This week the blog returns to the past and wants to share a little history with our audience. Until 1968, a small selected group within the bottle world collected Owl Drug. The Owl Drug Company, its products, and the little known history of the company was primarily communicated by word of mouth. As we all know today, this was truly a poor method of communications, but unfortunately the only one available or used at that time. As everyone knows that method is a poor excuse for known facts and research. Even today a lot of information is still shared in the same way without verifying the truth about the information, as exemplified by last week’s example, the $6000.00 item.

In 1968, Al Jensen put out a pamphlet called “Old Owl Drug Bottles & Others”. To be exact only a small portion of the pamphlet was devoted to Owl Drug. The pamphlet was incomplete and inaccurate. It lacked information about the history of the company, its leadership, its advertising techniques, product development, and a host of societal and cultural achievements made during the company’s existence, and the reasons for the company’s disappearance. In short the pamphlet was a cursory view of Owl Drug based on an incomplete collection owned by an individual. Never the less, Jensen’s pamphlet became the guide for bottle people, both Owl Drug collectors and others in the bottle world. This was a guide that led people to false, incomplete, and distorted information of Owl Drug. Despite that fact, many have and still follow that guide even though the information that was presented as been proven to be false.

In 2011 the Owl Drug Collectors blog came into existence. We immediately recognized that much information about Owl Drug was false, misleading, and inaccurate and that had been swirling in the bottle community for years. Being a collector of more than 40 years of Owl Drug, it became obvious that information about Owl Drug had to be researched and examined to correct the erroneous information that had been spread around for the last 40+ years. As the director of the Owl Drug collectors blog, I went about putting together a research team to correct this problem to look into its history, its leadership, its products, its achievements, and its disappearance to determine what was the true picture of Owl Drug. For the past five years, we have traveled to find out what the truth is. From Western and Eastern universities, state and national libraries and museums and many other sources, we were able to determine how and why the Owl Drug company came into existence, was successful, and eventually disappeared. That information has been set down in three volumes set of handbooks. The Handbook has laid out in its entirety the true history and picture of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco.

The blog has received praise from many in the bottle community and other sources for the thoroughness, outstanding format, and quality of the three-volume set of the Owl Drug Handbooks that we have produced. Many indicated that for the first time there is finally a complete and unique collection of information, written and pictorial, of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco.

The blog has received numerous requests to share information that we have obtained about the Owl Drug Company and related finds. Originally, we did so but found individuals and others abusing the information for self-interest or monetary gain. As a result of what we saw, we realized that the information we were presenting had to be controlled and monitored, the same way that universities, libraries, and institutions control their special information.

The term for such action is “Proprietary”. Scott Selenak brought that example home to the blog. We were informed that pictures that he had taken could not be used without his permission and he refused to give that permission. We were told that his pictures were proprietary and threatened to sue if used. As a result of this incident, the Owl Drug Collectors blog and any information provided by the blog, written or pictorial and in the Owl Drug Handbooks cannot be used because it has been placed in a proprietary category and must receive prior permission from the executive director of the Owl Drug Collectors blog

The blog had a record year in 2014 with great discoveries, an increase in readership and support as well as the completion of Volume III of the Owl Drug Handbook. Our plans for the future include moving forward in securing funds, land, and developing a building complex to support a new concept in bottle collecting for 2015 and beyond. In discussions at the blog we see a new bottle hobby emerging that allows and encourages anyone from around the world to participate and share. It will allow all ages and ethnicities to participate in. It will be a structure that encourages teaching, learning, study, and research on subject related to bottles. It will also include an area where bottle auctions, sales, shows, and related activities can occur on a scheduled basis. It will include technologically advanced and interactive programs that people participate in. In other words it will not be what we currently see in the bottle hobby today. It will be interesting, challenging, fun, and something very different from what we have today

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.



