How Can You Find the Value of an Antique Milk Bottle?

Milk bottles were first introduced in America is the late 1800s in New York, so a true antique bottle that is 100 years old or more is rare. Antiques dealers, online auctions and reseller sites can help to set a value on an antique bottle, along with the annual convention of the National Association of Milk Bottle Collectors and the organization’s newsletter Flea market vendors and respected antiques and collectibles price guide sites like Kovels are also price antique bottles.

Vintage milk bottles, old but not quite a century old, come in all shapes and sizes, with embossed or painted dairy names, and varied mouths, glass colors and lids. Some vintage bottles can be worth more than real antiques. Value is determined by condition; chips, scratches, cracks and staining instantly devalue a bottle.

Older bottles feature embossed dairy logos and swing stop closures, factors that drive up the price. The first milk bottles were hand-blown, but machine-made, wide-mouthed bottles with sanitary, inexpensive waxed paper caps eventually replaced them. From the 1930s on, dairy labels were painted, not embossed.

Very unusual bottles such as “baby face” milk bottles, with a shape like a baby’s head as part of the design, are valuable when authentic but are often reproductions. Inexperienced collectors should be cautious about acquiring “pristine condition, rare” milk bottles from anyone but a reputable dealer.