Meet Your Officers

Introducing you to the Board Members of the 2020-2021 Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors.

John O’Neill, FOHBC President, is a California native, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been a past president of the San Jose Antique Bottle Collectors Association and a prior officer of the Peninsula Bottle Collectors. John has had a strong interest in bottle collecting since age ten and is currently collecting San Francisco saloon material including pumpkinseed flasks, coffin flasks, and memorabilia, all pre-prohibition. He wrote his first book on California pottery and stoneware and was a presenter on the subject at the 2016 Sacramento National Convention & Expo. He has been married to his wife Cheri for the past 37 years and has two grown children. John is the managing director for the San Francisco office of Risk Strategies Company, a Boston based Insurance Brokerage.
Jeff Wichmann, FOHBC First Vice President, is a California native who has parlayed his vast knowledge of antique bottles and glass into a full time-related business called American Bottle Auctions. His was the first auction house to provide full-color glossy catalogs sent to interested collectors at no charge. He also launched what is believed to be the first online antique bottle auction. In 2013, Jeff was inducted onto the FOHBC Honor Roll, but given his increase in antique bottle collecting-related activities, including financial support of the Federation, the board of directors voted to move him up to the organization’s highest Hall of Fame honor level. Photography of old glass is one of his strong points. He also shares his knowledge on his website In 1999, he published The Best of the West – Antique Western Bitters Bottles, a book containing information of value to collectors of that genre.
Michael Seeliger, FOHBC Second Vice President, Michael Seeliger grew up in Monona, Wisconsin, and still lives within 20 miles of his hometown. He married his wife Alice in 1969 and together they have collected bottles since the 1960s. They started by collecting ruby red Schlitz beer bottles but soon got hooked on older bottles, especially Warner’s when Mike came across a dump containing only Warner bottles in it. Mike and Alice wrote the book H. H. Warner His Company & His Bottles in 1974 and work on a continuously updated e-book expanding the original publication. Mike is a professional chemist and chemical/hazardous materials consultant. Although semi-retired, they attend numerous shows traveling in their RV whenever possible. They were instrumental in the founding and development of the South Central Wisconsin Bottle Club in the 1970s and have been members of the Federation since then. They have two sons and five grandkids. Mike collects examples of historical bottles, medicines, figural bitters, Warner bottles, and works passionately with Mike and Kathie Craig in the development of their Warner & Dr. Craig collections.
Val Berry, FOHBC Secretary, grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, moving to upstate New York in her teens. She recently retired from working in the medical/home care field as a secretary for 31 years. Val is involved with several organizations in her hometown of Ephratah, New York, and gives many hours of volunteer work. She met her husband, Jim, in high school and they have been married for 45 years. They have five children, twelve grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Together they travel throughout the country visiting family and attending bottle shows. Their collections include inks, historical flasks, mineral waters, and local history.
Jim Berry Jim Berry, FOHBC Treasurer, was born and raised in Ephratah, a small town in upstate New York. He had served as Highway Superintendent in the Town of Ephratah for the past 28 years and has been happily retired from that position for almost three years. Jim is a collector of colored inks, historical flasks, mineral waters, and local history. Jim and his wife, Valeri, enjoy traveling, especially to visit family and also attend bottle shows across the country. Jim spends a lot of time hunting, fishing, making maple syrup, and honey. He has been married to Val for 45 years; they have five children (three are in the U.S. Air Force); twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
JimBenderMug Jim Bender, FOHBC Historian, has collected bottles for over 40 years and was mentored by the late Ed Bartos who was a bottle dealer and collector in the 1970s. They remained friends until his death. Collecting to Jim has always been about the friends it has brought him. Jim has collected inks, bitters, mineral waters, reproduction bottles, and up to a few years ago, Union Clasping Hands flasks of which he has put together one of the nicest groups ever. Jim then went back to basic collecting of anything he likes and has always enjoyed collecting that way the best. Jim has served as Mohawk Valley Club President, Northeast Director for the FOHBC, and recently served as Membership Director for FOHBC. He was also co-chair of the FOHBC 2017 Springfield National Antique Bottle Convention & Expo.
Martin Van Zant Martin Van Zant, FOHBC Bottles and Extras Editor, has been collecting bottles since he was 17 when his stepfather took him on a dig. Martin collects historical Masonic flasks, Indiana blob beers, Indiana pontiled medicines, Indiana bitters, Indiana sodas, and also lightning rod balls on the side. Martin is the editor for two bottles clubs, Wabash Valley Antique Bottle and Pottery Club out of Terre Haute and the Circle City Antique Bottle Club out of Indianapolis. Martin states that his door is always open to talk bottles, and to take your stories, so give him a call or send him a message.
Val Berry, FOHBC Merchandise Director, grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, moving to upstate New York in her teens. She recently retired from working in the medical/home care field as a secretary for 31 years. Val is involved with several organizations in her hometown of Ephratah, New York, and gives many hours of volunteer work. She met her husband, Jim, in high school and they have been married for 45 years. They have five children, twelve grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Together they travel throughout the country visiting family and attending bottle shows. Their collections include inks, historical flasks, mineral waters, and local history.
Linda Sheppard, FOHBC Membership Director, works for Lexington Center, a home for mentally and physically challenged people as a Direct Care Coordinator. She was introduced to bottle collecting 15 years ago by Jim Bender, FOHBC Historian. Over these years, she has attended many bottle shows and attends the Bender/Sheppard table in support of Jim Bender. Linda collects small jugs and bottles from her home town of Dolgeville, New York. She is always learning something new about bottles and enjoys all the people she meets.