While on a business trip, the only topic that permeated all television and radio was the story about the deflating of footballs by the New England Patriots. According to the experts footballs that are deflated do not meet the standards for professional football. Interviews followed by the coach of the patriots and Tom Brady, the quarterback. Both individuals denied having any knowledge of the incident. Tom Brady went as far as to say that he did not feel any difference in the balls, could not tell if there was any difference between a normal football and a deflated football. He continued to emphasize the importance of integrity, professionalism, and honesty in football. He noted that no one from the commissioner’s office ever tried to contact him on the incident and that he had no knowledge or evidence that the commissioner’s office was investigating this deflating incident, or if it were to occur, where it would occur, or who would be involved.

The commissioner of the NFL has, as part of his responsibilities, the policing of the league and its teams, has the right to investigate when wrong doings occur on the field and with players, hand out penalties, or turn over the commissioner’s findings for legal action if necessary. As a result the commissioner has a great deal of latitude when handling such matters. His decisions on most matters are generally final. Those decisions of the current commissioner, in the eyes of the general public, have not been consistent, fair, reasonable, or timely.   They, in fact, have been too supportive of the owners at the expense of the players and the public.

Today many are disappointed and turned off of sports, professional and otherwise. This is just another example that supports the notion that “sports” have some type of “cultural value” and not all about power and money. It is the concept of “winning at all costs” whether it is to shoot up someone to play, looking the other way, or being silent when you know or see something wrong going on.

If history is our teacher and it should be, what can we accept from a decision from the commissioner’s office? Can we expect a fair review of the facts, a rapid resolution, punishment or fines, or a gloss over allowing the parties to continue as usually? The answer was a gloss over, the commissioner announced it this week – the Super Bowl will go on as usual! Any action from the commissioner will come later, reaffirming the position that money and power are the driving force. In other words, the game, the television rights, the commercials, the half-time entertainment will go on, giving the impression that all is good once again. The show must go on to satisfy the many as not to disappoint their lives. That way the viewers can escape their so-so lives and reality for a few hours. The real outcome is not the preservation of the integrity and honesty of the game, but money and power.

The bottle world, unlike football, does not have a legal and independent commissioner or commissioner’s office to bring problems, complaints, disputes, and legal issues. There is no mechanism, has never been a mechanism, or any intention to create such a mechanism. Issues are either resolved by the individuals themselves, covered up, glossed over, or they are left out in the open to swirl around forever.

A perfect example of “lawlessness” that is occurring in the bottle world follows: Item 301504287590 entitled Rare!! 1936 The Owl Drug Co Drugstore Advertisement made of Terrazzo 3’ x2’ is currently for sale on Ebay. The seller describes the item as being a piece from the sidewalk in front of the Owl Drug Co store in Pomona, Ca. He states that he and a friend took a cement cutter and a jackhammer to remove it. He then took it to a company to have a frame made for it. Suggest each of you read this Ebay item.

Having seen this item on Ebay and being a collector and the executive director of the Owl Drug Collectors blog I called the seller to get additional information about the item. I asked him if he had any documentation about the item, any photos of the piece in front of the store before its removal or any other information about the piece. He told me no he did not and did not care if he didn’t have anything. He became very angry at the questions but asked if I was interested in buying it. When I told him I was not interested, he slammed the phone down. In other words he did not have the direct linkage of the item to the Owl Drug Co of San Francisco that would have made the item legitimate. If you go to pages 40, 42 and 43 of Volume I of the Owl Drug Handbook you will see similar items but ones that have direct linkage, authenticity and value with the Owl Drug Company.

The asking price is based on hearsay. It has no connection to correct pricing, rarity, and condition because it has no paperwork to verify its legitimacy. It is a price the seller made up and has nothing to do with the collectible market and the owl drug category and has no verification that the item is worth the $6,000.00 that has been placed on it. If it is not comical, then it is a tragedy. I had hoped that we had passed this travesty in the bottle-collecting world, but obviously we have not, because here it comes again.

In retrospect this is how the present bottle world operates. This mindset dominates so much of the bottle world. It goes something like this: I’ve owned this item for 30 years but don’t have any documentation, history, photos to support what the item is, where it came from, market value, etc., but it is my time to cash in. I expect to be paid what I ask for, regardless of the truth or its real value. Why should anyone pay for this item or any item without property authentication? But it is my time to cash in, so that is all that matters. Someone else reads his sale and gets the same idea.  Now it is my time to cash in.  So where does it end?  Your comments are welcomed.

