September 9, 2014
The Owl Drug Collectors blog will be working on writing Volume 3 of the Owl Drug Handbook from September 8, 2014 to December 31, 2014. During this time period the blog will be suspending our weekly blog postings to assemble the various elements for Volume 3 into a book form.
Should this process be completed in a shorter period of time or take longer than projected, we will announce the results to the blog audience at that time. Many in the bottle world, educational community, and elsewhere have been asking about this 3rd volume and anticipating its completion. Once this volume is published and for the first time. the complete and accurate historical picture of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco will be available.
Thank you for your understanding and support during this time period.
The Owl Drug Collectors Blog
D. Levine, executive director
June 12, 2014
A year and a half ago, specifically January 2013, an item appeared for sale on Ebay. The item was a so-called Owl Drug Rigo item. The seller was the Clancy-kid. At that time the description of the item as quoted in the sale item was: “The story that came with these bottles is that several of these RIGO poison bottles were found in the basement of an old building in Vancouver, British Columbia. Then recently the rest of the stock from the same place was purchased by some antique dealers in B.C. Amongst the old stock that was found were several groupings of these Canadian Owl Drug Co. poison bottle labels that evidently went on the RIGO bottles, which had been previously discovered. We purchased the labels and a few of these bottles from a Seattle area antique bottle dealer, that most of us know, first the bottles when they were found, and later when the labels were found. So now, the labels have been reunited with the bottles, we put the labels back on the few bottles we received and that’s what this listing is all about”. The pictures that follow are the pictures of the item for sale in January:
The blog highlighted this item in our January 2013 posting because the information was erroneous, misleading, overpriced, and was altered for sale by the seller. The blog at that time stated that the seller was guilty of “falsification of information, a paste on label on a bottle that did not belong on that bottle and thereby distorted a RIGO bottle that he had up for sale that he claimed was a RIGO bottle. By doing so he created an international incident in the bottle communities of the US and Canada that is still reverberating as we speak today, particularly in the poison areas of both countries. This is not the first time this situation has occurred with this individual. He has a long history and pattern of misrepresentation and falsification going back many years. These examples are the latest proof of his disdain and contempt for the bottle hobby, the people in it, and the future of the hobby itself. This most recent example of the Owl Drug cobalt bottle continues to show how this seller refuses to learn from past errors and has no desire to learn or change his ways. Therefore, we will continue to watch his actions, monitor his actions, and make sure that materials are turned over to the proper authorities”.
Now in June 2014, this item #371048264144 appears on Ebay with the same description, price, and with the same claims as before when it appeared on Ebay in January of 2013.
A small 3 3/8″ tall beautiful deep COBALT BLUE colored antique POISON BOTTLE put up by the Canadian Owl Drug Co. This is a very early hand Blown Into Mold bottle (BIM) with a tooled top, dating it back 100 years old or more.
- Bottle embossed: “1 OZ. / POISON / NOT TO BE TAKEN / USAGE EXTERNE / USE WITH CAUTION“. Base of this bottle is embossed, “RIGO“.
- Condition: Bottle is in PRISTINE SPARKLING CLEAN condition, NO cracks, chips, dings, damage, etc..
- Age: A hand-blown bottle (Blown-In-Mold = BIM) with a tooled-top, ca. early 1900’s.
- Shipping: All DOMESTIC shipping charges INCLUDE insurance. We have enjoyed shipping our items all over the world and are happy to offer most of our items to international buyers. Yet insuring International parcels is very expensive so PLEASE NOTE; we do NOT insure International orders unless winning buyer specifically requests this and we are able to provide an insurance quote. We do not falsify information on the Customs Form, such as a price other than what the actual purchase price is, so please do not request us to do so. We ship several times a week and send payment acknowledgments and shipping confirmations. Your prompt payment will assure a very quick turn-around time. IMPORTANT NOTE: If our shipping charge is much more than the actual shipping cost, we will refund the excess so what YOU pay for shipping/insurance is very close to, if not exactly, the ACTUAL shipping costs! This is especially important for foreign buyers to know as most of our foreign shipping charges are rough estimates.
