FOHBC Regional News September–October 2023

US Map Regions

Editor Note: Much of this information is from the November–December 2023 issue of Antique Bottle & Glass Collector.

NORTHEAST REGION [Charlie Martin, Jr., Director]

The Merrimac Valley Antique Bottle Club (MVABC) held its 48th Annual Antique Bottle Show and Sale on Sunday, September 17, at their new show location at Chelmsford Elks Lodge in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Forty-five dealers set up for this annual event. Twenty-two early buyers paid a premium of $20 to enter the show one hour before the general admission time at 9 am. General admission numbers increased from last year, with more than 150 paid admissions. “The feeling all day long was one of excitement for our club’s new location,” reported Kevin Cantrell, MVABC President and Show Chair. Club members, dealers, and volunteers enjoyed a terrific day with the weather and sales activity. What was especially nice about the show this year was the number of “new” bottle collector that attended and purchased their first bottle. That bodes well for our hobby! Also new this year, the MVABC provided a free lunch to all dealers, dealer assistants and club volunteers working the show. Throughout the day, sales were brisk, with a busy exchange between dealers from set up through the very active early buyers hour and continuing into the general admission time. All in all, it was one of the club’s most successful bottle shows. Kevin sends a big thank you to all for such a great “bottle day!” FYI: Full disclosure: I am a club member and was set up as a dealer at the event. Thus, I also share Kevin’s excitement for our club’s future!

William (Bill) Rose, the president of the Little Rhody Bottle Club, writes, “The Little Rhody Bottle Club sponsored its third and final Bottle Swap Meet of the 2023 New England warm weather season on September 2, 2023. A free table set up and admission was provided at Leonard’s Antiques on Route #44 in Seekonk, Massachusetts. Non-club people were allowed to join the fun and set up tables to buy, sell and trade their bottles. Selling went very well, with many drive-by people turning around to see what a bottle show was all about. There was plenty of free space for anyone who wanted to participate in setting up tables on the grass shaded by huge oak trees. January 7, 2024, is the club’s next event, our show, held at the hotel formerly known as the Holiday Inn, the Clarion Hotel, and now named the Taunton Inn. New members are always welcome. Everyone is invited to attend our monthly meeting held on the second Tuesday of every month at the Pontiac Free Library in Warwick, Rhode Island. Non-club members can attend the meetings to buy, sell, trade or obtain information about collections they may have inherited. Tish Hewins provided photos of the Swap Meet.”

Little Rhody Bottle Club. Photo of club member Bob Lanpher in red baseball hat and Drew Simmons on far right.

Little Rhody Bottle Club. Club member Justin Alberti on the right.

Little Rhody Bottle Club. Names unknown but took advantage of free set up.

Little Rhody Bottle Club. Club members Ron Tetrault, Jim Livsey and Karsten Kydland in background.

Little Rhody Bottle Club. Long-time club members Taylor McBurney and Steve Bergquist in background.

Little Rhody Bottle Club. Mike Hewins resting after a lot of bottle sales.

Little Rhody Bottle Club. The Little Rhody Brain Trust meets. Jim Livsey, Karsten Kydland, Ron Tetrault, Bill Rose and Nick Bruno.

Little Rhody Bottle Club. Cathy and Drew Simmons (in the masks) are river search experts for bottles.

As I prepared to submit my Northeast Region report in late September, I was reminded that many bottle shows are scheduled between now and the end of the year. No matter where you live in the Northeast, there will be a bottle show you can attend without having to drive for hundreds of miles. Hopefully, many of our readers will plan to attend and support a bottle club nearest them. Even better, this would be a great time to join a club and connect with the FOHBC if you are not a club member. Most shows provide information about the benefits and value our organization can and does provide to the individual collector. Until next time, good bottle hunting!

MVABC: Jane Martin and Heather Whittington at the 48th Annual Merrimac Valley Antique Bottle Club Sale and Show, September 17, 2023. Both shoppers appear to be enjoying the event.

MVABC: Local dealer, Leo Goudreau Jr. at the MVABC Show and Sale on Sunday, September 17, 2023

MVABC: MVABC Show Chair and Club President Kevin Cantrell (left) and Tom Paskiewicz, club member with his Bitters display at the September 17th, 2023 48th Annual Show and Sales.

MVABC: Charlie Martin Jr. club member and dealer at his sales tables during the September 17th, 2023 MVABC Sale and Show. A great day was had by all in attendance. Business was brisk and continuous throughout the day.

WESTERN REGION [Eric McGuire, Director]

The Biggest Little Show in the West, contributed by Tom Bostwick, Oregon Bottle Collectors Assoc.