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

As I begin to compose this blog posting I was reminded again about the  important principle of “above the law” and how it relates to bottle collecting.  For the many new readers and supporters of this blog, let me share excerpts of this posting that was published in February of 2012, making it approximately three years since it was written.  It is interesting and scary because although these events took place a while ago, nothing has changed to either the Baltimore Bottle Club or the FOHBC and its relationship toward the Baltimore bottle club and bottle collectors.

“…In my last blog posting one of the subjects that I discussed briefly was my contact with the Baltimore bottle club.  In that discussion I mentioned that I had never received any communications from the president and to this date still have not heard from him,  I did mention that I had received a newsletter from the club.  The major article in the newsletter was written by the president of the club, Nic Queen, in which he told of how he and two other individuals trespassed on state property, were arrested, brought before the court, and not fined or imprisoned for their actions.  It is to this subject and the relationship to bottle collecting that I want to directly focus on in this blog.  This situation is most disturbing to the blog.  Three individuals trespassed on state property — one the president of the Baltimore bottle club, the second a friend of the president, and the third a pastor of a local church.  They just decided that had the right to search no matter what.  Obviously  this practice had been done before by them.  This time they were arrested for trespassing.  When the courts did not find them or incarcerate them, the president, in his article, boasted of the circumstances and what occurred by the court.  They claimed that they did not know it was off-limits.  Guess they cannot read signs posted on property or think that going on private or state property without permission or a permit is ok because they had done it before and hand never been caught.  If you buy that explanation, perhaps you would like to “buy a bridge”.  These men knew exactly what they were doing.  They were trespassing on state property without permission or concern for the rights of the property owner or what condition they would leave the land in when they had finished. Did they remove any items from the land?  Yes, they found bottles and other collectibles.  And what did they do with their finds?  Are those items the property of the finders or the owner of the property?  Obviously they didn’t show any concern until they got caught “red-handed”.  Nic then boasts in the article that “I am a good citizen”.  How can he make that statement when he completely ignored the law and then boasts about how he and his cohorts got off “scot-free” without fines or jail time.  A great example of leadership, good values, and responsibility shown by the so-called leaders of their community – a president of a bottle club and a pastor.  They have definitely set great examples for their members, parishioners and the others they are responsible for and/or represent…”.

People in positions of authority are supposed to set positive examples for the people he or she represents.  They are supposed to be of a strong and positive character, possess good moral values, show excellent judgement and have positive leadership skills.  All these attributes should be part of the leaders we put in positions of power for our clubs, organizations, religious institutions, and governing bodies.  The article written by Nic and included in the club newsletter detailing his “adventure” with state property and the law leaves one questioning his qualities as a leader.  At the end of the article Nic states, “so what did we do afterwards.  We cruised the area of the courthouse to find a lot of vacant 1870-1890 row houses looking for privies to dig!!.  All with no trespassing signs….some people never learn.

It has been said …”diggers do this all the time when they dig.  They go on private property and leave the area not caring what they have done.  So what?  Unfortunately Nic represents a group that has entrusted him with representing them, their activities, their club business, their money, their youth, as well other activities.  What would you say if Nic and the others had taken a groups of young people with them  on a digging activity and this situation had occurred?  Your sons and daughters would have been brought before the courts for trespassing.  How would you feel then?  How do you feel about the outcome of this trespassing regardless of what the court did or did not do?

The Baltimore bottle club now has this cloud hanging over them because this situation was not brought to a conclusion by the courts and the punishment prescribed by law.  According to Nic and the info in his  article, they got off the hook, got away with their activities, no harm was done, so what!  Do others feel the same?  As Nic says, “A disturbing state of affairs, but GREAT nonetheless!”.  Was this president concerned with the effects his action could have on this bottle club or on any of the members of the club or the church this pastor is associated with?  Not hardly, it seems.  Self-satisfaction apparently is all that is important, regardless if it breaks the law or not.

