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What Effects Price?

How rare is it? The more obscure or scarce a bottle is, the greater its value it. Ceramic bottles produced prior to 100 A.D. will usually be the most expensive. An ancient piece in excellent condition may fetch well over $1,000 U.S.

What is the quality? Throughout time there has been a tremendous variation on quality of bottles. Using today's bottles as an example, the glass may be high quality (like Pyrex and medicinal quality bottles) or cheap soda glass. The bottles may be hand blown, manufactured at a foundry, or produced by unskilled labor in a sweat shop. Some metal work is cast in a mold while others are cheaply stamped out. When looking at the bottle, many of these attributes are immediately apparent.

What is its condition? Especially with antiques, the condition can have a huge impact on cost. Few antiques are in perfect condition and those are very expensive. Some imperfections can offer insight into the items history, how it was made, used, handled, and stored. Some effects like haziness can be cleaned, but cracks, chips, and missing pieces are permanent.

Is it attractive? While this may seem silly, a beautiful bottle will always be more valuable than an ugly or boring one. Metal filigree, embossing, and unique shapes add to the value of any bottle.

What color glass and metal finish are used? Colored glass has always been more expensive to produce than clear glass. Aqua and amber are only slightly more expensive then clear. Cobalt blue glass is sought by many collectors, regardless of the type of bottle.

The metal finish also impacts pricing. Pewter can be inexpensive, although high quality metal with few imperfections is always harder to achieve. Silver and gold plating add to the bottle's value, but have a small impact on production costs. A bottle with solid silver or gold filigree might be worth hundreds just for the metal.

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Last modified: 05/22/08