The story that came with these bottles is that several of these RIGO poison bottles were found in the basement of an old building in Vancouver, British Columbia. Then recently the rest of the stock from the same place was purchased by some antique dealers in B.C. Amongst the old stock that was found were several groupings of these Canadian Owl Drug Co. poison bottle labels that evidently went on the RIGO bottles, which had been previously discovered. (For verification, please do search for eBay item # 310913361513 and read that seller’s explanation). We purchased the labels and a few of these bottles from a Seattle area antique bottle dealer, that most of us know, first the bottles when they were found, and later when the labels were found. So now, the labels have been reunited with the bottles, we put the labels back on the few bottles we received and that’s what this listing is all about. This bottle is listed as # KI-7 in the Poison Bottle Workshop book, the book on antique poison bottles. Antique poison bottles are quite collectible as they were most always made in odd shapes or forms, unusual colors, and had fancy or extraordinary embossing patterns on them. Though originally these were all things to let a user know, by sight and feel, that the bottle’s contents were something not to be consumed, these things now are what makes poison bottles such a collectible category of antique bottle collecting, check it out!
Terms of Sale: Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction. We put our 30+ years of experience in antiques to use in describing every item we list. Items are sold in a store front format and your purchase is a binding contract, so please don’t be hasty when looking over the listing. We find that communication is the key to successful transactions so PLEASE completely read the item description AND ask questions before purchasing, thank you!
Please note the pictures of January 2013 and those shown in Ebay item # 371048264144 of June 2014 are identical. Again he deliberately puts this item up for resale, knowing what he did in January of 2013 and now what he has done in June 2014 is identical. Again he deliberately misrepresents this item in June of 2014 as he did in January 2013 for profit. What gives the Clancy-kid the right to paste a label on a bottle? What procedure in bottle collecting makes it ok for anyone to take a label and paste it on a bottle then misrepresent it for profit? That is a criminal act knowing you are acting in such a manner. It is no different than altering a bottle and misrepresenting it for profit.
As a result of this individual’s past history, his deliberate misrepresentation of the items he sells, and his failure to educate himself properly, especially when pointed out, the blog strongly suggests that all buyers refrain from dealing with this seller and appropriate steps be taken.
DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.
May 15, 2014
Due to the very heavy volume of mail the blog received from around the world on last week’s posting, the Owl Drug collectors blog has decided to leave this blog posting on for another week. By doing so, additional readers will have the opportunity to read it, understand its important message especially as it applies to the present hobby. We would love to hear what the readers think about it, give us feedback, and any general overall comments that you may have.
We wish to single out our Australian readers who took the time to read this posting this past week and other posting related to “altered” bottles. This posting discusses this important subject matter and how it affects the bottle hobby now and into the future.
To my new reader in the Detroit bottle club, we suggest you keep reading the blog postings and other related subjects relating to the bottle hobby, its leaders, activities, and other important issues of the day. By doing so, hopefully you will get a better understanding of collecting, become a wiser bottle person, help others and stay informed about the bottle hobby in 2014 and beyond. Although you may have been a collector for 35 years, there is much more you can learn and clear up misunderstandings and concepts you already have. Obviously the bottle hobby has changed drastically since you began collecting.
The blog leaves you with this term/concept: MINING FOR BOTTLES. Please let us know what you think it means, where does it apply and why is it important. Those who understand this concept are far ahead of the game while those who don’t lag far behind. This concept is a MUST for collecting in 2014 and beyond.
We leave you with 2 pictures: 1 is before and 1 is after. What do they represent? Comments are welcome.
DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.
May 8, 2014
In response to an email the blog received regarding “altered bottles” and elitists mentality as well as to all of you who collect, buy and/or sell antique bottles no matter what category of glass it may be, the blog refers you to the blog posting Conservation of Glass Versus “Professionally Altered Bottle” of 28 August 2013. This posting discusses in detail conversation of glass and altered glass bottles. It contains written testimonies from the Smithsonian Institution and the Corning Museum of Glass. Read the entire posting.
“Antique bottles must be conserved not altered. The role of a conservator involves the examination, conservation and preservation of cultural heritage using “any methods that prove effective in keeping that property in as close to its original condition as possible for as long as possible. A primary ethical guideline applied by conservator is MINIMAL INTERVENTION of the glass. The key words here are keeping the item in its original condition with minimal intervention.
Major institutions such as the Smithsonian Institute and the Corning Museum of Glass concur that glass including glass bottles must be conserved in their original condition and not tumbled or polished and that no original material be removed from objects.
As the posting states “altered glass bottles” have been changed from their original condition with more than minimal intervention having parts of the glass removed. So to those of you who possess such items, your glass bottles have no antique and historical authenticity as well as possess little or no monetary value. Those who have been misled, misinformed, and/or failed to be educated in the past about altered glass, can no longer claim ignorance. Claiming ignorance of what altered bottles means and does to the bottle hobby and world is no longer valid and fails to absolve you from blame. This is true no matter if you are a leader in an organization or a member of an organization that allows the continuation of altered bottles. This applies to the FOHBC and its leadership, all bottle clubs, specialty glass groups and associations, auction houses, on-line buyers and sellers on such venues as Ebay, catalogue auctions, and to all who provide altering services and sell altering equipment.