Long, long ago, in a magical land called Ore-Ree-Gone, a bottle show was held. Rainbows filled the skies over the show hall, and enchanted customers traveled from far and wide to view the beautiful items for sale—all at discount prices. Okay, that’s the fairy tale version of this semi-annual event. Now let me give you the low-down on what really took place.

At 11:00 am, Friday, September 15, mass confusion ensued at the Aurora Legion Hall where the Oregon Bottle Collectors Assn. was hosting their 2023 Show & Sale. Everyone struggled to squeeze through the narrow door at the front of the building and the single door at the rear in a panicked rush to get their boxes of bottles, shelves, and merchandise into the show hall and under their sales tables before noon, when the event opened to early bird buyers. Once everything had been hauled in, the confusion gave way to nervous anticipation of what dealers may have brought to sell. While this is a smaller show compared to other club shows, some fantastic items always surface. Club member Will Meysing, from Texas, brought an “Oregon Unkweed” bottle, and Wayne Herring was the lucky dealer who acquired it. Club member Nate Weimer traveled from Alaska to attend the show. Seventeen dealers manned nineteen tables and offered an amazing display of bottles, pictures, postcards, coins and all manner of interesting items for sale.

The honor of “senior” dealer went to Vince Harbic, who, at 90, was accompanied by his lovely wife, Jackie, and son, Jim, who assisted with sales and transportation. Vince was OBCA’s past president in the 1970s as well as show chairman for a number of years. Other long-time club members with tables were Mike Valent, Wayne Herring, Bill Bogynska, Randy Littlefield, and Dean Brannock. The youngest club member operating a sales table was Carson Ashley, who brought along pal Michael for transportation, and together, they added a refreshing air of excitement in their pursuit of Oregon drugstore bottles and western whiskeys. Dealer Derric Venice provided signage to direct folks to the event and also sported a “snazzy” hat, not unlike police or military officials, which frightened a few dealers (myself included), thinking some sort of sting operation was in progress. Dealer Jerry Kelly, who was probably the second most senior member (in age) to Vince, also sold a great collection of Owl Drug Co. related items to long-time member/dealer Pete Hendricks. Club member Jeff Hooper kindly provided everyone with some much-needed comic relief, along with his pretty wife, who managed the sales table.

After the show, a potluck/club meeting was held in the lodge basement on Friday. It included a “show and tell” portion in which President Bill Bogynska shared a teal seltzer bottle and a small size cobalt blue “Powers & Estes, Portland” drugstore bottle. His wife, Sherrie, shared a “Snider Dairy & Produce, Portland,” milk bottle she had purchased earlier that day. Afterward, Mike Valent shared a clear “Rothenberg & Co., Game Cock, S.F.” whiskey flask he had dug years ago, along with an amber “Rothenberg & Co. (embossed Game Cock) San Francisco” cylinder fifth whiskey and a lady’s leg “Byrne & Castree, Salutaris Bitters, S.F.” (on base), which he had also dug. Carson Ashley shared information about a rare Eugene hutch-style soda he found recently for his collection.

On Saturday, as the show began winding down, Mike Valent, Wayne Herring, and I reflected on the club’s history through the years and recognized Harold Hooper, Mark Junker, and others for not only establishing pioneer clubs but also breathing life back into OBCA in 1992, when we re-formed. Early club shows were held in Salem, Sherwood and Portland, while club president Bill Bogynska confessed to joining in 1973 at 16 years old. Wayne Herring told us he had joined the club in 1966 at 17 and Mike Valent in 1969. Other old-time members not present were Pat Darnille, who moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, and Norm Newberry, a veteran milk bottle collector.

Naturally, many older members who have since passed away were recalled fondly, adding a degree of nostalgia to the mood. Overall, the September 2023 Aurora OBCA Show & Sale, while convened during an uncomfortable spell of hot weather, was admittedly a whopping success. My biggest regret was forgetting my sweatband.

