January 19, 2017

This week let me share some information with the blog audience concerning the Owl Drug Family poster and the concept of donations.  Of the 45 posters that the blog started off with, we have approximately 20 left.  We wanted to thank our vast audience for responding to our request and their generosity.  Some of the charities that may be recipients of donations are the Marine Corps “Toys for tots”and St Jude’s Cancer Hospital for Children.  We always welcome more donations.

The collecting community has always been very generous in their efforts to help the less fortunate and those in need.  Their participation in making donations, as in this case of the Owl Drug Family poster, is no exception.

All collecting requires knowledge and skill, but the category of Owl Drug is very sophisticated and complex and therefore requires a higher level of skill and a great deal of knowledge.  It requires the ability to discern between what is authentic and what is not.  To those of you who think that glass and/or bottles are the only area to collect of Owl Drug you are missing over one half of what is important in the collection of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco items.  If one attends a bottle show or shops on Ebay, generally the only things you will find are some types of items such as clear bottles, poisons, amber bottles, milk glass and occasionally postcards, or some advertising.  This represents less than half of the products or items associated with the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco.  Years ago Owl Drug collectors could obtain many of their items from bottle shows because that tended to be the main source for procuring their items.  That no longer holds true today.  Technology has altered the hobby and the methods by which one obtains desired items.  Neither the hobbyist nor the hobby has in general adapted to these changes.  Due to the fact that many of the collectors are older, they have not become comfortable with this new technology around them and therefore do not use these resources effectively today.

Ebay is an example of a technology driven vehicle used in the collecting hobby.  All major categories of bottles including a category of Owl Drug are present within the Ebay structure.  Ebay has no real mechanism to review items sold or sellers using this system.    The company has no method to verify the authenticity of items being sold on their site.  Sellers can put anything on the system for sale and do everyday.  They have frequently misled buyers with distortions and falsehoods when describing their items.  They have allowed sellers to violate Ebay’s  “so-called” policies and they have failed to remove these sellers from their system.   As long as sellers make money for Ebay, the company continues to allow the sellers to sell regardless of their illegal practices or methods.

There is  an Owl Drug item that is currently up for sale on Ebay .  The seller’s description is  vague and incomplete.  He has no idea of the item’s importance, the part it played in the Owl Drug Company,  its fair market value or what it is truly worth. The item was originally priced at $499. then it was changed to the hundred-dollar range and it currently is priced at $59.99.  Apparently the seller knows little about the item and like many others on Ebay has failed to take the proper steps before listing  items on Ebay. The item had no authenticating documentation to support the seller’s claims or to link this item clearly with the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco, other than the label on the item that states Owl Drug Company.   However, there have been examples in the past where labels have been pasted onto items that are not truly associated with and affiliated with the item itself or the company that it so-called represents. Due to the fact that there is no supporting evidence or documentation to directly link it to the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco, this item cannot be verified as an authentic Owl Drug item.

The blog has contacted Ebay on numerous occasions to try to work with them to have them correct these areas. Ebay shows no willingness to work with the blog and to correct those areas that are necessary.  The blog is the not the policeman of Ebay and will not be so.  We do this as a courtesy for the blog audience.   We have stated numerous times that buying on Ebay can be dangerous.  When the buyer buys an Owl Drug item on Ebay, you should be aware of what is being sold.  Buyers, based on the current structure of Ebay you will never be allowed to check out the veracity of your seller and the items that he or she is selling.  As a collector of Owl Drug items it is important that you understand Owl Drug.  The Owl Drug Handbook set is the perfect source of valid information on this subject.  It will provide you the knowledge that you need to understand Owl Drug and its products.

DISCLAIMER:  All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.  Reprinting and reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

As part of the prognosis of 2017 we discussed in last week’s blog the necessity of establishing standards for the bottle world and once established they must be maintained on a continual basis.  All organizations that have a central leadership have standards they follow, maintain, and improve.  The bottle world basically has no central leadership.  It is, for the most part, dependent on volunteers and decentralized bottle clubs and a non-profit organization that does not represent all bottle collectors.  How and who set the standards, if they exist at all ?