The blog welcomes readers and their comments, however we follow several policies regarding their rights to express themselves. This blog has a worldwide audience spanning all ages, sexes, nationalities, and ethnicities. We will not publish any comment or comments with language that is unfit for everyone to read. Comments regarding subject matter contained in the blog postings are most welcome whether we agree with those comments or disagree with those comments. However, personal attacks on the staff or the director of this blog are not acceptable and will not be published. Personal attacks add nothing to the discussion and do not inform or educate. They merely take up valuable space needed to address issues, concerns, or to educate and/or inform our readers.
This week I had a good conversation with Mike Brodzik, president of the Metropolitan Detroit Antique Bottle Club. We discussed numerous issues including the bottle hobby and its future, membership in bottle organizations and “altered bottles”. Mike told me that he recently had a seminar or a series of seminars during a club meeting discussing with their members the pros and cons of “altered bottles”. They discussed what altered bottles means; how to identify them; how they impact on collecting, buying and selling; identifying the many individuals and companies that provide this service; and how destructive this process has been on the entire bottle community.
To all bottle clubs and organizations, the blog suggests that they should follow Mike’s lead and hold seminars for their members who collect, buy and sell to inform and educate them on “altered bottles” and the destructive nature of this process. These seminars need to examine the short and long-term effects of “altering bottles on the entire bottle hobby. Apparently too many today fail to understand the difference between CONSERVATION and ALTERING, when it applies, why it applies, how to distinguish between the two processes, and most importantly when to use the correct one. The blog posting referenced throughout this posting is an excellent starting point for such seminars.
The following three pictures of an Owl Drug Co. coffee jar are in stages of what? What do these pictures mean and what do they depict? Your comments are encouraged and welcome.
DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.
May 1, 2014
Last week we were discussing issues related to auctions, in particular the auction of so-called Wyatt Earp-related items and Owl Drug items. This week we will continue to focus on these issues but will discuss other subjects related to these issues, in particular, the reputation of an auction service, the validity and authenticity of the items up for auction, and the method by which these items are introduced to the public before, at, and after the sale.
It became quite apparent the so-called Wyatt Earp-related sale had major gaps. The auction house failed to establish the validity of the seller’s claims about the items, the items themselves, as well as the failure of the auction house to investigate and properly identify those items they put up for sale. In this instance their reputation and credibility as an auction house must be questioned as conducting a proper sale.
Many auction houses, like those in the bottle world, quite often fail to complete any research and investigation to verify the authenticity of the item, condition of the item, and the seller of the item. A great deal of the items put up for auction are put in a sale without proper time and effort to make sure the item is what the seller claims it to be. The real issue is can the item be sold and for how much. The authenticity and validity of the items is often pushed aside and nothing is done about its verification or its condition. Profit is the driving motive. A prime example of all bottle sales is the sale of “Altered bottles” without ever notifying anyone of its true condition or the extent of the alteration.
In a conversation with a member of the FOHBC leadership during the past several weeks, the blog found out that this individual never understood the concept of “altered bottles”, what they are, how they impact on the hobby, and how to identify them. Having had this conversation, it became apparent that there are many others in the FOHBC leadership who fall into this same category as this fellow and includes all areas within the bottle world (bottle clubs, auctions houses, Ebay, and any other venue where bottles are bought or sold). They all lack the understanding, background, and experience of “altered bottles”. They would not know how to identify one if they saw one if it was present at an auction, a bottle show, on a table, or even on Ebay. That is why the hobby has such a proliferation of these altered bottles and nothing is done about it.
This proliferation has filtered down throughout the hobby and throughout all bottle categories. The end result is the contamination of many of the collections because they contain the altered bottles and possess few if any documents to provide a direct linkage to the manufacturer or retail source. The collections therefore are valueless.
The latest example is the auction of the so-called Wyatt Earp-related memorabilia as spotlighted last week by the blog.
