Most modern glass bottles made by machine

Kovel’s Antiques and Collecting

Bottle collecting has been an important pastime since the end of the 19th century, when the first bottle seekers dug up examples in old privy pits, the town dump or a rocky seacoast area. Most sought after were historic flasks made in New England glassworks.

As flasks got more expensive, collectors searched for other bottles — bitters, inks, mineral water, pickle, snuff, whiskey, wine, canning jars and commercial perfume bottles.

The first machine-made bottles were made in 1905. By 1920, most bottles were being made by automatic machines, including modern product bottles like those for Coca-Cola and Avon. Each of these specialties attracted not only collectors but also researchers, writers and clubs.

This very light-blue canning jar with a lid is easy to identify, even though it is rare. Like most, it has a name in raised glass that is formed in the mold. It says “Gilberds Improved Jar” around a five-point star. On the bottom are the words “Patd Jan 30, 1883 / Jamestown, N.Y.” It probably was made by the Findley Ohio Bottle Co. (1888-1893) for the Gilberd’s Butter Tub Co. of Jamestown, New York. It sold at a Glass Works auction for $188.

Question: I’m trying to figure out if my china is worth anything. I have a set of dishes marked “Noritake, Bone China” above what looks like an Aladdin’s lamp and a wreath. Can you please help?

Answer: Noritake porcelain was made in Japan by Nippon Toki Kaisha after 1904, and Noritake china is still being made. The lamp-and-wreath mark was used on bone china from 1967 to 1979. Noritake pieces sell from under $5 to over $100. Some patterns are more collectible than others and sell well. Old and rare patterns usually sell for more than newer patterns. You can check or online sellers to see what pieces like yours are selling for.

Q: I have greeting cards, vintage cards and vintage postcards from all over the world. Many date back to the 1940s. They were my mother’s, and it breaks my heart to throw them away. They are all in good condition in boxes. Perhaps I could give them to a charity or try to sell them?

A: With that many cards, it would be difficult to sell them yourself. You would have to look up prices so you know what to charge, advertise the cards, pack and ship them, and set up a system to take the money. It’s easier to offer the entire collection to a dealer or an auction that sells vintage postcards and greeting cards at shows or online. The dealers will know what they can get for the cards, where to find buyers and will handle shipping and payment. Be sure to ask how much they charge for the services. They may offer to buy the entire collection outright or take just a few cards.

Q: Is a sheet of 12 stamps from Guyana picturing Babe Ruth worth anything? Each stamp has a different picture of him, and reads “Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Babe Ruth’s Birth — Feb. 6, 1985 — Baltimore, Md.” on the bottom of the sheet. I’d like to sell them.

A: Babe Ruth played baseball for the Boston Red Sox from 1914 to 1919, the New York Yankees from 1920 to 1934 and the Boston Braves in 1935. Some consider him to be the best baseball player of all time. Stamps honoring The Babe have been issued in several foreign countries and the United States. Stamp collecting is a specialized field. Stamps should be examined by a stamp dealer or an auction gallery. Price depends on rarity, condition and demand. The set you have is not rare and sells online for under $5.

Q: My sister and I lived in different cities, and we each bought several place settings of china from Easterling China and had it shipped to us. I believe it was about 1975. The process stretched for a couple of years, so the pieces were from different lots. We never used the china. Pieces are marked “Made expressly for Easterling in Bavaria, Germany.” Underneath that, it says “Ceres.” There is also a small, 3-inch-round piece that says “Ceres” with “Kora” underneath. Is Easterling still operating? What can you tell me about the china and its estimated value?

A: Easterling was a direct-sales company in business from 1944 to about 1974. Its trademark was registered in Wheaton, Illinois. The company sold sterling-silver flatware made by Gorham and marked “Easterling.” Dinnerware was made by about 1958. The Ceres and Kora patterns are decorated with the same gray-and-black wheat pattern on plain white ground, but Ceres has coupe-shape plates with no rim, and Kora pieces have a broad, flat rim. Easterling is no longer in business. Easterling Ceres dinner plates sell online for about $20, a cup and saucer for $8. A five-piece place setting sells for $35 to $45.

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The lid of this jar has an iron clamp closure, which added to its value because it, too, was identified in the glass as patented by Gilberd. It sold for $188.