Two New York Clubs learn about the FOHBC


Two New York Clubs learn about the FOHBC

20 September 2016

I recently was invited to speak at two of New York’s great antique bottle clubs. Barry Haynes of the Empire State Bottle Collectors Association and Tom Kanalley of the Finger Lakes Bottle Collectors Association asked me to join them and speak about the history of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors (FOHBC).

(Read: The Oldest Bottle Club in the United States?)

I rarely turn down a chance to talk about the FOHBC and share a story or two along the way. I enjoy letting people know the roots of the hobby as far as clubs go. I had spoken at the Empire club’s meetings before about the great Vuono historical flask collection. Mark Vuono is a good friend and years back gave me permission to share the many photos of his collection I have on a big screen for the club. Mark carries on the great collection that his dad Charlie started over 50 years ago. I look forward to Mark’s seminar at the Springfield National in 2017.

I had never been to the Finger Lakes club meeting and I am so glad I did. These people are the heart and soul of collecting for sure. They have had meetings for nearly 50 years and really understand what the hobby is about. It is like going to a family reunion of bottle collectors. So friendly, I just enjoyed it so much.

Logo-EmpireStateSo last Sept. 7th, I arrived at the Empire State club’s location and was greeted by John Golley, the club president. John has served as president for years now and does a great job. He helped me carry in my stuff and there was Tom Dudarchik Jr., the first one there, waiting for the others to arrive. At 91 years old, Tom is the oldest club member and is still active in the hobby and club meetings.


Empire State Bottle Collectors Association – Keon Kellogg seated visits with John Golley standing and Tom Kanalley (back to the camera)


Empire State Bottle Collectors Association – Club members and friends visit before my talk began.


Empire State Bottle Collectors Association – Some of the club members came in early. Tom Kanalley in the front (light blue t-shirt), Tom Dudarachik Jr. (seated blue and white strips shirt), Mark Yates (dark green shirt facing back) and Barry Hayes (light green shirt facing ahead).

I got everything set up as the other members came in. I was lucky enough to be the first thing on the night’s agenda. They realized I had to travel two hours to get home and let me go first. Everyone was listening and asking questions. It was great to hear some of their stories as well. I also took time to plug the FOHBC 2017 Springfield National Antique Bottle Convention & Expo. I handed out a few contracts and heard a lot of “I will be theres.” I handed out a few contracts and heard a lot of I will be there’s.

The Empire Club has a show coming up on Oct. 16th at the Scriba Volunteer Fire House 5618 Rt. 104 , Oswego, N.Y. Contact information is Barry Haynes, 315.963.3749. I attend this show every year and it is a great time. I hope to see you there.

I now have an official Finger Lakes Club patch

I now have an official Finger Lakes Club patch

My next stop was Sept. 13 at the Veterans Fire Hall, 638 Elmira Rd., Ithaca N.Y. The Finger Lakes club has met at this location for years. It is a great room with many old firefighter-related items hanging everywhere. What a great place to talk about old bottles. I arrived a bit early and was greeted by some of the club members who helped me carry in my stuff. I visited briefly with Tom Sobel, a long time member and the guy who supplied me with the photo of me talking about the FOHBC. Thanks, Tom.

I could see there was interest right from the start as I was setting up members were asking me things and telling me some of their stories as well. It is always so nice when people love the same thing and you can just feel that in the other person as you talk.

As I was waiting to get started, I looked around the room and did not know anyone but Tom Kanalley. I thought to myself, how can this be? I go places and after over 40 years in this hobby I always know a bunch of folks wherever I go. It just showed me how I have missed this part of my home state. I started to smile inside and thought. oh boy, a bunch of new friends to be made. I have always said the people make the hobby, not the bottles.

I once again was let speak first because of travel time getting home. I enjoyed sharing my stories and hearing theirs as well. I took up a good part of their night talking and felt badly when I looked at the clock. Tobias Dean, the club president was so nice about it, and never tried to hurry me along. I am so glad I went to this meeting and met these folks. It taught me that there are areas in the state I must pay more attention to. The Finger Lakes Club has a show coming up on Sunday Oct. 2nd from 9 am to 3 pm at the Dryden, N.Y. Fire Hall located on RT 13 . Stop by and check it out. You will meet some fine people for sure. For more information about the show or the club contact Toby Dean at

During the visit with both clubs, I mentioned that they should get together and along with the Mohawk Bottle Collectors Club rent a bus to travel to the 2017 Springfield National Convention and Expo. This will be the show of shows in the history of the Northeast. It is an event all will want to attend. We have record table sales already. Selling more tables already than most club shows do in total. We clearly will be sold out long before August of 2017. I hope everyone finds a way to attend this historic event. If your friend can’t drive that far offer him a ride. Clubs can rent a van for less than driving each other separately and on the way home you can all talk about the great things you saw and were a part of. Remember my goal is 10 years later, you say “Remember Springfield!”

Jim Bender,
FOHBC Historian,
2017 Springfield National Co-Chairman


Finger Lakes Bottle Collectors Association – A couple of the club members are checking out the FOHBC display.


Finger Lakes Bottle Collectors Association – Tom Kanalley gets the group all seated so we can begin the FOHBC talk. We had about 20 members at the meeting

Finger Lakes Bottle Collectors Association – Jim Bender visits with a few Ithaca Club members before the meeting starts.

Finger Lakes Bottle Collectors Association – I now have an official Finger Lakes club patch.