A seventeenth-century Asian antique jar that is shaped like a dragon was once sold at Christie’s collectible auction in New York for a record amount of $8M. Yes, only for a jar.
So what makes an antique jar or bottle valuable? Its age, of course, is not the sole indicator of its value. Here are the factors that affect the selling price of an antique glass jar or a vintage glass bottle:
- The demand and the supply of antique jars and bottles. Beautifully labeled milk glass bottles and soda bottles have recently grown quite a following, thus increasing their market value.
- The age of the antique jar places a major importance in determining the value of the item. The older the jar, the more expensive it becomes. Seams and indented rings at the bottom will tell the age of the antique jar.
- An embossed design will enhance the value of the antique jar. Sometimes, a misspelling on the glass jar’s embossed design will make it a rarity and thus will fetch a higher price.
- If the original closure or lid is found with the jar, then the price is much higher than when the antique jar is sold without the lid.
- The color is also indicative of the value of the antique jar. The more unusual the color, the pricier the antique item becomes. Here is the hierarchy of colors from the most common jars to the rarest: aqua, amber, dark amber, emerald, milk glass, cobalt, and black.
- Most antique jars sold on the market are pint-sized or jelly jars. Large antique canning jars can go for considerably high prices when auctioned.
- The shape of the jar is also taken into consideration when determining its value. Square antique jars are rarer than regular rounded jars and are thus more expensive.
- The condition of the jar is also evaluated and can affect the overall market price of the antique. A chip or a crack will reduce the value. So does the condition and presence (or absence) of the original lid.
You might want to inspect that old mason jar you have been using in your pantry to contain dried herbs. You might also want to think about that green square glass jar you got from your grandmother’s kitchen twenty years ago. A valuable antique might be lurking there, and you might realize that, all these years, you have been using a goldmine as a flour container!