2023 Aurora Show. Jackie, Vince and Jim Harbic.

2023 Aurora Show. Randy Littlefield and his wife, at their sales table.

2023 Aurora Show. Scott Slowter and Sherrie Bogynska discussing important economic issues.

2023 Aurora Show. Derric Venice wearing his snazzy hat.

2023 Aurora Show. Jerry Kelly.

2023 Aurora Show. Jeff Hooper (in black hat).

2023 Aurora Show. Sue and Charlie Horn.

2023 Aurora Show. Club president, Bill Bogynska, in grey T-shirt.

2023 Aurora Show. Pete Hendricks in black T-shirt, at his Pacific Coast Bottle Exchange sales table.

[Eric McGuire] I would be remiss in not mentioning the September 16th show and sale of the Northwestern Bottle Collectors Assoc. in Santa Rosa, California. The only slightly adverse comment I heard was that the show was lightly attended. Regardless, most dealers I talked to claimed business was good. A special treat that seems to be quickly disappearing in shows nowadays were two displays. Ron and Gary Barnes displayed a good number of mostly fifth-size whiskey-type bottles and “lady’s leg” style (Boker’s type) bitters bottles. Nearly all were un-embossed but shown for their great variety of colors. Also present was a large display of two separate bottle categories—citrate of magnesia bottles and mustard bottles. Rick Siri, the son of Richard Siri, constructed the well-lit and large displays. The citrate bottles were mostly from California druggists. This had to have been the “go-to” medicine for a certain malady nearly everyone has during their lifetime. What blockage? Rick also displayed so many mustard bottles that it is safe to note mustard was a mainstay in adding zest to many Euro-American meals.

Of special interest was the sale of the super rare medical bottle, embossed “Indian Tla-Quillaugh’s Balsam Dr. R. Parker S.F.” Jeff Wichmann initially auctioned it years ago with a hammer price of $20,000. Since that time, the bottle was discovered to have a replaced top. It was sold at the recent show from the Ted Siri estate, where it was purchased back by the once-auctioneer, Jeff Wichmann, for half the original auction price. Jeff was originally so impressed with the bottle that he plans to keep it for his collection.

49er Historical Bottle Club: Ken Edward and Jerry Forbes (holding bottle) who shared bottles and their stories at this years 49er Historical Bottle Club tailgater in Grass Valley, California. Photo by Craig Cassetta.

49er Historical Bottle Club: Among the bottles shared by Ken Edward was a “T.B. Smith and Co.” Cathedral Pickle attributed to Mark Twain and dug from a property Twain rented in Sacramento after Twain moved. Photo by Craig Cassetta.

49er Historical Bottle Club: Jerry Forbes shared three wonderful western fifths, a “Choice Old Cabinet,” “Tea Cup” and a “Tea Kettle.” Jerry finished off his discussion with ooh’s and ahh’s when he brought out his glorious green Cassin Grape Brandy Bitters. Photo by Craig Cassetta.

Northwestern Bottle Collectors: An overview of the Santa Rosa bottle show on Sept. 15, 2023.

Northwestern Bottle Collectors: A portion of Ron and Gary Barnes display of colorful liquor bottles.

Northwestern Bottle Collectors: Dennis Fox holding the very rare and desirable Indian Tlaquillaugh bottle that was sold at the show.

Northwestern Bottle Collectors: Rick Siri mustard bottle display.

Northwestern Bottle Collectors: Rick Siri’s display of California citrate of magnesia bottles.

Sacramento Valley Museum Antique Bottle Show: I wore the Houston 24 three blue bitters “Together Again” shirt today at the Sacramento Valley Museum Antique Bottle Show. This is Slim and Christy Edwards who host the show. – Craig Cassetta (FOHBC Conventions Director)

SOUTHERN REGION [Tom Lines, Director]

Bottle Collecting in Texas, Jay Kasper Style

I spent a very pleasant 40 minutes on the phone with Jay Kasper from Shiner, Texas, which is between Houston and San Antonio. I was digging for information on collecting in Texas and Jay had the scoop. I met Jay six to eight years ago (maybe longer) at the Jackson, Mississippi Bottle Show, always held in January. He had a multi-table layout of bottles of all types with a focus on sodas…plus an assortment of miscellaneous collectibles.

Jay collects Texas bottles plus bitters, colored sodas, poisons and an assortment of other things, including sports cards—which he’s also big into. And Jay’s been at it for 55 years! In 1968, when he was 12 years old, he started scratching around for bottles in his hometown. By 1974, Jay attended his first bottle show. Buying and selling was fun, and so was digging. After a few years of digging, he found a rare amber Houston Coca-Cola, but he ended up selling it—we’ll get back to this later.

His wife Mary travels with him to all the shows…which begs the question, does she collect too? She does, but not bottles. Her specialty is vintage Christmas items. So together, they set up bottle shows, antique shows, and even at the famous US 127 “Longest Yard Sale.” Jay told me that Mary was originally from Ohio and wanted to buy a place there one day. Well, it just so happened that while perusing the Longest Yard Sale, they found a house right on the route, so for the past seven years, they have participated in the sale from their front yard!

I asked Jay how the hobby was doing in Texas. He said there are three shows in the state and over the past few years, a fair number of new collectors have joined the hobby, actively buying and selling, too. That’s the key to sustaining the hobby…younger collectors. The same phenomenon has also occurred here in Alabama, with the younger collectors joining the fun. He also told me about several veteran collectors who passed away or sold out. Amazingly, their respective collections got absorbed into the hobby without a hitch. This is another sign of how vibrant collectors are in the area. He added that folks look forward to the Houston 2024 National Antique Bottle & Glass Exposition.