Finally, think about this example of trespassing as it is akin to Home Invasion.  Had Nic and his friends come onto your property and into your home without permission, removed some valuables from your property, what would you have done?  You would call the police, have them brought before a court, and demand punishment or what they did.  Unfortunately the court failed to punish Nic and his associates and they believe and act as if the got off “scot-free”.

Perhaps what is most disturbing is that nothing has changed since that article was written three years ago.  Today we see more evidence of lawlessness based solely on satisfying one’s own personal needs and wants.This is true whether we are discussing the political, educational, cultural, and societal situation.

When the French were supported by millions and 40  world leaders and participated in the march in Paris against terrorism, our own government failed to attend.  Instead, the president was off playing golf and watched the NFL playoffs.  Days later he sent the Secretary of State along with James Taylor to sing “You’ve got a friend”.  What a response that our government showed!!!!!!!!!!

If you turned on the TV, the NFL was on parade.  The Dallas/Detroit games was the worst example of officiating that I have seen in years.   Did the ref ever pick up the flag?  Was that game ever investigated by the NFL?  Why wasn’t that game ever investigate by the commissioner of the FNL?  That was closely followed by controversy over the Green Bay/ Dallas game and then the Green Bay/Seattle game.  This week it is the question of whether the football was deflated by the New England Patriots.  Why is this infraction being investigated when none of the others were investigated?  With all these infractions that have occurred during the playoffs as well as during the regular football season. the commissioner comes out and announces that the Super bowl will go on as scheduled.  Is this another example of the fox guarding the hen house?  The commissioner being the fox and the NFL owners the hen house.  Are these the important issues our world faces today?  Why should these games  attract so much attention, time, and money??????  There are numerous examples of such activities occurring daily to distract people from what is really important for our survival.

Unfortunately the bottle community is no different.    Individuals in our hobby who know that an infringement of the law or fraud is taking place, do nothing about it.  They simply disregard the offense, turning their heads away.  When the issues are raised before them, they feign ignorance or state it is none of my business. The FOHBC and bottle clubs continue to perpetuate altered bottles, for example, be it through buying, selling, or adding them to their collections.  They know that these bottles are, in fact, fraudulent in nature.  They fail to condemn the process and practice or take steps to eradicate the problem.  How can anyone respect them?

ANNOUNCEMENT The sale of the Handbooks is doing well.  The third volume is selling well.  To those of you who wish copies, they are going fast, so make your requests known to

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.

The months of January and February tend to be quite times in the bottle community. The unpredictable weather and cold temperatures throughout most of the US make travel difficult. As a result bottle collectors tend to use this time period to review their collections, determine what additions they need to make and what items can be sold or traded. We at the blog tend to be similar in our bottle collecting activities.

The year 2014 saw major accomplishments for the blog and myself. Volume III of the Owl Drug Handbook was completed and sent off to the publisher. New items were obtained including company documents, advertising items, art works, and additional drug products. These additions have helped our ever-growing Owl Drug collection and we anticipated other items to be added in the future. The procurement of these items came from various sources, some through the research process, some through purchases, some through collections, and still others were acquired as a result of many of readers and supporters from around the world sending them to the blog.

Last week’s blog posting generated a wealth of emails supporting the blog. They stated their amazement of how, in such a short number of years, the blog has gone through all the headaches and trauma directed at the blog by others in the bottle hobby. A prevailing comment expressed in these emails was why the bottle hobbyists were so vitriolic in their attempt to get rid of the blog and prevent the blog from making any comments about the hobby and contributions to it. They resent when the blog points out how errors and falsehoods about the bottle hobby and/or individuals and how they can be improved and/or corrected. There is resentment in the bottle community or in the leadership when issues are pointed out. They cannot see the similarity between the blog pointing out such issues and a parent correcting a child in the errors of their behavior or actions to modify the behavior or make it better for all.

The master copy of Volume III of the Handbook was received from the publisher the other day. The book contains 89 pages filled with new information including a completed history of the company, products, documents, advertising, art works, and other unique contributions of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco.

The three-volume set of this handbook, for the first time, provides the collector or potential collector a complete and comprehensive picture or the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco. The handbooks discuss the company’s successes, its failures, its history, its policies and practices, its leadership, its products, its innovations, and its disappearance from the drug and business communities.


