Easy" raids were tantalizing. Rumor has it that the Feds were too dumb to take money out of illegal slot machines before hauling them out to the middle of a lake and throwing them overboard. The bronze civil war cannon still ha... Read Full Post
  • Technically speaking, almost everything we recover from the water has been lost. Some of it reached the bottom when a boat capsized or an object slipped out of someone's hand. Other items were simply discarded. This story describes how I lost something myself in Pewaukee Lake and how we attempted to recover it. Diving Alone I often dive alone. George Thorogood might sing, ‘You know when I dive alone, I prefer to be by myself.' Straight after certification, we would have never gone out alone. We were trained (and well trained at that) in the buddy system. We would try to stay in constant visual contact at the bottom... Read Full Post
  • The Search for Calypso (adventures with dive boats) When asked about scuba diving, anyone old enough might think of Jacques Cousteau. He was a pioneer of the sport. But let's not forget the Calypso. Jacques was always on the hunt for some elusive creature or another, and the Calypso was always there. If Jacques was the Lone Ranger, the Calypso was his trusty steed, Silver. It was indispensable to what he accomplished getting him where he needed to be. When we were dive certified, we too wanted a great dive boat. It just took some experimenting . . . The ideal dive boat might be something like what you see on vacation in ... Read Full Post
  • THE GLASS PILES Imagine swimming up to a mound of bottles piled up on the bottom of a lake. The mound is so high and wide that you can see it as you approach. Upon inspection, the bottles are crude and very old. They feature thin tube-like blobs with torpedo-shaped sloping shoulders. The color is a brilliant deep aqua blue. The bottom of every bottle is covered with embossing that includes a patent date of 1864 right on them. Now imagine that every single bottle is broken. You've just spent a moment thinking about the (now famed) Matthew's glass piles. Who would smash hundreds upon hundreds of antique bottles? Well, tech... Read Full Post
  • While I was at a local bottle show recently I talked with some fellow diggers and divers and was told of some rather nice finds that had been made in the past week. Talk of these finds got me to feeling rather ambitious. So, on the way home I decided to see if I could set my self up with a dig site for sometime in the next week or so. Went to a town that wasn't to far out of my way and started to bang on a few doors trying to get permission. Seems that Sunday morning most of the folks in the town I selected were either not home or don't answer the door! But, after a few tries I finally got permission to probe a rather larg... Read Full Post
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