Five years ago when the Owl Drug Collectors Blog was created, one of things that was recognized was the total chaos that existed in the Owl Drug category.  In effect people did whatever they wished to, including misidentified items, failing to properly describe items and selling the items that did not reflect the true market value or what they were really worth given their condition or their rarity.  Seeing the chaos in the Owl Drug category, the blog took it upon itself to set standards, often upsetting people in the Owl Drug category as well as other categories.  The first year of our existence was a hard-fought fight to set those standards.  Today Owl Drug is one of the top categories in the bottle world to buy, sell, and collect.

In 2017 one of our goals is to improve those standards and make them even better.  An important standard that is missing is a return policy.  Although Ebay may have a return policy by some of their sellers, there are instances where the seller states no return, all sales are final.  If an item comes through damaged, as an example, from  an Ebay seller that has stated a no return policy, fighting to get your money back requires a long process through Ebay.  Often that process is too laborious and the buyer gives up.  On the other hand, return policies tend to be totally missing from bottle shows, fleas markets and other venues where bottles are bought and sold and thereby eliminating any return at all.  Since the bottle world has bottle shows throughout the year and around the nation, the failure to have a return policy standard in place, the bottle hobby will continue to suffer and lack credibility.   In other parts of our culture, companies, organizations, and entities that have return policies are much more successful.

There is no standard for accurate or inaccurate labels, labeling, descriptions or conditions of bottles no matter where these bottles are bought or sold, be it bottle shows, auctions, flea markets, EBay, or other venues. Here are two poison bottles, one with an accurate label and description and the other with an inaccurate label and description. These two bottles exemplify that lack of a uniform standard on labeling of bottles. The lack of standards is a common occurrence where bottles are bought, sold, and even traded.



Where should one go to get the answer as to which label is accurate and which one is inaccurate and why? Why should a person bid on a bottle if there is no documentation or proof to verify the seller’s description, condition, or general information about the bottle he is selling? Just because a person states that the bottle is genuine, but cannot provide any authentication of his claim, why should a buyer or potential buyer accept that? Is that how one should buy bottles? What protection does the buyer have? Many products produced in the US or sold by US companies, have warranties or guarantees as well as service contracts to protect the buyer. These warranties or service contracts run for several years or so many miles. Cars are perfect examples of buyer warranties or service contracts provided to a buyer. If a person buys a bottle for $100.00 or more, the buyer should receive a warranty or guarantee on that bottle for a given period of time. As such it would set a standard for future bottle purchases and avoid chaos, confusion, and misrepresentation. At the present time in 2017, there is way too much chaos, confusion, and misrepresentation in the bottle world as these triangular poison bottles point out.

The  Owl Drug Family:  the following poster depicts a grouping of some of the most recognizable Owl Drug items produced during its long history in business.  It can be useful in many ways such as a guide to anyone who wants to buy, sell or collect  Owl Drug ; it can be framed and in  time it can become a collectible itself since only 45 have or will be made; and can be used as part of a display or art feature.  The items in this poster cut across numerous categories of bottles such as poisons, medicines, and go-withs, etc.  The poster will be stamped on the back with an Owl Drug Collector’s stamp thereby authenticating the poster as to its source and it history.DSC02015.JPGStarting in 2017  the Owl Drug Collectors Blog will be offering items like the one above to our readers and others.  This 11X17 poster will be able to be purchased by a donation.  The donation will be donated to a charity  beyond the cost of producing the poster.  Those wishing to obtain a copy should contact the blog at the following email address:  Owldrug2@gmail. com.

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.

We at the blog wanted to wish all of our readers a happy and safe HOLIDAY SEASON and thank all our readers for their support and participation during this phenomenal year. It has been a year of growing readership and support from around the world.

This blog posting will be the last one for the year of 2016. Traditionally we do not have blog postings during the two-week period between Christmas and the New Year. We will return the first week of January 2017.

As part of the Christmas season, the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco and its affiliated stores promoted Christmas and the holiday season with different specials and advertisements. Christmas sales were a large part of their revenue and as a result put great efforts in promoting Christmas, their business and displaying products and services to their patrons that became available only at this time of the year.

The following photos are but a small sampling of the types of advertising and products the Owl Drug Company provided its customer only during this Christmas season.

