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American Bottle Auction

General Auction Rules

You Must Agree to These Terms in order to Bid in This Auction

Conditions of Sale: When the auction begins, you can view all the items being offered in our full-color catalog or at and bid by computer, phone, mail or fax. You can also view the bottles in our showroom, we just ask you to call ahead to make an appointment. Usual absentee auction rules apply. No items will be mailed before full payment is received. Auction closes for each lot, individually, or until there are no bids on that particular lot for 10 minutes at 8:00 p.m. Pacific. That is, if a bid is made within 10 minutes of the end of the auction, i.e. 7:50 p.m., a new clock starts for that item only and a new 10-minute clock will reset anytime another bid is entered. That not only prevents "sniping" an item but also gives everyone equal opportunity to make their best bid. An item will continue to run as long as a bid is made within that 10-minute time frame. Please remember to refresh your computer on your bidder page to have the exact time an item ends.

Return Policy: American Bottle Auctions has a very liberal return policy. That is, we guarantee that any bottle we sell is what we say it is. Every effort will be made to depict the bottle as near to the true condition as possible. If there is any variance or discrepancy from our description, an item can be returned within three days of receipt of the bottle for a full refund including postage and insurance both ways. We just ask that you please notify us before returning a bottle via email or a phone call. We will not refund a bottle if an invoice is paid after 21 days of receipt of invoice. Final say on returns on any item is the ultimate decision of the auctioneer. Invoices are emailed and sent out generally the day following the auction. As we will make every effort to present a bottle as to its true condition, we also ask that you as a bidder make every effort to know exactly what you are bidding on. With our updated grading system, multiple full-sized color photographs, streaming video and ability to see it in person, we feel it is as much your responsibility to know what you are buying as much as it is our responsibility to present it.

Dug Bottles: A bottle could be dug and we will try and point that out. Sometimes it's impossible to tell, other times its obvious. In either case, we will point it out if its' not obvious but if we mention it has been cleaned for instance, assume it's been dug.

Bidding: Each item has a $10 bid to start it out however beyond that there are no minimum bids. You must enter bids according to the "Minimum Raise Amounts" shown below. You can view current bids on the internet or call anytime up to closing. Many customers will also give a "top bid"; meaning that is the limit they will go. This can always be "upped" depending on their disposition. If you have a "top bid" of $350.00, for example, and nobody else wants to pay more than $250.00, the item will go for $275.00 plus the 15% buyers premium. We will not disclose the amount of the "top bids" or number of bidders or consignors at any time during the auction. Bids not in correct raise amounts will be rounded down. We do ask that bidders without a computer not wait until the last minute to call. We also ask that potential bidders not call in the last few minutes for descriptions or further information regarding a particular bottle or bottles. Please be aware that we can only help you if time allows. Some items have the previous owners named for reasons of provenance and a better understanding of their history and are noted in the catalog and online descriptions.

Callbacks: There are NO CALLBACKS for any item in the auction.

Non-payers: Any winning bidder who does not honor their bids, that is to say, does not pay for their winning lot(s), will be disqualified from bidding in any further auctions. American Bottle Auctions reserves the right to disallow anyone from bidding or participating in the auction. If you need more time to make a payment, please let us know in advance. If you need more time in paying for items you've won, we will work with you as long as we are notified in advance.

Reserves: Reserves are rare but some items do have reasonable reserves for auction within the estimated value. At no time will we divulge the reserve prices so please don't ask. American Bottle Auctions Reserves the right to purchase any unsold lots or items that don't meet reserve.

Buyer's Premium:
There is a 15% buyer's premium on any item you purchase. This amount will be in addition to the purchase price of an item after the hammer price.

Terms: Full payment is requested within 7 days of the receipt of the invoice. We understand people are busy so we will be relaxed about receiving payments. An 8.75% sales tax is required for California residents, unless they have a resale permit and submit a signed card. Shipping and insurance via either U.S. mail or Federal Express will be added to the total. Please let us know if special shipping conditions are needed. Everyone is invited to view the items in the auction during normal business hours with an appointment. Bids below the printed minimum will not be accepted.