Vacant, FOHBC Conventions Director,
EM2_16mugX Elizabeth Meyer, FOHBC Business Manager, is a native and proud Texan living in Houston. She has a love for antiques, collectibles, and especially is passionate about her horses and enjoys spending time with her daughter and three grandchildren. Elizabeth has worked professionally at FMG Design for the past 24+ years in various positions including project management, information technology, accounting, human resources, quality control, and now Sr. Vice President. She loves working with people, traveling with family, and enjoys going to bottle shows and looking for unique small antiques and holy water bottles. She has taken on the FOHBC Business Manager position as a non-voting and compensated consultant.
Vacant, FOHBC Public Relations Director, Position open.
Ferdinand Meyer V, FOHBC Director-at-Large, has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. He is also a principal and founder of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs, and related classic figural bottles. He also operates the Peachridge Glass web site and maintains the design and brand standards for the FOHBC. Ferdinand is married to Elizabeth Requejo Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyer family is also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques, and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand recently completed his third, 2-year term as President of the FOHBC and is a director of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
Vacant, FOHBC Director-at-Large, Position open.
Richard SiriFOHBC Director-at-Large, is known for his extensive Western bottle collections having amassed one of the most complete Western bitters bottle collections, as well as extensive collections of whiskeys, Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters, and USA Hospital bottles, among other things. He is always willing to share his knowledge on his favorite subjects and that knowledge has found a public place inside many books, articles, and exhibitions about antique bottles. He has held several offices within the federation, most notably that as president in 2008. Richard co-chaired the FOHBC 2012 Reno National Antique Bottle Expo and the most recent, FOHBC 2016 Sacramento National Antique Bottle Convention & Expo. He is also a major supporter and an active member of the Northwestern Bottle Collectors Association. In 2009, Richard Siri first brought forth the concept of developing the FOHBC Virtual Museum. He now serves on the museum Board of Directors and he, along with his wife Beverley, is a major financial contributor to the museum. Richard was also inducted the FOHBC Hall of fame in 2018.
Steve Lang, FOHBC Midwest Region DirectorSteve Lang, and his wife Dawn live in Camby, Indiana. Steve grew up with a mother and father that were both collectors. His mom collected Coca-Cola items and his father collected anything automotive, machinery, or anything that caught his eye. Steve started with beer cans and baseball cards as a child. His father gave him some bottles and beer trays he had bought during the 1970s and he was hooked on advertising. Steve is currently president of the Circle City Bottle, Glass and Pottery Club in Indianapolis. He previously held the vice-president position in the club for two years. Steve collects Indiana Hutch sodas, ales, whiskeys, and other Indiana bottles that catch his interest. He also collects Hutch sodas from all over Indiana and really enjoys getting out and walking through flea markets and antique malls with his wife looking for the next bottle for his collection or an Analee doll for hers. He recently purchased some property in Kentucky and has started looking for Indiana bottles there also. The Lang’s have a daughter Emma that is currently studying creative writing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
Fred DeCarlo, FOHBC Northeast Region Director, Fred DeCarlo was born and grew up in Utica, New York. He is currently a firefighter/EMT with the City of Utica Fire Department and has been with them for 20 years. He is married to his wife of 15 years, Curry McMahon-DeCarlo and they have two children together. His bottle interest began over 20 years ago but really picked up steam in the last five years. He collects bottles from Utica, New York and, does research on them as he loves local history. He recently started a website Utica Bottle Directory dedicated to Utica bottles. He is vice president of Mohawk Valley Antique Bottle Club and also co-editor of their newsletter. He is also am an avid privy digger, dump digger and, metal detectorist. Exploring and researching are his favorite past times.
Jake Smith, FOHBC Southern Region Director, Jake Smith lives in Talladega, Alabama, and is a native of Sylacauga, Alabama. He is married to his wife, Amanda, and they have three children, Sydney, Bradlee, and Hershel. Jake has always collected something as far back as he can remember. He got into collecting bottles back in 2010 by collecting Coca Cola bottles from his state. He is trying to get one Coca Cola bottle from each plant that has a bottle. He also collects Talladega County bottles and related items and has what he calls a subcollection of Buffalo Rock and Mountain Dew Willy the Hillbilly bottles. Jake started the Lincoln Bottle Show in Lincoln, Alabama in 2016 and remains show chairman. He started the show to preserve the hobby of collecting and to help fellow collectors connect with each other for knowledge to be passed and collections to grow. Jake says, collect what you like. The great thing about bottle collecting is that there is no wrong “theme” of bottles to collect.
EricMcGuireMug_BW Eric McGuire, FOHBC Western Region Director, is a California native who has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of his life. He attended local schools and completed his formal education at San Francisco State University (MA 1973). Eric entered the field of environmental planning and retired from a 30-year career in domestic water supply in 2008. He began his bottle collecting interest in 1960, and along with digging, and otherwise acquiring bottles, Eric has always been an avid student of all aspects of glassmaking as well as a researcher of the history of the people who produced the bottles. Beginning in the mid-1960s his name can be found on many articles relating to bottles and glass. Eric’s primary interest has been focused on the geographical area of the Western U.S. He is a life member of the FOHBC, and lives in Petaluma, California, with his wife, Lisa.