Owl Drug Christmas Catalogue: front cover and sample of products offered


Two Christmas ads that appeared in print.


An Owl Drug Store in Oakland dressed for Christmas


Two different examples of Owl Drug birds used only at Christmas time in their advertising


As Christmas quickly approaches, there is still time to find that special gift for the collector as we discussed in last week’s blog.

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 new blog posting normally appears on Thursday of the week, however, because we in the United States will be celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving tomorrow, our blog posting will appear today on Wednesday. Thanksgiving is a day to share time and food with family and friends in giving thanks for the bounty we have in this country. It began many years ago as our forefather sat down to a table of food and friends and gave thanks for the harvest and their survival. We often forget our difficult and harsh living in America as it was for our early settlers and the trial and tribulations they encountered.

Thanksgiving may be celebrated differently depending upon different parts of this country and different ethnicities may choose all types of foods to give thanks. Traditionally turkey, stuffing, cranberries, potatoes and breads are served for the main meal while pumpkin pie is served for dessert.   The choices are unlimited and each family selects their own favorites.

Another phenomena typical in the United States are people travel to be with family and friends. It can be for short distances or long distances. The roads are jammed packed as are airports, and train stations.

Following the meal many gather around the TV to watch football. The addition of football games has also become a traditional part of the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday visits usually last one to two days and then they all return to their routines, be it work or school.

We at the blog want to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe, happy and healthy holiday with good food, good friends, and family. Whether you are traveling a short distance or long, we wish you safe travels and a speedy and safe return.

Over the past few years, the owl drug collectors blog has incorporated other categories of bottle companies. We have also expanded the number of types of Owl Drug Company products to include documents, advertising, tins, cardboard items, personal health items; shaving equipment; marbles; playing cards; pharmaceutical items; paper goods as well as bottles, just to name as few. In other words there is more to Owl Drug than just poison bottles or the ones you commonly see week after week on Ebay, at bottle shows, or other places.

Last week we discussed the fact that many people overlook objects while digging. The same can be said about what and how people make collections. Quite often they disregard or overlook objects or paper goods that build or enhance a collection and thereby make it more historically valuable and monetarily valuable.

This week the blog continues to share some different Owl Drug Company items. Two of the items are related to the Owl Drug Company beauty show that was held in Los Angeles and sponsored and promoted by the Owl Drug Company. It was the first beauty show done on the West Coast and included movie stars. It brought together business, Hollywood and advertising to present an event in a large venue.



The following advertisement is more than just an ad. It is one of a series of advertisements created in an art deco style of the 1920’s depicting some of the products featured in every Owl Drug store during that period. The ad highlights the characteristics and qualities that made the Owl Drug Company and its stores famous. This type of ad was unique and forward thinking. It is another example of why the Owl Drug Company was a trendsetter far above others.



The next example is of an Owl Drug Company Cod Liver Extract bottle and its accompanying box. Both items are in mint condition. The box makes this item especially unique and rare. Very rarely does a box survive along with the bottle as shown in this example.


And finally, the following photo is of a document. As you can see this document identifies the reincorporation of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco in April of 1913 by the state of Nevada. The Owl Drug Company was originally incorporated in 1892 also by the state of Nevada. During this period of time (1892) most companies of this type were not incorporated. They were individually owned, a partnership, or family owned. Once again the Owl Drug Company was a trendsetter in how they structured their business.



As we begin the Christmas season, the Owl Drug Collectors blog now has obtained a limited number of Owl Drug Handbooks- Vol I, II, and III for sale. The cost for all three volumes is $75.00 plus shipping/handling/insurance. For those of you who are looking for that special gift and knows someone who loves Owl Drug, this would make a great Christmas gift. If you are interested, please contact

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.