So okay, back to the amber Houston Coke he had dug in Shiner. Jay had a severe case of seller’s remorse, so he went back through his stacks of old bottle magazines, looking for an ad wanting an amber Houston Coke. After finding the ad and the collector’s name, he tracked him down in Georgia and actually found a phone number. He called and asked where the bottle went, but the collector still had it on his shelf…it being the best amber Coke in his collection. They worked out a price, but the collector didn’t want to ship it, so Jay and Mary drove to Georgia, bought the bottle, and then drove back home. Seventeen hours of driving just to reacquire the same bottle he had dug 35 years earlier! Some may call that crazy…but that’s bottle-collecting Jay Kasper style!

Thanks again for the interview, Jay! Hey Southern Region clubs and collectors, send me your stories so I can get them in the magazine and on our website! Please email me at or call me at 205.410.2191. Good Luck and God Bless!

MIDWEST REGION [Henry Hecker, Director]

While some clubs in the Midwest Region go dormant in the summer with members pursuing vacations and other family activities, there are still plenty of bottle related activities that continue and produce some wonderful finds via privy digs, lake diving, auctions and flea markets. One recent auction here in Wisconsin yielded a citron midget “Mason” jar, “Warner’s Tippecanoe,” a “J. A. Lomax Chicago” cider, and a clear “Warner’s Safe Remedy.” Not bad for a few hours in the heat.

On September 16, the Heckers hosted the annual picnic for the Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club. To complement the great food, there was a club meeting, auction with spirited bidding, and a presentation on the Comanche Indian Medicine Company that operated for a few months in Mukwonago in 1893. It was operated by two Wild West performers of the time that had run afoul of the law and were hiding out in the little village of Mukwonago.

Martin van Zant reports on the recent Indianapolis Circle City Show in Lebanon, Indiana: “We had 63 tables and had a steady flow of people through the door, but because it’s free after nine we don’t track the numbers. This year we had 12 early admissions; this varies from year to year. We had an auction for the club the night before with 10% of the proceeds going to the club. The club made over $600, a great sale with many great breweriana items changing hands. We had dealers from five states set up with us. This was our 11th year and every year we get bigger. It was a great show and a fantastic time. I feel like we are the hidden gem of the Midwest shows. If you like bottles, you’ll like the Indy show, we have such a diverse group of dealers.” Bill Mitchell, whose health is much improved, was reported to have helped one dealer unpack, relieving the dealer of some high-end inventory and Bill Taylor added another green hue to his color run (or should I say school) of Fish Bitters.

Three other shows coming up are the Findlay Antique Bottle Club’s show in Ohio on October 15, the Metropolitan Detroit Show in Royal Oak, Michigan on November 4, and the 1st Chicago Bottle Club’s 54th Annual event on November 5 in Orland Park, Illinois. Speaking of shows, the Federation has offered the Midwest Region the opportunity to host the 2025 National Convention. Get your proposals into our conventions director, Craig Cassetta, or yours truly ASAP. Note, you just might get some stiff competition from Milwaukee!

The Covid pandemic hastened a trend to conduct Zoom club meetings. The Ohio club is utilizing this technology to increase participation for members from afar. While nothing beats a meeting in person to exchange bottles and fellowship, an online meeting is the next best thing to being there and can increase membership for collectors that have too far to drive. You might want to check your bylaws and make sure that such remote participation is sanctioned, especially as it comes to voting on various issues. I am in another organization where we specifically added electronic participation so that there were no questions later about the legitimacy of voting.

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club: Milwaukee club picnic welcome sign listing picnic events.

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club: One new member signing up based on the FOHBC table.

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club: FOHBC marketing table.

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club: Nice weather for the picnic.

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club: Picnic presentation.

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club: Group photograph. Twenty-six attendees.

Milwaukee Antique Bottle and Advertising Club: Members Emeritus: Ron & Barb Czysh, original club members at its formation in 1972.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: Show chairs Martin Van Zant and Carisa Kimmon. Photo by Michael Seeliger.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: Nice long rows of bottles and glass. Photo by Michael Seeliger.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: Showroom floor. Photo by Michael Seeliger.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: A rather nice crowd. Photo by Michael Seeliger.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: Uninvited guest at show. Photo by Michael Seeliger.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: Jim Hall and Bill Mitchell up and moving around again. Photo by Michael Seeliger.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: Perry Driver and his jars for sale. Photo by Michael Seeliger.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: Nice bunch of Warner bottles Russ Price’s table. Photo by Michael Seeliger.

Indianapolis Circle City Show: Stuart and Mindy Donaldson with ACL sodas. Photo by Michael Seeliger.