This week the blog wants to highlight an Owl Drug cobalt bottle that was put up for sale on Ebay, item #3213856228. The seller identified this 6 ½ inch bottle as a pill bottle with some air bubbles no chips cracks or bruises does have some staining. The item sold for $156.46 was definitely overpriced and more than likely sold to a dealer. This item is the common reality going on today in the bottle world. Let me walk you through this item and why I chose it. This item was misidentified – it is not a pill bottle, its proper identification is that it is a one wing salt bottle in cobalt blue and was produced during the early period of the Owl Drug Company. The glass manufacturer was Whitehall Tatum as indicated on the bottom of the bottle. This is the proper identification of the bottle. This bottle is currently an undocumented bottle with no direct linkage to the Owl Drug Company. The condition of the bottle is defined on a 1-5 scale. One is the poorest on the scale and 5 being the highest. The condition of this bottle based on the pictures depicted on Ebay falls into the 1-2 scale category. In all probability, since this bottle does not have any cracks or bruises, the bottle will be sent off to a bottle cleaner and be altered into a pristine condition. Once done, the probable dealer who bought this bottle will then put it up for sale again, starting the sale at $300.00+ thereby making a sizable profit stating the bottle is pristine and never identifying the bottle as having been “altered”. This is the current life cycle of bottles today. The second owner of this bottle will put it into his collection thinking it is a pristine bottle that will add to his collection. This buyer will never be told that his new purchase is that of an “altered bottle” with little or no value.
This bottle then becomes part of the contaminated bottles and forever is on the pile of “altered”, undocumented, and valueless bottles. The pile of these valueless bottles keeps getting larger and larger with no one in the bottle community raising their voices to condemn this practice except this blog. Is this deception? Is this fraud? What is it? Who is to stop it? Your silence only adds to the problem! Love to hear what you have to say!
March 27, 2014
In the past the blog has shared discussions and examples of leadership, vision, empowerment, goals, ethics, and business practices, both good and bad. This week the blog is sharing an example of what one company has recently done to move into current day and into the future. This company is Berretta. Beretta is a family owned business that has been in business manufacturing rifles for the sportsmen and hand guns for military services, the police, and the general public for over 500 years. Beretta is a supporter of the 2nd amendment of the US Constitution, permitting an individual to own and have guns and is an advocate for sportsmen, hunters, and the environment. They participate in supporting these activities as well as donating to such causes not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world. For the past 37 years their manufacturing plant has been located in the state of Maryland providing employment for 300 plus individuals with a payroll in the millions.
The following is the article that appeared announcing their decision to move Beretta from the state of Maryland to the state of Tennessee.
“Renowned firearm manufacturer Beretta has operated out the same town in northern Italy for almost 500 years, so it is safe to say that the firm does not put down roots lightly. Still, the anti-Second Amendment policies of Maryland’s government and the state’s business climate have forced Beretta to look elsewhere as it expands its 37-year U.S. operation, currently based in Accokeek, Md. This bust for Maryland is a boon for the city of Gallatin, Tennessee. After an exhaustive search for a new home, and a personal visit from company patriarch Ugo Gessalli Beretta, Gallatin prevailed and will be the site for a $45 million, state-of-the-art facility, as well as the 300 jobs associated with the expansion. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
“In return for our investment in jobs, facilities and assistance to the local economy, we ask for respect and supportive business climate. We deserve such respect. We make the standard sidearm for the US armed forces. We also make firearms arms police and consumers use to save their lives and the lives of others,” said Beretta, speaking on his company’s decision.
The president and CEO continued by explaining that in addition to business-friendly government, the company chose Tennessee because “ the vast majority of the residents and their elected officials have shown that they respect and hone the American tradition of personal freedom, including the right to bear arms”. You can find more information on beretta.com.
This is but another example and a courageous stand by a company in response to a state or organization that fails to meet the current and future needs of a company or an individual. Individuals, like companies, need to review how well the state or organization meets the individual’s goals and direction. When those goals and direction are not met or no longer compatible, the individual, group, or company should inform the state or organization that they fail to meet those goals and/or direction. If the organization or state ignores that information, then their association must change.
The same analogy applies to the FOHBC, many of the bottle clubs, and the bottle show recently held in Baltimore. Where do these organizations meet the needs, goals, and direction of the bottle community and the bottle world? They do not. They live in the past, function in the past, and are led by collectors living in the past. The future is in the young and in technology. Showing one’ grandchildren your collection, as Ferdinand did most recently, is not a dedicated program for the young to bring them into the world of bottle collecting. Where is the FOHBC’s youth program, leadership, or organization? Non-existent. Look at the pictures of the FOHBC leadership at their most recent board meeting where they supposedly discussed only 60% of the business at hand. The pictures show old white men and one white woman. Where is the ethnic diversity and youth? No new thoughts, no new ideas, and no new programs. Just the same TIRED OLD things!!!!!!
