Are 19th century artifacts still buried in your backyard?

Remember that urge to dig you had as a child? Some people never grow out of it. I don’t blame them because there’s treasure buried under the dirt and ash that fill 18th and 19th century privy and cistern holes.

Back in 2009 I had a chance to talk in depth with privy digger Rick Weiner of Allentown, Pa. (Read the article Privy to History here) He gave me all the ins and outs of digging and shared some of the phenomenal finds he’s uncovered.

Today I opened my email to get an exciting update.

Rick Weiner and Paul Seidel were digging an old 1870s cistern and uncovered some great items. Rick says he usually stays away from cisterns (underground storage tanks for rainwater): “Digging cisterns are a gamble, but this one payed off for us.”

Rick sent these photos of the items he found in the 1870s cistern: (Note they are in perfect, undamaged condition.)

Rick Weiner-privy diggin 045.jpg

Treasures half-buried in the cistern’s ash layer.
(All photos courtesy Rick Weiner.)

Rick Weiner-privy diggin 054-trim.jpgRick Weiner-privy digging 049-trim.jpg

Rick Weiner-privy digging 051-trim.jpg

Rick Weiner-privy diggin 058.jpgHere you can see that Rick found a cobalt beer bottle (he reports this one is from the 1870s), a salt-glazed jug, a very old beer mug, and a stoneware beer bottle … all supporting evidence: the cistern belonged to a tavern.

He also found an old William Ridgway “View from Ruggles House” dinner plate.

Another exciting find he shares is from a privy: a trio of carved pipe heads:
Rick Weiner-privy digging 017.jpg

For your enjoyment, here’s a free PDF download of the two-page spread in Antique Trader magazine with more of Rick and Paul’s photos: PrivyDiggerUpdate.pdf.

Congratulations Rick! We’ll be watching for more news of your exciting finds.

Related product: Tales of an Upstate New York Bottle Miner, by Patricia Crandall.

Enjoy these articles on AntiqueTrader.com:

•  Scents and sensibility: Collecting perfume bottles
• 
About barber bottles
• 
Collectors filling the gaps on figural whiskey nips
• 
The Sand Man: The spectacular sand bottles of Andrew Clemens
• 
The antique bottle market

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Facebook

Twitter

•Find us on Twitter and Facebook

• Visit the Antique Trader Website
and sign up for our FREE eNewsletter.

• Browse hundreds of collectibles reference books in our store.

• Need pricing data? Check out the BRAND NEW Warman’s
Antiques & Collectibles 2012 Price Guide
.

• And browse the Antique Trader Classifieds or place your own online ad – FREE!


PrivyDiggerUpdate0707.pdf (274.99 KB)

Leave a Reply