Visa, MasterCard or American Express: American Bottle Auctions accepts any of these credit cards for faster and easier payment at no extra cost. We also accept PayPal, and checks are not held for any period before shipping. We have honest customers.

Minimum Raise Amounts

$1.00 to $249...............$10$250 to $499.......................$25$500 to $999..................$50
$1,000 to $1,999........$100$2,000 to $4,999...............$200$5000 to 19,999 ..........$500
$20,000 and over .......... $1,000

Remember - We Don't Do Callbacks on Any Item.
Everything ends at the published closing time or until no bids are made for 10 minutes on a particular lot.

Grading System

General Grading: American Bottle Auctions grading goes by a number system, which coincides with the condition of a bottle. When you read a description, we will talk about the condition of the bottle in detail and then assign a grade number to it. For instance, it might say, "this bottle has some light stain and some minor high-point wear and grades an 8." This number reflects the things we talk about and any flaws or distractions from a bottle being perfect. The condition number falls between a 1 and a 10, with a grade 10 Attic Mint being the best. A grade number can fall in between such as an 8.5 or sometimes we will say 9.3, and you can generally go by the grade number as being in the neighborhood of what condition we feel this bottle falls under. We will have a minimum of three experts examining each bottle in this sale. We will examine every bottle under 10-30X magnification and in bright indoor and outdoor light.

Grade versus Value: You can take two bottles, both grading a Mint 9.5 but one might have loads of whittle and a great color while the other is a rather plain aqua with no whittle. While we take into account the whittle and color in the estimated value, the grade would be a Mint 9.5 for both bottles. A bottle may be in perfect condition but have a weak strike or no whittle. Some bottles just don't come with whittle or rarely stray from the same color. A slightly chipped bottle can have tons of whittle and a great strike but the chip really hurts it. In only the rarest and most desirable of bottles does a bit of damage not affect the value a great deal. The bottle can be professionally repaired, but in some circles repairing a bottle does just that, mark it as a repaired bottle. A small ding or flake doesn't bother some collectors and some cringe at the thought. In addition, some people are searching out those slightly damaged or repaired bottles as they can be had for less and often you can't tell the difference from a perfect example. Provenance is another factor that can affect the value of a bottle. Was it in the collection of the late Charles Gardner? Even a bottle previously owned by a well-known active collector can increase the value. The grade assigned does not take whittle or crudity, provenance, rare colors or variant rarity into account. The grade is only dependent on the condition of the bottle.

Grading a Bottle: We will talk about condition, color, crudity, and special features like a drippy top or evidence of extreme crudity, but it all comes down to stain, scratches, small chips or large chips to determine a grade. Essentially the grade is the degree from what a perfect 10 bottle would be. We take a bottle, start out with a grade 10 and subtract from there depending on the particular flaws to that piece. How can a bottle with a chip be Mint? Well it isn't but instead of us saying a bottle is a grade 3 because of the chip or other major problems like a crack, we will occasionally grade the bottle without the chip or crack and then say for instance, a grade 9.4 with large chip. Without the chip the same bottle would simply be called Mint 9.4. We do this as we believe it's up to the buyer to determine the "degree of hurt" the chip causes. Just because we don't think it's that bad, some people would consider it a catastrophe. It's rare that a bottle has it all and you can expect to pay more, sometimes much more than the regular book value or "going rate" of a typical Near Mint bottle when bidding on a Mint example. We suggest you read the overall description, then use the grade number and check out the streaming video and pictures to make a decision when bidding on a bottle. The computer images are much more informative when making a decision. We will discuss as many factors as possible in determining the grade.


Near Mint (grade 8-9)-At first glance, the bottle appears Near or Almost Mint. Upon closer examination there may be some scratches, some minor stain or small flaw including a miniscule flake or an in-making radiating potstone the size of a pinhead. Near Mint bottles can exhibit wear and can have some typical light scratches or minor highpoint wear. A Near Mint bottle is a good condition bottle that could be cleaned. As we say, Near Mint can fall in between categories. There might be a pretty significant difference between a Near Mint 8.1 and an 8.9.

