Monday, August 3, 2009

Bottle Certification

Here is a few comments from the Bitters Round Table held at the National Show this past weekend. Ferdinand Meyer's comments on the need for a certification process in the bottle collecting hobby are particularly important. Stamps, coins, sports cards, and other fields have a certification service or a grading service available to help eliminate fraud and misrepresentation. I remember the start of the coin grading and authenticating services in the 1980's. Much bad mouthing and skepticism from the old collectors/dealers. Now very, very few quality coins or stamps sell without being certified. Is it time for this in our hobby?


  1. I greatly support this idea. One main reason why Ned and I do not attend every show is the strong presence of dealers selling damaged bottles as mint and assuming we won't notice the damage. I'd rather just dig my own bottles than deal with that dishonesty.

  2. I am also a coin collector, but won't waste extra money on a "graded and slabbed" coin. Grading bottles, like many other artifacts and collectables, is completely subjective. No two individuals who examine a piece of glass will come to the exact same conclusion concerning condition. We all see things differently. One graded "mint 10" by one person might be an "8.5 or 9" to another. A set of very rigid standards would have to be determined and getting everyone to buy into it would be a difficult proposition. We all know the collectors who will find fault with any bottle, regardless of how it was called by a group of "certified graders". The theory has merit, however, the application could prove difficult.

  3. I am not in the bottle grading camp, but I am all for some form of certification to guarantee the bottle is free of repairs, buffed chips, etc. Alterations that should be made known to possible future owners, but are often not reported two or three sales down the line.
    What does the readership think of the new grade ratings in American Bottle Auctions? I had a hard enough time with telling a grade 8 bottle from a grade 9 bottle. Is someone really going to tell me that an 8.6 grade is different from an 8.8 grade, or different from a 7.9 grade. This is totally superfluous, actually ridiculous is a better word.
    I agree with O.C., my eyes can tell me what I want to know about the "grade" to be assigned. Or more plainly stated, my eyes can tell me if I want the bottle or not. Not some abstract rating system that really has no base line for comparison of examples.
    Alterations and fakes, now that is a different problem altogether. If with can't monitor them to some degree it will hurt the hobby badly,