Six months ago, the Clancy Kid disappeared from EBay and his Owl Drug sales. Well, folks he is back again! With his return to selling he has not changed his repertoire. He continues to misrepresent the items he sells, writing descriptions that are inaccurate, false, or made up. His knowledge of the Owl Drug Company and its products has not improved. He still has little or no knowledge about its history, leadership, or products and apparently could care less about learning. He uses the same tired old explanations thinking these explanations will work and sell as they have in the past. Now others know about him, understand his game, and do not buy into it. The bottle he currently has on sale is too shiny, therefore more than likely it has been altered. Despite that fact, the Clancy Kid fails to make mention of its alteration. He also does not have any documentation to validate this item and authenticate its history or monetary value. He obviously falls into the model #1 category we described in last week’s blog.
Unfortunately during his absence, others apparently took up his gauntlet and followed in his footsteps. If a seller declares an item to be RARE then he or she better be able to verify its rarity in the description. The item shown on EBay is not rare but common! If someone generally uses rare in the description, especially in the Owl Drug area, it needs to be documented. If it is not, then RUN FROM IT. There is much in the Owl Drug area that is undocumented and cannot be linked to the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco, thereby making the item questionable and at a lower value. Know that fact, it is imperative when buying or selling Owl Drug. One needs to know what is documented or undocumented when buying or selling in order to get it right. We at the Owl Drug Collectors blog are working that issue and are the only one doing so.
Now the Clancy Kid can feel he is a part of a group of others who now act like he does. Those Owl Drug items being sold on EBay are overpriced, inaccurately and/or poorly described, and undocumented. The sellers like the Clancy Kid are uniformed, manipulative, or simply do not care, except to get the money. They make fine examples for the bottle community and the bottle world not just for now but for the future.
March 20, 2014
Last week the blog cited examples about items on sale on Ebay and the individuals who were selling the items. The first example highlighted an Owl cardboard box of Licorice Powder. The item was first listed at $100.00 and stated that the items was Rare?. The blog stated that such an item is NOT RARE and that the price was unrealistic and over priced. When the item did not originally sell at $100.00, the seller relisted it at the same price. With no bidders at that price, the seller then reduced the item to $60.00 but never changed the description. The blog must assume that the reason that the price was changed was because the blog highlight this item in our posting.
It is obvious that this seller has no understanding of Owl Drug items. His concern is solely to make money, no matter what he sells. He does not do his research about the items such as their rarity, their value, or how they fit into the Owl Drug product scenario. His actions definitely support the blog’s statements made in last week’s blog. Unfortunately he is not alone. Many fall into this same category including the current leadership no matter what items they are selling. They dominate the hobby today. To them the bottle hobby is just a means to make money, not to enhance or support the hobby itself.
This situation is not any different than what would occur at a bottle show. The seller would, in many cases, visit other dealers at the show and ask them what price the person should put on his item. The other dealers, also not knowing the true value or price, would suggest a price. The seller would then return to his table, put the suggested price on the item, not even knowing its true condition, rarity or current market value. The price seemed good since it would make him a profit over what he paid for the item. Often times these types of sellers, knowing very little about the item being sold, would create some story to tell a potential buyer so that he can sell the item. It doesn’t matter if the story is true or not, it simply meets the need and/or moment for him to sell the item. This is his only concern and objective. Ebay and bottle shows reflect this nonsense all the time. Unfortunately, this is the dominant overriding reality of much of the bottle hobby today.
When this individual first listed this item with incorrect information at an unrealistic and high price, one could excuse his errors because of his lack of knowledge about the item and the company that originally sold it, namely the Owl Drug Co. When he relisted it again at the same price, then lowered the price but failed to change the inaccurate information about it, it puts him into a different category.
The other example cited in last week’s blog was about Dan, the “old time collector”. Technology, changes in collecting, and methods and places to find new sources have drastically changed the bottle hobby today. It is not the same as it used to be. Unfortunately, collectors like Dan have allowed the bottle world and the hobby to pass them by. He may not understand those changes, has not updated his collecting skills to meet these changes and has no one to help him along this new path. The leadership at all levels could care less about Dan and others like him. They have failed their brother and sister collectors in upgrading their skills and methods to meet and accept these new challenges. All they have done is to cut corners, misinform, fail to educate, and fail to provide programs that would meet these challenges. These “old times” are currently left out in the cold.