Tomorrow we, in the United States, celebrate Veteran’s Day. It is a tribute to the men and women who have served in the Armed forces of the United States both in peacetime and in war and we humbly salute you and thank you for your outstanding service to our country. Often times that service has come with a price.   Freedom requires sacrifice and that sacrifice comes in many forms. Service men and women are often separated from their loved ones for long periods of time as well as suffering from deliberating injuries such as the loss of limbs or brain damage as well as the ultimate sacrifice–the giving of one’s life.   It is because of your service and sacrifices that we Americans have the freedoms and liberties we enjoy today. We thank you and we will always be eternally grateful

Three individuals trespassed on state property.   None of these individuals applied for any permit to go onto that property prior to searching for bottles.  They just decided they had the right to search no matter what.  Obviously this practice is a common occurrence by diggers in general.  This time these three were arrested for trespassing.  When the courts did not fine them or incarcerate them, one of the individuals  boasted about the circumstances of the incident and its outcome.  They claimed that they did not know it was off-limits, even though there were signs posted.  Guess they cannot read signs posted on property or think that going on private or state property without permission or a permit is ok .  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.  Too often when people dig, they fail to respect the property and leave it in its proper condition after finishing.  Did they remove 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?

People in positions of authority are supposed to set positive examples for the people he or she represents.  They are supposed to be 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.

Some of my mail will take a position of what is so important about this issue.  Why are you spending so much time on this issue?  Diggers do this all the time when they dig.  They go on private property and leave the area not caring about what they have done. So what?    What would you say if  a group of young people had been taken on a  digging activity and this situation had occurred?  Your sons or 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?  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. If someone  came 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 for what they did?

Taking everything that has been presented throughout this blog posting about this incident does it set the example of what any organization wants to present to its members?  Or is it just business as usual the way things are done?   Let us know what your thoughts are about this scenario and what the outcome should have been.  Do you agree with court’s decision, the diggers attitude. and if your children or family members had been involved or participated?  Your opinions are welcomed.

The following is one of many examples of  tributes to our veterans by the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco celebrating the Army and the Navy.  The Owl Drug Company was very patriotic, a strong supporter  and celebrated the US military through various activities and contributions.  The front cover of this pamphlet is unique and rare.


The Owl Drug Company produced numerous products for the consumer throughout its company’s history.  One such example and the only one we have been able to find and document is the following.  It too is unique and extremely rare.


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 the blog discussed standards, and the who, what, where, when, and how of standards. Where does one go if someone wishes to know what “standards” are currently in place or exist? As of now, nowhere. Standards in the bottle world are incomplete or non-existent.   There is no source or place a person in the bottle world could go to get an answer that a majority in the bottle world would accept.

This week the blog turns its attention to pricing. Just as we see the lack of standards, so too is the issue of pricing. Here too there is no source to determine the proper price of an item in the bottle world. Looking at owl drug bottles being sold on Ebay, as an example, one sees the same bottle with the same conditions listed being sold for different prices. In effect there is no rationale as to how these prices are determined and requested. A glaring example is the one wing triangular cobalt Owl drug poison. One such example of this bottle appears on Ebay every day. Whether the sizing is different or the same the pricing varies from example to example. The individual selling the item determines its price no matter if that item is a duplicate of some other seller’s item and has a totally different price.

It is not the role of the blog to correct each and every item placed on Ebay in the Owl Drug category, or other categories, however, this blog will share with the audience when a situation is so bad or a member of this blog audience brings the item to the blog’s attention to comment on or needs clarification as we have done in the past. The blog’s role is to inform and educate.

Returning to the subject of pricing, one wonders if the buyer just accepts what the seller states as the price no matter whether it is reasonable or fair. It seems, that the only way that the price is considered too high is if that item does not sell. If at an auction, Ebay or otherwise, an item is put up for sale, the only fair pricing would be if the item started to sell at $9.99 and then the bidding would take it where the buyer(s) wanted it to go. Setting an arbitrary price is one that is left to the seller to determine whether it is fair or not. Often items are being sold at unbelievable prices that have never been appraised at their proper value. So now what is the difference between an appraisal and a manipulation of price? Experts in various fields of collecting make appraisals.   A furniture appraiser does not appraise jewelry, glassware, china, tools, or toys. He or she is specifically an expert in generally one area only. When an item is part of two or more areas, the appraiser will ask other experts in the field for their opinion and will come up with a joint appraisal. A perfect example can be seen on the TV show – Antiques Roadshow. For those of you who have not seen the show, catch a program or two. It will be very informative.