Mint (grade 9-10)-A great looking bottle, no real flaws. At first glance it appears as an Attic Mint bottle. A Mint bottle can possibly have just the most minor scratch or just a bit of wear. A number of bottles we sell are Mint bottles primarily because that's what our customers are looking for. Most Mint bottles should be considered top specimens. Rare bottles in this condition are usually quickly bought up and often the only question is the price. Once again, there could be a decent amount of difference between a 9.1 and a 9.8 grade Mint bottle, but you're talking small differences in a super condition bottle. So we might say a low grade Mint bottle. A 9.1 or a top specimen grade 9.8. Both are generally perfect but one might have an impeccable pristine look while another isn't quite as striking. Base wear, very small areas of wear, a few very light scratches that are difficult to see can also be called a Mint bottle. If you look at any bottle long enough you'll find something. We will do everything we can to describe a Mint bottle but when we have to talk about an issue viewable only under a loupe or high magnification we start getting into a gray area. Just use your own sense of what it is we are discussing. A number value can obviously be disagreed upon. In-making flaws are also debatable. We will point them out but not factor in their presence to the grade. Things like a pontil chip, a slag of glass stuck on the bottle, these are all in-making with the exception of a radiating potstone. We will always discuss and devalue a bottle for a radiating potstone.

Attic Mint (grade 10)-Perfect, no cleaning, possibly found in an attic. Possible original label. Undisturbed by time. We almost never call a bottle Attic Mint unless it's been found in a house or somehow protected by the elements. Attic Mint bottles are usually an absolute top specimen strictly regarding condition. In other words, two bottles that could be considered Attic Mint could vary in crudity and color but as faras condition, they would both be considered equally Attic Mint. You can go into a supermarket today and find a brand new bottle that isn't Attic Mint. They are a very special condition bottle and very difficult to find.


Everything ends at the published closing time or until no bids are made for 10 minutes on a particular lot.


Spirits Bottles of the Old West by Bill and Betty Wilson.
Western Bitters by Bill and Betty Wilson
19th Century Medicine in Glass by Bill and Betty Wilson
Antique Glass Bottles-Their History and Evolution (1500-1850) by Willy Van den Bossche
The Glass Industry in Sandwich (all volumes) by Barlow & Kaiser
Bitters Bottles and Bitters Bottles Supplement by Ring/Ham
Western Blob Top Soda and Mineral Water Bottles and California Hutchinson Type Soda Bottles by Peck and Audie Markota
A Look At California Hutchinson Type Soda Bottles by Peck & Audie Markota
Understanding Antique Wine Bottles by Roger Dumbrell
Here's to Beers by Byron & Vicky Martin
Whiskey Bottles of the Old West by John Thomas
Picnics, Coffins, Shoo-Flies by John Thomas
Whiskey Bottles and Liquor Containers From The State of Oregon by John Thomas
Whiskey Bottles and Liquor Containers From The State of Washington By John L. Thomas
Great American Pontiled Medicines by Frederick Nielsen
Historic Shot Glasses The Pre-Prohibition Era by Barbara Edmonson
Western Whiskey Bottles No. 4 by R.E. Barnett
Collecting Bottles by Cecil Munsey
American Glass by Geo P. & Helen McKearin
American Sodas & Beers by Tod von Mechow
Antique Eastern Whiskey Bottles by Donald Denzin
Ketchup Pickles Sauces by Betty Zumwalt
Redbook of Fruit Jars by Doug Leybourne
Mitchell.s Antique Bottle Auction Price Results by Jim and Lynn Mitchell
Warner's by Ojea/Stecher
Ink Bottles and Inkwells by Covill and Sullwold
Saratoga Type Mineral Watrer Bottles by Donald Tucker
Graphics by Chisty Anderson and Design Services
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