Ebay and bottle shows currently are apparently all about the money. It seems to be how much one can get without being honest with the public. People used to come to shows not only looking for additions to their collections but also to get relevant information about such things as which local area bottle shows to attend, what auction one should attend, or other information related to the bottle hobby. Today the bottle show tends to be more about what bottles services are available and what equipment can be purchased. An individual seeking such information must now access the computer, know the right people or other methods. To those of you who do not know how to access these sources, you tend to be out of the loop.
A shining example is our fellow hobbyists to the North. They have learned to integrate these changes and continually upgrade their educational level to meet these changes for their bottle hobby. They have strongly supported the blog and the message that we present weekly. They read the relevant topics dealing with education, research, altered bottles, and technology. They constantly ask questions of the blog on these subjects and many others. They are looking for information that will be helpful and make them better collectors. We salute them, their effort to become better collectors in 2014 and beyond.
March 13, 2014
This blog posting concentrates on several examples of Owl Drug items for sale on Ebay. The discussion will center on showing the items and an explanation of each. Understanding the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco, its history, products it produced and/or sold, and how the company functioned is important. There are many in the blog audience who do not collect Owl Drug and therefore may have some difficulty in understanding the explanations to these examples. There are also many collectors, buyers and/or sellers of Owl Drug who also have little or no understanding or concern about the company, its products, its marketing conditions, and other related factors.
The first example is that of a Compound Licorice Powder. This item appeared last week on Ebay, item number 4006740262. The seller claimed the item was rare (?) and had a starting price of $100.00. His description states**The Owl Drug Company opened it’s first store in 1892. Rexall bought the company in 1920. ** The only part of the seller’s description that is accurate is that the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco began operation in 1892. His description, price, and history of Owl Drug are false and misleading. He has no clue or documentation about the Owl Drug, the tin item, its proper pricing, or when it was produced for the Owl Drug Co. This tin is not rare and certainly not worth $100.00. That price is fabrication to suit his sale. It is only exploitation and a lack of evidence to support an opening bid of $100.00. Where is the precedence from current auction sales or other sales of the same item at a comparable price?
In this seller’s title, he states “The Owl Drug Co- Empty- Rare? The seller lacks an understanding of the term “rare” and what it really means and when it applies. People throw this term around in the bottle world loosely and all the time. The term has lost all of its meaning and value due to individuals and others misusing the term, and failing to have proper documentation to support the claim, like him. Now to the point, no one in the bottle world, who is a serious collector gives the term any real value anymore.
These cartons were one of fifty such cartons produced for the Owl Drug Company during their early years of operation. The tins contained various types of natural and herbal items one could mix at home or at one’s business to make teas, ointments, and other home remedies. They were the forerunner of what today we called natural or organic products.
The second of these examples also appeared on Ebay, item numbers 221386121545 and 221386112316. They are examples of two milk glass jar bottoms, one white and one blue. The condition of the bottoms is questionable, with some nicks. There are no lids thereby making these items incomplete, less desirable, and less valuable. An individual viewing these items asked the seller the following question: “Is there a bottom to this item or just what appears to be lid?” The seller answered this question in the following manner: “This is the bottom. I have never seen a lid for these in the 40+ years I have been collecting!!!! Regards, Dan”.
To Dan and everyone else these items were originally sold in 2 pieces: a bottom and a lid. Finding both is very difficult but has been done and is available. They do exist! This collector has them in my collection. The fact that Dan has never seen them in 40+ years cannot be used as an answer. In over 40 years has not the world changed? Of course it has. We have all types of technology like computers, cell phones, etc. People like Dan who have collected for many years can be defined as “old time collectors”. The collecting world has also changed, but many of the “old time collectors” have not upgraded or changed their collecting habits. They have failed to meet these changes both in the real world and in the bottle world.
Why is the bottle community under its current leadership suffering? The answer is due to the failure of the leadership on all levels, their lack of vision, and their absence of educational updating, and research tools. These individuals and organizations in the bottle world have failed to keep abreast with the technological developments and changes as they have occurred in the real world on a daily basis. The world changes everyday. The collecting world is no different. Those who understand and apply those changes will be successful. Those who fail to become better prepared will disappear like others before them. The Owl Drug Collectors blog stands in the forefront of these changes and has created a structure that continually incorporates change into our operations as we move forward in 2014 and beyond. People who read our blog recognize and acknowledge these accomplishments.