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.


January 2, 2015

As the New Year begins, let us briefly review some of the high points of 2014 with our audience. Some of our major accomplishments during this past year included: the development of a research and educational department; completion of volume III of the Owl Drug Handbook series; an increase in blog readership and membership; increased and enhanced support for the blog’s goals and objectives; major additions to our Owl Drug collection of bottles, tins, go-withs, documents, internal documents related to the company’s leadership; and other new information that clears up long-standing errors, omissions and falsehoods about Owl Drug and their relationship with other companies. Those companies include: Liggett; Rexall; and Sun Drug Company just to name a few.

Our return to active collecting and the introduction of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog was initially met with hesitation from other bottle collectors because they were leery and distrustful about what we would talk about and what goals and direction this blog would take. Those in the bottle hobby tried to discredit our background, knowledge, research, and education. They tried to ridicule us, stating that the blog director was uninformed and irrelevant. When that approach did not work and they realized that we were not going away, they attempted to force us out by trying to damage our reputation, spurring inappropriate comments about our person, while saying that the information presented were lies. Even those attempts failed.

When our first volume of the Owl Drug Handbook was published, they tried to diminish its importance but failed in those attempts. The second volume of the Handbook provided more insight into the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco and cleared up many of the falsehoods and errors that had been around for years. Those in the bottle hobby could not prevent educational institutions and research organizations from accepting the Handbooks and the information they contained. Today those books reside in state and university libraries as well as the Library of Congress and are used for teaching and research. The Owl Drug Collectors Blog’s reputation is solid, both in the educational and research world as well as in the collecting world. The blog is approached on a daily basis for information about Owl Drug, their products, and other items related to the collecting hobby.

Even today, four years later, many in the bottle hobby still do not know what we are about or understand our goals and direction. They continue to perpetuate falsehoods, untruths, and inaccuracies about the blog. They only want to “blackball” this blog and our efforts. Many of the ideas about how to improve and increase membership and participation in the bottle hobby that have been expressed numerous times in our blog postings, have been considered stupid, irrelevant, or out-of-place.

In the latest presidential message (January-February) the president of the FOHBC stated “ We need more children, teenagers, and young adults to attend and participate”. So Mr. President, how do you plan to accomplish this? Where is the action plan to do this? Months ago he advocated that the FOHBC leadership and members think outside the box. He has failed to initiate any programs. In other words, he is just lots of hollow words on a piece of paper. No programs. No resources. How long should the membership put up with this? Is this what you expect? The blog has advocated this for young people for several years. Of course credit to the blog has never been acknowledged. Why is that Mr. President?

The FOHBC continues to lose membership, support, donations, and credibility and yet their leadership doesn’t understand why or maybe they don’t care. An organization tries to rectify these types of issues or problems. They initiate programs or policies to prevent loss of membership and revenue. What has the FOHBC done? Nothing!

When an organization wishes to have something done such as a website created, magazines written and published; a virtual museum created; or even financial supervision of the organizations, the leadership solicits proposals from independent organizations for contracts. At least three proposals are selected for evaluation and review. Those participating are independent of the organizations for which the work is to be done. The reason is to prevent favoritism of one group over another or conflict of interest. The leadership then evaluates those proposals and a winner is selected. Was this procedure followed by the FOHBC? How were the contracts selected? What criteria, if any did the FOHBC leadership use? Now we see the wife of the current president of the FOHBC was awarded the job of business manager of the FOHBC as an independent contractor, when she is also the business manager of the president’s own company. How and why was she selected for this position over anyone else? How was it reviewed? Was it independently awarded? Does this action call into question legal realities? Does the membership of the FOHBC understand what transpired and why and what they could potentially face for now and in the future? Should not questions be asked and answers be given by the leadership, particularly the current president and the current business manager?

