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Antique Bottles

Antique bottles are the most exciting type of lachrymatory to collect. These beautiful creations give us a chance to touch history. If you hope to collect these ancient treasures, use care and have fun. Ancient bottles come from many regions and many time periods. These factors can be as important as the bottles condition when estimating value. 

Ancient Roman Bottles

The Roman empire produced a large quantity of lachrymatories. Ceramic and glass bottles are both available and can be found at auctions around the world. Glass blowing was created around 100 A.D., so you'll find only ceramic vials (with the possible exception of Chinese carved stone) before then.

Auction guidelines

The classic approach to getting the best deal in antiquities is buying through auctions. Of course, be sure to use a reputable auction house if you take this approach. Two of the best known houses are Sotheby's and Christie's. If you are looking for a more grass-roots approach, ebay is the popular approach. Remember, buyer beware. There may be a great selection at ebay, but make sure you understand what you are buying before you bid.

More information on collecting and purchasing at auction is found in a reprint from Ancient Magazine found at Ancient & Oriental Antiquities.

This beautiful bottle, made in the style and glass of ancient Egypt, is actually a contemporary reproduction.

Words of Caution

Nearly as soon as the original bottles were found, fake or counterfeit bottles have been produced. If you are interested in antiques, be sure to buy from a reputable vendor or auction house. Also be sure to insure the authenticity and provenance of your acquisition.

The best deals on antiques can be found in the country of origin. But, most countries have strict export restrictions on many historic items. Be sure to investigate local laws and restrictions before purchasing anything. A reputable antique house can provide assistance in safely exporting your new purchase.

If you learn of any other artists or manufacturers that should be listed on these pages, please let me know.

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Last modified: 05/22/08