Legitimate appraisers always provide written documentation of the item they have examined and that appraisal is written on official stationery. The information contained in an appraisal is: description of the item; the artist; the maker; the manufacturer; the age of the item; rarity or common; and a range of value. The reason a range of value is given such as $2,000 to $4,000 is because no person can determine the exact value of an item. An expert must give a range because there are too many factors that can influence the price outcome when the item is put up for sale at an auction.

Manipulation of price refers to any person who puts a price on an item regardless of age, condition, rarity, description, quality, or maker. He alone determines the price based on what he thinks he should get out of the item. There is no thought given to the true value of the item itself. In many cases the individual has no idea what the true value is even when it is pointed out to him. In the Owl Drug category there are many items that have never been put up for sale and therefore their true value has never been established. This is one of the reasons why this category of collecting is so unique.

In the history of Owl Drug there were two glass companies that provided glass items for the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco. Of the two companies, the one company most used was W.T.Co., an abbreviation for Whitehall Tatum. As long as the Owl Drug Company was headquartered in San Francisco, Pacific Glass and Whitehall Tatum Glass Company were the two primary glass manufacturers. When the Owl Drug Company headquarters was moved to Chicago, Owl Drug changed glass manufacturers to Owen Glass. Owen Glass used a diamond embossed emblem with the letter I in the middle of the diamond and a numerical figure. These emblems are found only on Owl Drug items made in the Midwest. These items are much rarer with few of them produced.

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 world we live in today is greatly affected by technology and in some sense it controls much of our lives. Each day we see or learn about new technological advances. It seems there is no end to the changes we see and will continue to see. As bottle collectors our bottle world has also changed dramatically.

Let us look at some of these changes that have occurred. The cell phone has allowed people to be in contact with one another and conduct buying and selling of bottles and collectibles from all over the world. The Internet and the introduction of websites and blogs allow us to read articles, view upcoming events, research subjects of interest, purchase and sell merchandise, and connect with people throughout the world. Face book and twitter have opened avenues of communication older generations never thought about and in some cases do not know how to use or refuse to use. Years ago you had to be present to participate in auctions. Today you can view the items up for auction on line, watch how the bidding takes place, place your bids on the cell phone and then watch to see the final bids and whether you have won or not. Another technological advance is the “SQUARE”. For someone in business, it has eliminated the need for electrical credit machines and printers. Instead a seller no matter where he is located, particularly if he is at a show or auction, can process a credit card transaction using the Square. It is especially convenient because buyers no longer have to carry large sums of money with them when trying to buy collectibles.

Goals and plans of action should be important aspects in everyone’s life. As parents we try to encourage our children to set goals and have a plan of action for their education, how to accomplish it, and work toward what position they want to attain. As adults we should try to set goals for the next year, the next five years and so on. Some people don’t label these goals as plans of action but instead call it “a bucket list” or something else.

As bottle or collectible collectors we too should have plans of action. This plan will help you decide what to buy, how to buy, when to buy, and where to buy. It will allow you to categorize the different areas of collecting that you are interested in. As part of the plan you should establish a monetary limit per item as well as what condition of the item is acceptable. For example the cost of most of the items would be less than $50.00 and would be in mint or near mint condition. Using this plan of acquiring these items should not interfere with the family and its budget. It would allow the family to continue as it had without severely, if at all changing, one’s life style. There should not be a severe impact on the family at all. It should be similar to setting up a savings plan.

Documents relating to drug companies, such as the Owl Drug, Sun Drug, Rexall, Liggett, United, and Walgreen to name a few, are extremely important. This documentation plays a paramount role in the companies’ startup, incorporation, leadership, policies, practices, procedures, takeover of other drug companies, and even in their disappearance. The failure to include documentation in one’s collections, if available, makes the collection incomplete. In most drug categories documentation is available and can be found.

Using the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco as an example, the following document, known as document #460, clearly identifies many of the major officers both of the corporation and the board of directors. You can see their names and positions in the letterhead of the document as well as the presence of the signature of RE Miller, principal leader of the company and one of the original founders of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco. It is unique and is defined as a historical document.



