Why I don’t Bother Going to Local Bottle Shows

Once upon a time, I used to live in the Northeast – the Philadelphia area to be precise. The opportunities for pre-pro glass hunting in the Northeast are almost limitless. Adamstown is within an hour’s drive – imagine a 3- or 4-mile highway with antique malls spaced evenly along the way – that’s Adamstown. One the the larger malls is run by Renningers, who have outlets in Adamstown, Kutztown, PA., and also in FL. The two PA locations each host traveling extravaganzas three or four times a year, and I used eagerly await each of these, especially in Fall when the rich scents of decaying leaves, crushed grass, mud, and waffle cakes were on the air. Adamstown also hosted a bottle show that attracted several vendors that were familiar names on eBay. The Baltimore Bottle Show, which is probably the biggest in the country, is a 75 min drive South. I usually came away with at least a couple of new pre-pro glasses for my collection from each scavenging event.

Then I moved to the Atlanta area and how times have changed. Yes, there are antique malls in the South, but “antique” has a different meaning here. Wandering through an Atlanta area antique mall is a trip down memory lane, because much of what is on offer dates back to my childhood. Pre-pro glasses do occasionally show up, but they’re usually the more common ones. The few bottle shows in the area are usually tiny and rarely offer shot glasses for sale. After attending the local show for a couple of years, I stopped making the effort because it wasn’t worth the 45 minute drive.

However, I recently happened to stumble across a flyer for the Rome Bottle and Advertising show that was due to take place only a few days hence. Rome is about 80 mins away, but I thought why not – maybe the show has improved significantly since I was last there.

Google maps view

The show was held in the local VFW hall which, on first sight, reminded me of a line from the movie “Battle of Britain.” Michael Caine’s character has just been informed by a maintenance officer that his squadron is being relocated to a flying club’s airfield as a result of German bombing. The maintenance officer remarks that “It’s not a bad little field“, prompting Michael Caine to reply “I’ve seen it. Damp tents and a nasty little shack full of dead flies.

To be fair, the VFW hall was a perfectly fine location and just the right size for the show. It was also busy, which is always good to see, even though few of the attendees were youngsters (meaning anyone under 65 years of age). I included some general overview pics below, in case you’re interested. The main problem with the show was that there was a preponderance of Coke and other soda bottles – not surprising given that it’s an Atlanta area show and Atlanta is home to the Coca-Cola megacorp.

There were exactly two shot glasses. One was a very common “O! So Good” from Kansas City, the other a “DRS Dist. Inc” tonic from Memphis with a $50 price tag. I passed on both.

I’ll probably not be back to this show for another decade or so, sad to say.