March 6, 2014
Well the Baltimore Bottle show has come and gone. As in the past the FOHBC have shared glowing reports about the show in their newsletter and presidential messages. This year the blog received numerous emails about the show. Several observers from our blog staff also attended. Having failed to heed our suggestions to pass on the show, the individuals went to the show to see for themselves whether the blog was right and attempt to add to their collections. The emails that we received shared their thoughts about the show. What their emails revealed was that the blog’s message about the show was true. They were very disappointed and stated that the show had little to offer the collector and others for the time and money they had to put out to attend.
We were told that there was little or nothing representing the western or southern collectors. Instead approximately one-quarter of the vendors or table setups were devoted to non-bottle interests. They were exemplified by the sale of bottle cleaning equipment and machinery, auction services, books and magazines, and a great number of individuals offering bottle cleaning, tumbling and polishing services. It is fair to say that the Baltimore Bottle Show has little or nothing to provide the bottle collector. It has become a dumping ground. The services provided here are not what bottle enthusiasts want in a true bottle show. Those services would be best offered at other venues such as flea markets, outdoor shows, or elsewhere.
Those bottles and other related items were of questionable quality, over priced, and generally low-end items that people wanted to get rid of. There were few bitters, whiskeys and other items that people or dealers are looking for to add to their collections. The representation of items one could buy or sell or trade was poor. What is even sadder is that this show is a Baltimore show and there were very few Baltimore bottles or items present from the Baltimore area. Baltimore has a rich history of collectibles and bottles. PBS has an excellent collectible show entitled “Chesapeake Collectibles”. Many of the items presented at show are from Baltimore or related to Baltimore displaying Baltimore’s rich history. It is fair to say that the Baltimore Bottle Show once again misses its mark entirely. To the leadership and members of the Baltimore club, take a lesson from PBS!
Let us turn to another subject — DIRECT LINKAGE AS IT RELATES TO OWL DRUG. The blog has written about this subject for the past month – direct linkage, owl drug, empowerment, research, etc. Apparently these subjects are falling on deaf ears. The only thing the collecting community is interested in is MONEY. Once the blog mentioned on a recent posting that the Owl Drug area is stronger than ever and its value continually growing, those selling and buying OWL DRUG have increased and receiving higher prices. All they want to do is exploit and manipulate. They are not concerned about the category or the hobby, just exploitation. As a result of what they are doing, they have destroyed many of the bottle categories and are trying to do the same to the Owl Drug category. A perfect example of what exploitation and manipulation has done to the hobby and bottle shows is the Baltimore Bottle Show. If it was ever a good show, it certainly isn’t anymore. If it had quality bottles, it certainly doesn’t anymore. It is a failure!
From the blog posting of February 20, 2012:
“Direct linkage related to tracing an Owl Drug item back to The Owl Drug Company of San Francisco through paperwork or some type of document. Examples of documents that directly traces the item back to the company is a buyers’ receipt, a letter from the company itself or a production sheet showing that the Owl Drug company produced the item or bought it from another manufacturer to sell in one of their retail stores. An “undocumented item” is, for example a BLUE COBALT ONE-WING/TWO WING POISON bottle. The item, to date, cannot be linked directly to the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco either by production runs, orders registered by the company, or individual customer receipt by the company for the blue cobalt poison from their retail store. In as much as direct linkage cannot be established or verified, the blue cobalt poisons must be defined as “undocumented” items. Values of undocumented items are considered therefore less than those documented items, even though many collecting Owl find them more popular to collect”.
Since this posting appeared over a year ago, nothing has changed, except increases in prices or manipulated prices for THE BLUE COBALT POISONS within the bottle community. Obviously, the bottle community missed the mark and continues to do so. Apparently they do not care. It is what I can get, how much I can get, and how fast I can get it. This is the driving engine that drives the hobby today.
Those of you who continue to buy these poisons and pay higher and higher prices with no direct linkage or proper documentation, that is in fact non-existent at the present, you are only being manipulated and exploited. GOOD LUCK!
February 20, 2014
Empowerment, Documentation, and Research are the tools essential to any and all that collect, buy or sell collectibles. Whether one goes to a flea market, bottle show, an auction, or simply buys from an individual or sells to an individual, these tools allow the collector to be successful in 2014 and beyond. No matter whether you, as a collector, are an old-time collector or new to collecting, it is imperative to use these tools. In the last blog posting, the blog cited examples of individuals who fail to use these tools and perhaps lack the skills to incorporate them in their collecting. Instead of recognizing their mistakes, they become angry when the blog points out their mistakes or failures. It is quite clear that the willingness to do the right thing for the bottle community, lead successfully, and develop programs to help others, will never occur while these individuals continue in power. The only result will be the continued decline and demise of the bottle hobby.