A closer examination of the aforementioned document shows a unique letterhead know as the “flying owl”



This picture of the “flying owl” was the first symbol used by the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco to bring attention the Owl Drug store and its products. It was first used in 1892 and disappeared in 1906. After 1906 the “flying owl” was replaced with another symbol. The lettering displayed in this picture disappeared in 1906 as well. The “odd O” in the word Owl was written this way to prevent others from copying or faking it for use in other products that could be sold. At first glance the O may look lie a G but on closer inspection it is definitely an O written in the old English manner or style. Nothing was left to chance; it was all planned and designed according to their specifications. The sole purpose of these designs was to catch the attention of the customer and have their products and company’s name become part of the consumer’s memory. It was definitely an advertising strategy.   This design, like the document before, has been identified as a historic entity.

For those of you who have plans of action for collecting, it is essential for you to periodically update those plans and make the necessary changes. Don’t forget to include documentation and advertising items in your acquisitions.

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 the blog posted a Tribute to Arnold Palmer, a golf and philanthropic legend, on his death.   Mr. Palmer had an enormous impact not only on golfers, the golf game, but also on people in general. He is considered the most important and influential golfer and individual spanning the 1960’s until his death on Sunday October 2, 2016. For those who keep track of the decades, Mr. Palmer’s influence spanned 5 decades, a record that will be hard to match or surpass.

On Tuesday 4 October 2016, the golf channel to which he was a co-founder, aired a memorial service in his honor. The service was held at St Vincent Basilica Parish at St Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. Latrobe was of course Mr. Palmer’s hometown.   Family and close friends and associates of Arnold Palmer filled the Basilica to capacity. Some of the people present included legends of golf, business associates, PGA officials, member of the press, some government officials, and members of the golf channel. Many gave speeches about Mr. Palmer and their associations with him. Some of the most moving and heart warming speeches were given by Annika Sorenson, Jack Nicklaus, Jim Nance, Charlie Mechem, Tim Finchem, and Peter Dawson of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, Vince Gill, and last but certainly not least Sam Saunders, Mr. Palmer’s grandson. The audience shared laughter and tears as individuals got up to speak. Vince Gill played his guitar and sang “You’ve Got A Friend”. He told the audience that he was told by Mr. Palmer that he was his favorite singer, but then said that since Mr. Palmer was hard of hearing, he probably never heard the words of any song Vince sang.

As a golf enthusiast, I was very moved by the speeches and stories told by so many of Mr. Palmer’s family and associates. What Arnold Palmer did for golf and for his philanthropic endeavors will last much longer than his lifespan. He is truly a legend in every sense of the word. His generosity and caring about all people, common or otherwise, places him in a very special place and serves as an example for others to follow.

Switching gears, let us turn out attention to the bottle category of medicines. Medicines tend to be a less popular category among bottle collectors. Some examples of companies that specialized in medicine were The Owl Drug Company of San Francisco, The Sun Drug Company of Los Angeles, Rexall, an national and international company, and Walgreen’s just the name a few. Not only did these companies specialize in medicines but they also expanded the product base to complement their medicines. They had and still have a huge impact on the drug industry and the country in general. Each of these companies started as corporations as opposed to being family owned, single owned or partnership. As the years progressed and changes to the drug industry occurred, many of these single owner drug stores went out of business or were gobbled up by the larger drug corporations.

On of the problems bottle collectors of medicines deal with is the fact that there are so many examples of products, besides glass, these corporations produced or had produced for them. Thereby knowing what to collect, and how to collect can make it very confusing and difficult. A perfect example is the selection of Rexall products on sale on Ebay alone numbering in the thousands. Which ones do you choose? That choice can be very difficult if you do not know the history of the company and when the item was produced. Obviously the earlier items can be more valuable and tend to be.

Another example was shared several weeks ago with the blog. The document announcing the acquisition of the Sun Drug Company by the Owl Drug Company is very important in the history of both companies. Having this document in one’s possession adds significantly to any collection of medicines, particularly to Owl Drug or Sun Drug collectors.

Another dimension that adds to the confusion of what medicines to collect is the addition of medicines produced by companies of other countries, such as the Great Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands to name a few. Most American collectors of medicines have little or no knowledge of foreign medicine producing companies and therefore are unable to classify them within their own collections.

