Bottles worth thousands of dollars on display in Springfield

Convention being held through Sunday

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Why would anyone spend thousands of dollars for an old, empty bottle? For some collectors, they have very good reasons.

Thousands of bottle collectors from around the world have assembled at the MassMutual Center in Springfield to put their valuable bottle collections on display.

James Bell of Sydney, Australia said his empty 1880 bottle of “snake oil” cure is worth thousands of dollars.

“They put so much work and effort into the bottle; just something about them, you know,” Bell said.

More local collectors include Ron Rainko of Warren. He wants to add to his priceless collection of ink bottles.

“I’ve got just about every color, the rarest being the lavender, but I’m missing an olive green,” Rainko said.

When 22News asked what made these bottles so valuable, we kept hearing the same two things: rarity and desirability.

How does someone get bitten by the bottle collecting bug?

“All of a sudden, I realized the amount of history that was involved with all these bottles, and it was fascinating for me,” Jim Bender of Spraker, New York said.

Most of the collectors at the convention have been at it for 40 or 50 years, but there are also younger collectors there, as well. Twenty-two year-old Evan Bellanger of Colchester, Connecticut started bottle collecting when he was 13.

“I collect like early New England glass. I like the color, the crudity of the glass,” Bellanger said.

The Historical Bottle Collectors’ convention runs through Sunday at the MassMutual Center. For three days, Springfield is the destination for collectors who value the uniqueness of their old bottles.