The Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors’ 2019 convention was held August 1st thru 3rd at the Augusta Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. There were 170 tables and a 144 page souvenir program.
“Next year we’re gonna be in Reno. Last year it was in Springfield,” said self-professed low-end collector Bob Riddick of Lexington, SC.
“I try to make enough to at least cover my expenses. I’ve stayed three nights at the hotel, I’ve paid for my hotel and three nights at the Marriott. And it was cheap! $127 a night to stay here. They get $900 a night for this Master’s week.”
“Augusta’s been great,” chimed in dealer Charlie Livingston of Tampa. “I’ve sold a sh#$load. And bought a sh#$load. But it’s been great.”
Livingston explained bottle collecting. “All the time people pass away. Collections come up. Some of these bottles I get out of collections, they’ve been there thirty or forty years. Now I’ll die with them, probably.”
Riddick was asked who the demographic was for bottle collecting. “What is the demographic? Old. They’re geriatric. The hobby is dying. There aren’t many new collectors coming in, because it’s such a weird hobby. We dig. He and I dig. It’s just not a very popular hobby. It’s just not as big as it used to be.”
“This is reportedly a $50,000 pot,” Riddick says, leaning in to inspect a pot perched inches from the edge of the table. “$45,000…it’s 45. This one with the writing on it.”
“They brought the technology over from China. It’s just well made. Very sturdy. They learned from the Chinese how to make this pottery. This pot is close to 200 years old. It’s a big market.”
“The pottery people are going to say it’s all about the pottery. But it’s about the bottles,” Riddicks says.
“Look down here, this is old Edgefield pottery. Pre Civil War, slave made. That’s a big collection,” states Riddick.
“You’ve got collectors that collect different sorts of bottles. There’s a big market for historical flasks. Whiskey flasks from the 1830s to the 1870s. There’s a lot of different niches in the bottle collecting game.”