One example that confuses people is the Warner Safe bottles and go-withs . These bottles are collected here in the States as a separate category, a category unto itself. The fact that Warner Safe items are part of the medicine category is often dismissed or disregarded by American Warner Safe collectors. Many of the Warner Safe bottles were produced in other countries such as Australia, Germany, Great Britain, and Pressburg, Hungary. They tend to be the scarcest, most valuable, most popular, and most collectible. The Pressburg Warner Safe office lasted only 2 years, making these bottles more scarce and therefore more valuable. The reason why Americans collect these bottles and why people from other nations collect them are different. Americans tend to collect these bottles because they are scarce and more valuable while people from other nations collect them because they are symbols of their own counties, are examples of nationalism and view history and antiques from a different perspective.

In the weeks ahead we will discuss more features about the medicine category. In addition to bottles, we will highlight other products, go-withs, advertising, and historical insights.

 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 addressed the Owl Drug Theatrical Cold Cream that sold on EBay for $170.00 and did a thorough analysis of the item. Lo and beyond an identical Owl Drug Theatrical Cold Cream tin appears on EBay for sale this week with an opening price of $50.00 see photos to follow. The description is very scant as you can see from the following: “ Up for auction is an old Owl’s Theatrical Cold Cream Tin American Stopper Company.  MEASURES 4 1/4 INCHES WIDE BY  2 3/4 HIGH  See pictures for condition. Fresh from estate sale.“Has some dents,scratches, rust etc…. Selling as is”.



If one compares the cold cream tin that sold on EBay last week for $170.00 with the cold cream tin that is currently up for sale this week, what could one say based on the information presented? Are the characteristics of both items about the same? Yes. Are the conditions of both tins about the same? Yes. Should the price of this newest tin bring about the same price as the one last week?

The answer should be yes as well. As of this writing there are still no bids on the item with a little more than 1 day left to the auction. Does that seem strange? Wonder why there are no bids? Are potential buyers waiting to place bids as the auction nears its end, so as to get it at a price cheaper than $170.00 as the one that sold last week? The blog will let our readers know what the final results turn out to be and will do more analysis at that time.

We would like to acknowledge new readers of the blog from South Africa who have joined us this week. They join readers from other parts of world who have found the blog and the topics we present and discuss, informative, interesting, stimulating, and engaging. Your input and comments are always welcome. If there are any topics you wish to have the blog present that we have not touched on before, please do not hesitate to contact us and let us know your interests or ideas.

We encourage South African readers to share with the blog and its readership the types of bottles of South African origin and whether there are bottle clubs and bottle collecting activities. One of our major goals is to encourage participation from readers from around the world. Their input to the blog is very important. How others collect from other parts of the world helps the blog tailor our topics and information not only in the United States but around the world. We will be happy to share that information and give you a plug so that other readers can get in touch with you.   Those readers from other countries are also encouraged to share their country’s unique bottles and bottle collecting activities. Bottle collecting is a worldwide activity and we at the blog recognize it, encourage it, and promote it.

Several weeks ago the blog discussed briefly and cited an example of a historic document.  The example given announced the acquisition of the Sun Drug  C0mpany by the Owl Drug C0mpany of San Francisco, bringing the two companies together as one company under the direction of the Owl Drug Company leadership.  This document was of a historic nature, labeled as such and giving it landmark status.   Once a document has been labeled as historic, its monetary and historic value increases.  It says to the collecting world this document is important, special, and unique and as such belongs in a special place.

Should not bottles also be classified not only by category but also by their uniqueness and special qualities? Museums today have collections that have been donated so that the public can view, understand, and appreciate the collection’s  uniqueness and special qualities.  Was the  Gardner collection a mistake to have been put up for auction? If Charles Gardner were alive today would he have put his collection  up for auction or done something else?  Let us know what you feel or think.  Love to hear from you.

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.

We continue our discussion of fair market value this week, especially as it pertains to an item that has never been put up on the market before. How does one establish a fair market price? Using the example shown below that was recently sold on EBay.




The description of the cold cream item as presented by the seller follows: “Description: Cool, old tin of Theatrical Cold Cream from The Owl Co. out of San Francisco. Patent is 1906. Has some typical signs of use, wear, and age. Measures approx. 4 x 4 x 3. I haven’t been able to remove lid, if you can there are a few dents you could likely take out.”

