5 Most Valuable Antique Bottles: Breweriana Royalty

By Duane Beckett
Photo: ThomasWolter / www.needpix.com

If you are a collector of breweriana, you’ll enjoy this look at some pretty high-priced antique bottles.

If you’ve never heard the term “breweriana” before, trust us on this one. It’s got to do with beer-related collectibles and in this article, we are going to focus on beer bottles:

But before we pop the cap on our first one, let’s look at some of the things that make some beer bottles worth more than others.

What to look out for in antique bottles?

FACT: There are eleven different factors that can add or subtract value to that beer bottle you just dug out of an old dumping ground:

  • Supply and demand top the list, followed by age.
  • Rarity and condition are the next factors followed by color, aesthetic appeal, and embossing/design (labels).
  • The category (what brewery, where it was brewed), size, shape, individuality, and historic significance also play a role in determining a dollar value for antique bottles.

Now, let’s look at five of the most valuable beer bottles as determined by prices they were sold at through auction.

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5. Weiss Beer Blob Top Bottles -$180

This set of four bottles included a pair of brown ones, a green one, and a light aqua one. They all have what is called a “blob top” and one of the brown ones came complete with the original Weiss closure. Considered to be in “very good condition plus” the set sold for $180.

4. Conrad Budweiser Beer Bottles – $300

This pair of early Conrad Budweiser beer bottles are embossed and were described as being “very nice bottles with no damage.” The pair went for the sum of $300.

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3. Lemp’s Large Labeled Beer Bottles – $300

Photo: morphyauctions.com

The set of three of these bottles had labels on them that state Buck, Tally, and Extra Pale. These early pre-Prohibition bottles are tall, measuring at 12-inches per. The labels are far from mint condition, but one of the bottles (Extra Pale) is an embossed bottle. The trio sold as a set for $300.

2. Dr. J. Cornwall Brewing Co. National Beer Bottle – $420

Factors that make this bottle highly collectible include the name of the brewery and where it was located (St. Louis, Missouri). The thick, heavy, brown glass contains a natural bubbling as well as a bit of chipping on the top edges. It still sold for $420.

1. National Bridge White Beer Brewery Bottles – $2,700

The literal top of the heap belongs to these bottles which were described as being “extremely rare bottles” by Morphy Auctions. The bottles in this photo are the actual specimens and although one has a slight haze in the glass, there are no chips or cracks. The other bottle in this set has clean, clear glass and minor scratches plus a chip on the bottom edge. They sold for $2,700.

In Conclusion

Treasure hunting is fun, and beer, well that’s fun too. Just remember that for an antique bottle find to be worth something, it doesn’t always have to be the most perfect looking specimen out there.

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