Kingsport resident Richard Begley saw the 2013 State of Franklin Antique Bottle and Collectibles Association show and sale as an opportunity to display a friend’s rare antique Mountain Dew bottle on Saturday.
A 1958 green 24-ounce Charlie Gordon and Bill Bridgeforth double-hump bottle is the second-rarest Mountain Dew bottle to have in a collection, according to antiquebottles.com.
Begley said the bottle became a novelty when Pepsi bought Mountain Dew in 1964.
“The reason it’s so rare, after Pepsi bought Mountain Dew in ’64, (Gordon) was still having to pay a deposit on those bottles because they say ‘Tri-City Beverage Corp., Johnson City, Tenn.’ on the back,” Begley said. “He had all the route salesman, when they brought them back in, break them because he didn’t want to pay the deposit on them since he couldn’t use them anymore.”
The Mountain Dew bottle at Begley’s booth is one of many items of interest to SFABCA members.
The 15th anniversary SFABCA show and sale was held to celebrate the years people in the region have dedicated to local bottle company history, said Melissa Milner, the SFABCA show chairwoman.
“This is our 15th year and this is our biggest show we’ve ever had,” Milner said. “We’ve had more displays this year than ever before. The displays are even more detailed.”
Milner said she has been a collector for about 20 years, but her bottles never contained soda pop.
“I collect antique fruit jars,” Milner said. “I like the early 1800 jars with great colors and odd lids. I do antique trade cards, which is early advertising from the late 1800s. I also collect antique irons like charcoal irons. You open them up and put hot charcoal in it and it heats your iron. So, those are my things I like to collect.”
Many avid collectors and dealers set up booths at the Appalachian Fairgrounds to display and share their own interests, which Milner said isn’t limited to bottles.
“We have a fellow here who has fossils. That’s unusual for this type of show but he has come several times and has things that are about a million years old,” Milner said.
“We also have one lady who has yard art made out of old glass and that’s really neat. She has some beautiful things.”
Other booths featured a variety of table-top collectibles, toys, marbles, jars, political buttons, coins, signs and postcards.
Plaques were awarded for Most Educational display and People’s Choice display and a raffle sent many home with trinkets.
History and education are two facets the SFABCA promotes most, but the show and sale, Milner said, promotes face-to-face interactions between antique dealers and the public.
“People can get information from the dealers like the history of a bottle, how old it is and what’s it’s worth,” Milner said. “Like on eBay, you have less interaction with other dealers to enjoy their company and find out what else they are collecting.”
Begley said he enjoyed sharing information about other collectibles at his booth with everyone he met.
“That’s part of it,” Begley said. “You get to talking to everybody a little and find out what they think about them.”
Milner said there are many other benefits to take away from the public event.
“It’s an opportunity to show people what’s out there to be collected,” Milner said. “It’s to give out information to the public about a variety of collectibles. It’s informational and fun and dealers get together and have a good time. It’s a way to educate people, too.”
SFABCA meets the fourth Tuesday of every month at the fairgrounds. All interested parties are invited to attend. For more information on how to get involved, call Milner at 928-4445 or Peggy Cox at 349-0427.