Having seen the photo of the item, the following is the bid history that occurred on this item. As you can see the starting price of the item was $9.50. The final sale price was $170.50.  Item number:162172713974

Bidder Bid Amount Bid Time
Member Id: e***b( 256)    US $170.50 Aug-25-16 18:00:38 PDT
Member Id: e***b( 256)    US $170.50 Aug-25-16 18:00:01 PDT
Member Id: r***r( 1300)    US $168.00 Aug-25-16 18:00:46 PDT
Member Id: r***r( 1300)    US $160.00 Aug-25-16 18:00:42 PDT
Member Id: r***r( 1300)    US $155.00 Aug-25-16 18:00:28 PDT
Member Id: r***r( 1300)    US $140.00 Aug-25-16 18:00:24 PDT
Member Id: r***r( 1300)    US $125.00 Aug-25-16 18:00:21 PDT
Member Id: r***r( 1300)    US $110.00 Aug-25-16 18:00:16 PDT
Member Id: r***r( 1300)    US $100.00 Aug-25-16 00:39:41 PDT
Member Id: r***r( 1300)    US $25.00 Aug-19-16 02:56:00 PDT
Member Id: e***b( 256)    US $20.00 Aug-25-16 17:03:53 PDT
Member Id: e***b( 256)    US $18.00 Aug-25-16 06:28:17 PDT
Member Id: h***h( 3271)    US $17.00 Aug-23-16 14:44:45 PDT
Starting Price    US $9.50 Aug-18-16 18:00:58 PDT


As we analyze the description to the final price, several things stand out. The description gives you some indication of the condition of the item. He states ” Has some typical signs of use, wear, and age. Measures approx. 4 x 4 x 3. I haven’t been able to remove lid, if you can there are a few dents you could likely take out”. This description therefore, indicates the tin is not in mint or near mint condition. A potential buyer should take into consideration the condition of an item when bidding and how much one is willing to pay for this item presented.

Another important fact that the seller failed to provide in his description was where this item fits into the company’s history. Was it produced in the early, the middle, or at the end of the company’s history? That information adds to the rarity, the importance, and the ultimate value of the item. The final winner of the item who paid $170.50 apparently is relatively new to EBay due to the number of hits his profile reflects at 256. Why did he buy this item? Perhaps he is a tin collector, owl drug collector or something else, but we don’t know really why.

The seller of this item whose profile shows only 40 hits on EBay is also relatively new to EBay. A view of his selling history indicates he primarily sells automobile metal emblems. Where he picked up this Owl Drug tin we could only speculate. He probably had not idea of what the item was, its rarity, its historic value or any other elements that would make this item valuable. The final price probably surprised and pleased the seller especially since it sold for so much.

The following is an example of 2 Owl Drug Theatrical Cold Creams tins as seen in Volume I of The Owl Drug Handbook, page 153.  If you look at these two tins and compare it to the one shown above, any reader can begin see the vast difference and what we are talking about.


Given the facts presented about the seller and the buyer of this item, can a true fair market value be established on this item? No it cannot. Today too many items with similar characteristics are sold daily, thereby distorting the fair market value and what an item is truly worth. Unfortunately, others will use this sale as the standard to set so-called fair market value prices of similar items. This is exactly how the black Hostetter Bitters bottle that originally had a price of $100 several years ago, now has prices ranging from $400 – $500, and now one is priced for sale at $750. The lime green Hostetter that we highlighted last week is up for sale for $1795. Who would believe that such a price would be asked given its description presented on EBay?

If we extrapolate from the information presented about so-called fair market value and what people are attempting to sell their bottles for through different venues, we can expect that certain categories of bottles will no longer be available for the average collector to purchase. Who would have ever thought that the Hostetter Bitters category would take a turn like this?

There are those in the Owl Drug category who sell on Ebay on a regular basis who have attempted to capture that category as well. Listing items with incorrect and misleading descriptions, altering the authenticity of the bottles, and overpricing the bottles at values unrealistic to the real value of what the item truly is. Numerous examples have been shared with this audience this year and in past years, showing and explaining the attempt to capture or manipulate the market. If the item is presented properly and accurately, the price will follow and be true to the actual value of the item and not be manipulated or captured to exorbitant and realistic levels that we see too often 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.