antique druggist bottles

edited February 2018 in Question and Answer

I have two old large apothecary bottles, given to me from a pharmacist out of his personal collection, about 20 years ago. I would like to post them for display, some concerns, and maybe values? They are both Cup-bottom mold, mouth blown bottles I believe from 1915 to 1929.
The first bottle I believe is a 2 gallon bottle? The dimensions are 13 1/2" x 5 1/2", on the bottom is the number 8 and letter I in a Triangle. The Illinois Glass Co. pretty sure. The label states "Old Gibraltar" H.A. Compound U.S.P. Kiefer-Stewart Co. Indianapolis. Two 75 year old firms, Kiefer Drug Co. and Daniel Stewart Co. merged in 1915 and became the Kiefer-Stewart Company a wholesale drug firm in Indianapolis. The bottle is in excellent condition, no chip's, I'm not sure if the cork is original, and there are a few bubbles in the glass (round & oval). The original contents, H.A. Compound, would be nice to know? I'm thinking about listing it also so maybe a high and a low value, possible appraisal, would be appreciated. Anything else or comments are also welcome.
The second bottle is a bit more of a mystery. I believe it is a boiling flask? The dimensions are 11" x 5 1/4" and the only markings on the entire bottle are on the stopper. I am sure it is the original stopper, I do know that, 99% at least. It has on the side PATENT 105 with the letter G in a circle. Excellent condition, no chips, also a few bubbles in the glass. A very unique bottle, as is the Old Gibraltar bottle, but I can not find another image of this type of flask? All of the boiling flasks that I have been able to view on line do not have their own base molded to the bottle like this one. When adding liquid the fluid will reach to the most extreme edge of the seam on the base. It seems to have characteristics of what was considered a "custom" bottle. The year of manufacture, the glass company, is it a custom application, and could a value be established? My concerns, thank you for your time. I have uploaded images to Post Image also.
thanks again,
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  • Danny

    I am no chemist and my knowledge of lab glassware is limited. H.A. Compound might be hydrochloric acid, but I am not sure.

    Both pieces appear to be machine made and perhaps mid 20th century.

    One avenue for both identification / discovery as well as one measure of value is to see what is listed on eBay. You will find a LOT of lab glassware listed there - some new, some earlier 20th c., some much older.

    I think I can say in general that the valuable stuff, which is likely a minority of all pieces, is the hand blown, the hand engraved, those pieces with hand painted labels, oddly colored pieces, etc. Even if you limit yourself to the earlier era pieces, you will still find a lot out there, relatively speaking.

    If you are not finding much of this glass listed and described online, then you have an opportunity to build a site of your own. Let the experts come to you and answer your questions :-)

  • OK Chris, thank you for your comments. I understand what you are saying about the known valuable pieces, I have searched numerous outlets and hundreds of pages of images. Seems that what has been established as rare and valuable, plus 98% of everything else in a certain catagory, like Apothecary is fairly easy to search and determine market value.
    I do not believe that I have a home run here even with my Greek lab bottle. When it's time I will establish an asking price, and start out high and come down as time passes. I like your idea of building the web site, I have a half dozen other items in totally different genres that are unsearchable, leaving me stumped. Too many projects already! (:
    You did not mention, 'paid appraisal,' which seem's like is available for just about any object thru thousands of outlets. If I could ask you one more question: let's use my 'Greek' bottle and as a second item, maybe a 'cigar box' and paid an appraiser in those fields for a documented value or similar criteria of value? Not sure really how that works, but I suppose you would get something in writing for your money.
    So you send your item to the appraiser, he looks at it, it is in good condition and he can see that collectors would have interest in this item. How does the appraiser establish an accurate value of your piece if one exactly alike has never came to auction? How would he or she conduct their research in determining a value if there is no information to be found? After I have exhausted my standard search sites, probably 20, I always have Worthpoint for a last chance shot at 'sold' prices for just about everything. Is there a secrete, behind the scenes, site that only appraisers are privy to? I don't think so, but if there is? Could you give it to me, please! "funny"
    Thanks again Chris, and I would really appreciate your knowledgeable and educated answer/opinion to this question.
    good day,
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