Dating american bottles
(Specifics on what a pontil looks like or how to tell the age based on the mold seam can be found in Bottle Basics.) While these two characteristics are often a strong clue to age, readers will be further helped by developing an understanding how the various categories of bottles changed over time.To aid beginning collectors and those interested in bottles I have developed a number of bottle time lines.Look for any clues on the bottle itself that’ll pin point it. Some bottle codes are easy to decipher while others are not, but if they exist they’re a great place to start.In the image above we see that it’s commemorating the 200th anniversary of Evan Williams and on the bottle they say the distillery was founded in 1783. If you can’t decipher them, and can’t find anyone else online who has a clue, reach out to the maker (if possible) and see if they can steer you in the right direction.
They fully came into fashion around 1985, but began popping up in the late 70s and early 80s.
Bottle label designs can change over the years and advertising will always depict what the label looked like at that time so consumers could go out and get that exact bottle. if you’re looking for some other great whiskey bottle dating resources give these a peek.
You can basically use advertising as a visual history of label changes.
Though if the numbers have faded you can ball-park it by looking at the verbiage on the strip itself.
If it reads: “This bottle has been filled and stamped under the provisions of sections 50 Internal Revenue Code.” then it’s pre-August 1959 because in August of 1959 the sections it refers to changed to 52.
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Some states also used their own tax stamps (top left of the bottle above) which can give clues like the State Treasurer’s name, tax rate, State Secretary’s signature, etc. It’s a Manufacturer’s strip designed to reproduce the general look of a tax strip.