Labels under glass make bottles more desirable

Bottles can be labeled with paper labels, painted (pyro) labels, embossed lettering or, most unusual of all, labels under glass.

Bottles used “for show,” like the fancy bottles used in a Victorian barbershop to hold Bay Rum or other hair tonic, were made in distinctive shapes and colors. A few have a multicolored paper label that includes a picture of an attractive woman. The label was sealed under a thin piece of glass. The top of the bottle was made with a screw cap and a long neck with a spout to pour out the hair product.

Apothecary stores used a different kind of label under glass that listed the contents in black lettering, often in Latin. The edge of the label was usually painted gold to form a frame and camouflage the extra glass.

Bottle collectors and others like these bottles because they are attractive and use a technique for labeling that is not often seen today.

Q: I own a bronze sculpture that a dealer would like to buy from me. I don’t know what it’s worth. It’s titled “Reaper” and is signed “H. Muller” on the base. The sculpture is 15½ inches tall.

A: Your sculpture is from a series of “Farmers” sculptures by Heinz Muller (1872-1937) of Dusseldorf, Germany. Original bronzes from the series sell individually for prices ranging from $750 to $1,500. Prices of many bronzes are listed free at Kovels.com/priceguide.

Q: I have a miner’s lamp marked with the words “Justrite Made in U.S.A.” It is marked with the patent dates May 7, 1912, Oct. 28, 1913, and Nov. 28, 1913, and also says “Others pending.” What is it worth?

A: Justrite Manufacturing Co. was founded in Chicago in 1906. The company made machinery and tools. Justrite began making carbide miner’s lamps in 1911 and was the major producer of carbide lamps in the early 20th century. Justrite lamps were popular until the company began making plastic lamps in the 1970s. The plastic cracked and melted, and the lamps were never used by miners.

Early Justrite lamps sold for a dollar. Lamps like yours sell for about $10 to $30.

Terry Kovel’s column is syndicated by King Features. Write to: Kovels, (Las Vegas Review-Journal), King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

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