NEW MARKET, Tenn. – A Tennessee family’s three-generation collection of antique American glass bottles and flasks is coming to auction Aug. 3. The no-reserve sale will take place in Springfield, Massachusetts. Auctioneer John W. Coker chose the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel as the venue as a convenience to the many antique bottle collectors who will be in the area.
“While the auction is not actually affiliated with the Federation of Bottle Collectors’ annual convention being held at the Sheraton, the Hodges family collection is so important, we felt it made sense to move the sale from Tennessee to where the largest concentration of bottle collectors would be,” said auctioneer John Coker. “We also want to support the club and help promote attendance at the convention. Our auction is an incentive for those club members who may be on the fence about traveling.”
Coker’s auction will take place in the Sheraton’s 3rd Floor Longford Reception Room, starting at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. In addition to on-site bidding, all remote forms of bidding will be available. This includes absentee, by phone and live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.
Three-Generation Collection Boasts 18th-20th Century Bottles
The 100-lot estate collection spans a timeline from the 18th through 20th centuries. It includes New England and Southern bottles and flasks; medicine and advertising bottles; and inkwells. The collection became the possession of consignor, Frank Hodges III, upon his father’s passing earlier this year. He represents the third generation of a family that has had a deep involvement in antiques and the documentation of eastern Tennessee’s history.
“This collection’s origins go back ninety years to antique dealer Frank Hodges Sr, but the bulk of the collection was amassed over a 60-year period by his son, Frank Jr, who was a respected clock expert and very knowledgeable antique dealer. The collection has never been displayed publicly and is 100% intact. It has never been picked,” said Coker. “Frank Jr kept the bottles in special cases that were positioned so he could enjoy a view of the best bottles from his favorite chair.” Very few visitors were ever invited to the Hodges home to see the collection, Coker added. “Other dealers may have noticed him buying bottles at auctions, but they never put it together that he had a personal collection. In fact, he was a very advanced collector who was meticulous about researching and cataloging his acquisitions. He was a real scholar.”
Headliners: Early 19th Century Double Eagle Whiskey Bottles
The crown jewels of the three-generation collection are the nine Double Eagle hand-blown
whiskey flasks. The flasks include pint, half-pint and quart sizes. Examples also include Aqua, multiple shades of green (including olive), and amber. The term “Double Eagle” refers to the attractive bas-relief eagle motif embossed on both the obverse and reverse sides of the bottle. The bottles date from 1810 to 1830, and carry an estimate between $2,000 to $50,000 each, depending on rarity.
Among the other motifs seen on bottles and vessels in the collection are Urn & Cornucopia, Eagle and Tree; Scroll, Eagle, and Banner; (Union) Clasped Hands, (Coventry) Lafayette, (Fislerville) Jenny Lind, Washington and Mayflower; and Washington and Taylor. Inscriptions include: Success to the Railroad, For Pikes Peak, (Haviland & Co.) NYC, Augusta & Charleston; Never Surrenders, and a number of others. Many early glass companies appear in the collection. In some cases, there are multiple examples of a bottle, often with a variation of color.
While the Hodges family collection has been “off the grid” and largely unknown to the collecting community for 90 years, it comes to the marketplace with prestigious provenance.
Provenance Points to Hodges Family's Devotion to Digging
“My father was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and had a great sense of history. By the time of my earliest recollection, his showcases were already full of his most highly prized bottles, which he collected just as much for their historical value as their beauty,” said Frank Hodges III. “If he purchased bottles, he only chose examples that were of very good quality, but his most common method of obtaining them was to go out and search in lake beds and abandoned dwellings.
"He grew up on a very large farm in eastern Tennessee, where his favorite pastime was digging up old bottles and Indian relics. Later, as a young man, following incidents of flooding, he would go out and look at the old buildings and dwellings under Tennessee Valley Authority. It was a good way to find bottles unseen for a long time, and preserving them for posterity.”
For additional information about this three-generation auction, call John W. Coker at 865-475-5163 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. View the fully illustrated catalog online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.