When one reads the president of the FOHBC’s January-February message, all of those points are missing. He concentrates solely on the national show and why it should be two days instead of one. He points to the by-laws and quotes them as to what should be present at such shows. He mentions the same old programs that the FOHBC has had for many years while failing to initiate any new ones. He mentions young people and teenagers but fails to make any suggestions as to how to incorporate and encourage their participation in the show or in the organization itself. As usual he calls on others to make suggestions and volunteer. Where is he in this matter? – all talk and no action. He challenges others to think outside the box, while he remains on the sidelines and stuck in the box.

This president addresses the issue of “looking out for the best interests of the hobby and membership…” In the same paragraph he addresses the concern of a past board member who does not want the show to be two days stating that the board should “ask the dealers”. This president then states, “many of the board members are dealers and regional representatives”. Is that not a conflict of interest? Now I ask you, our readers, is the show simply a vehicle for the board member/dealers to profit? In a sense is this not the fox guarding the henhouse?

If this president were in fact the head of a profit-making organization consisting of hundreds of employees, he would have been out of business a long time ago and his employee’s unemployed. He lacks the foresight, vision, and wherewithal to move the FOHBC forward in a rapidly changing technological society. All he does is rattle on with no substance, no programs, and no resources to support what he says. As long as he remains president of the FOHBC, it will continue to decay, stagnate, and lose membership.

The national show in Lexington, according to all reports, was poorly planned, poorly executed, and had low attendance. Those activities at the Lexington show were the same sad types of activities that have been part of other shows in the past. There was nothing new to encourage new attendees to participate. The auction contained approximately 100 bottles, and only FOHBC members were allowed to participate. The validity and authenticity of those bottles were never documented. Displays at the show failed to meet the criteria of what makes up a proper display.   During the show several members of the FOHBC board tried to rectify the errors in the displays but were unable to do so. The displays were inaccurate, poorly constructed, and lacked the historical elements, condition and rarity that items should have in a display. The real tragedy is that no one ever checked the accuracy of these displays prior to them being put on display at the show

A major change occurred at the board meeting at the Lexington show and included changes in the composition of the board itself and a shift in power. The four regional representatives to the board were replaced. A shift in power occurred, some of the board members were replaced or resigned. Was this series of changes merely a reflection of a change in leadership that normally occurs or were these changes a grasp for power by the currents president to have allies in board members and regional representatives? What happens to those who disagree with the decisions, policies, or lack of action by the current president? Is this their fate?

Announcement:   According to our publisher, the Owl Drug Handbook Volume III will be available for sale in mid to late January 2015. The Volume III completes the Owl Drug Handbook series. Those of you interested in obtaining Volume III or all three volumes should contact the blog to ensure receipt at or at the Owl Drug Collectors store. There are limited copies available. The cost is $50.00 per copy plus shipping.

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.

As we all approach the holiday season of 2014, we at the blog wanted to share with our readers and supporters an update on the status of Volume III of the Owl Drug Handbook.   This volume continues to move along with new information, pictures, advertising, and documents. Many of the items seen in this volume are items that have never been seen before from the Owl Drug Company as well as examples of products from other companies but sold in the Owl Drug Stores. Not only do we tackle information about the Owl Drug Company and its stores but also we also discuss and factually document many of the myths and incorrect information that have been erroneously associated with the Owl Drug Company. The inclusion of this information will finally put to rest these inaccuracies for now and for future generations.

We at the Owl Drug Collectors Blog want to express our sincere thanks to all our readers and supporters both here in the United States and worldwide.   We appreciate your continued support by reading previously posted blog postings, sharing your thoughts and comments with the blog. The questions you have asked have been challenging and provocative and you have suggested new ideas and directions to pursue. By doing so you have helped to make this blog bigger, more informative about a variety of subjects, and better able to serve our readership and supporters. We will continue to strive to serve your interests in the forthcoming year, while we grow bigger and stronger.

We want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy, joyful, and healthy holiday season. May the new year of 2015 be one of great success and enthusiasm for all your endeavors.     Season Greetings and Happy New Year; Noël et salutation de nouvelle année; Navidad y año nuevo saludo; Рождество и Новый год приветствие; Natale e nuovo anno saluto; Weihnachten und Neujahr Grüße; and Natal e cumprimentos do ano novo.

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.




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.

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.

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.

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!

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.


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