How Do You Identify Old Bottles?

Old or antique bottles are identified by their markings. Other factors that affect the value of the bottle include age, rarity and the overall condition of the bottle.

  1. Find the markings on the bottle

    Find the markings by carefully examining the side and bottom of the bottle. The product or manufacturer’s name is typically printed on the side of the bottle, while the manufacturers’ signature marking is usually printed on the bottom. Illegible markings can be read by placing a piece of white paper on the marking and rubbing with a crayon or piece of charcoal.

  2. Identify the markings

    Antique bottle markings are classified by type. Product names or embossed labels typically appear on the side of the bottle. This can include the manufacturer’s name or words such as “cough syrup.” Bottles made in the late 19th and early 20th century typically have machine marks and mold lines at the base of the bottle. These look like small circles or narrow lines.

  3. Refer to pricing guides

    The Internet is a great source of information when identifying markings on antique bottles. Find a credible website to help determine the age and manufacturer based on the markings on the bottle.

  4. Find out how markings influence value

    The markings on the bottle can have a direct effect on its value. Pintail markings, for example, are favored by collectors as they reveal how the bottle was manufactured as well as the age of the bottle. Rare markings on antique bottles also fetch more on the market.