Since the blog posting entitled “Message to Ferdinand” and the lack of his response, the blog has received a deluge of emails questioning why no one from the FOHBC or Ferdinand has responded. These emails have stated that the leadership and leadership team demonstrate their disdain not only for the US bottle community but also the worldwide bottle community. They provided a clear picture of what their real purpose is and their lack of organizational goals and the attaining of any goals. It is apparent that the satisfaction of their self-interests is the primary reason for their participation in the bottle community.
Since January of 2014, our blog readership has shown a 10 to 15% increase, reaching the US and Canada, Western Europe, but also Latin America, Africa, the Far East, and Eastern Europe. Our readership has indicated their displeasure with how the FOHBC leadership, many of the bottle clubs that align with the FOHBC leadership, and those so-called “professional bottle cleaners” have tainted the bottle hobby. It is for these reasons that the blog has made the decision to move in other directions, plan our goals to meet the challenges of 2014 and beyond, as well as creating new structures to meet these challenges. We are excited with our current progress, new departments, and new discoveries. As in the past, we will share those discoveries with the blog audience and keep them abreast of any other new discoveries as they occur. One of the newest discoveries is the association of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco and the Sun Drug Company. Owl Drug is the hottest bottle category in the bottle hobby today. Since the blog has come on the scene, more and more people have asked about Owl Drug, its history, its leadership, and its products. The prices associated with Owl Drug have remained strong even with the economic downturn of the US economy.
On Sunday March 2, 2014, the Baltimore bottle club will host its annual bottle show and sale. The show, lasting only one day, will be held from 8:00AM to 3:00 PM. The show chairman is Rick Lease. Mr. Lease, a “professional bottle cleaner, is not only the gate-keeper of the show, has a table and contracts through the show his cleaning and altering services. As a bottle cleaner, Rick uses machinery, pellets, and canisters to clean, polish, and tumble bottles thereby altering their original condition. This is how Rick makes his livelihood. He also encourages other “professional bottle cleaners” to buy tables at the show as well as selling tables to individuals and/or groups or organizations, allowing them to openly sell bottle cleaning and altering equipment, such as the Jar Doctor and others. Many of the other bottles shows throughout the nation, that are not aligned with the FOHBC and other clubs, discourage and do not allow the presence of bottle altering and cleaning equipment and services at their shows. According to the show flyer, there will be free bottle appraisals. With such a statement, the questions arise: who is doing the appraisals; what categories of bottles are being appraised; does the person doing the appraisals do so with what credentials; and does he provide certification of those appraisals? Or is it some verbal nonsense, not worthy of any serious considerations? More than likely.
Can we ever forget the famous Dave Maryo incident and report of the Baltimore bottle show of 2013? The president of the LA bottle club and west coast representative of the FOHBC, Dave made an appearance at the Baltimore show. Why was someone from the west coast present at an east coast show? Why was a FOHBC representative from the east coast not representing the FOHBC at the show instead of Dave? His report appeared on the FOHBC website and in their magazine. Obviously Dave was under the direction of the present FOHBC president. Who paid for the trip?
A closer look at the leadership of the Baltimore bottle club brings to mind the infamous incident involving Nick Queen, a friend, and a minister last year. Nick and his two comrades were arrested and arraigned in a Maryland court for trespassing and digging on state property without proper permits. They were freed from jail time with a warning not to trespass again. Nick shared this “adventure” by writing an article about it in the club’s monthly newsletter where the blog saw it and picked up on it. He joked about the incident. This incident was brought to the attention of the former president of the FOHBC and the blog asked him to look into the incident. He looked upon the incident, as “boys will be boys, no big thing”. Instead the entire situation was swept under the carpet and nothing came of it. In fact the Baltimore bottle club has continued to keep Nick as president and he continues to be president today.
The Baltimore bottle club asks you the collector, the buyer or seller, and the public to support their annual show. We, at the blog, ask this simple question: does the Baltimore show, given the last 3 years under their current leadership, deserve your attendance and provide the type of show one would want to attend. The answer is a resounding NO! Collecting requires that the people involved in these shows have the kind of reputation that is ethical, trustworthy, reliable, and honorable. The failure of any vendor to honestly represent the items he or she is selling automatically dismisses them from an ethical reputation. By the nature of what has occurred and continues to occur at the Baltimore bottle show, one would only find a negative environment present there and attending is just a waste of time and money for anyone serious about the bottle hobby.