CLEVELAND, Ohio –Antique bottle and glass enthusiasts will want to mark their calendars for the long weekend of August 2nd thru 5th. That’s when the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors (FOHBC) will hold its annual National Antique Bottle Convention & Expo for 2018, slated to be held this year at the Huntington Convention Center and adjacent Marriott Key Center Hotel in heart of downtown Cleveland. Cleveland, if you haven’t heard, was recently named to National Geographic Traveler’s 2018 ‘Best of the World’ list.
“This will be the largest and most exciting antique bottle and glass event of the year,” said Ferdinand Meyer V, President of the FOHBC “It’s more than a convention and expo. It’s also a bottle show, live and internet auction, educational seminars, bottle competition, banquet plus many other events that will make for a packed itinerary. As of now, there are dealer tables that are still available.” This mega-event is open to FOHBC members and the public. You do not have to be a FOHBC member to attend. Of course, memberships are encouraged and available online at www.fohbc.org or at the show.
The 2018 Cleveland National is a must-attend for antique bottle and glass enthusiasts and members of the 100 or so antique bottle clubs scattered across the county in the four FOHBC Regions (Northeast, Southern, Midwest and Western). Antique bottle collectors are passionate about their glass, a category of collecting enjoying a meteoric rise in popularity, helped by TV shows like American Pickers and Antiques Roadshow. There will even be a free appraisal table for the public to bring in their finds and possessions.
This year’s convention schedule will kick off Thursday morning, August 2nd, with a FOHBC Board meeting, followed by a reception from 1-5 pm at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, one of Cleveland’s premier city attractions, about a half-mile from the Marriott Key Center Hotel. The reception will include light appetizers, a cash bar and a tour of the museum. This VIP event is for show dealers, helpers, displayers and early admission attendees.
That night, staying with the rock ‘n’ roll theme, a “Battle of the Bottles” will be held, back at the Marriott, from 7-10 pm in the Global Center Ballroom. Bottle registration will be at 6 pm in the same room. The three categories to enter in the battle are: Ohio sodas, Midwestern flasks and free blown/pattern molded Midwest tableware. Security will be provided for this and all events.
On Friday morning, August 3rd, from 7-8:30 am, a full buffet breakfast and annual FOHBC membership meeting will be held, in the 2nd floor Salons at the Marriott. The breakfast and meeting are for FOHBC members.
Friday is also the day the educational seminars will be held, six in all, from 9 am until 12 noon, at the Huntington Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 3, 4, 5 and 6, some simultaneously. Seminars are open to FOHBC members and the public.
This year’s seminars are as:
- Privy Digging in Ohio, presented by Dennis and Nathan Huey, 9 am, Meeting Room 3
- Glass Blowing, presented by Frost Glass, 9 am, Meeting Room 4
- Zanesville Glass, presented by William Barrett, 10 am, Meeting Room 5
- Evolution of Hemingway Jars, presented by Dr. Tom Sproat, 10 am, Meeting Room 6
- Erie Canal, presented by Bob Koren, 11 am, Meeting Room 3
- Bitters Collecting, presented by Ted Krist, 11 am, Meeting Room 4
Friday evening will give attendees the chance to relax and socialize at a cocktail hour from 5:30 to 6 pm, in the Marriott 2nd floor east foyer Prefunction area. That will be followed by a banquet from 6:30-830 pm. The cost is $40 a person. Attendees are encouraged to reserve their place early, as attendance is expected to be quite heavy this year.
The guest speaker at the banquet will be Terry Kovel, the world-renowned author and collector, who will talk about her fascinating life’s work and share stories of the changing antique hobby and markets over the years. The evening will be capped with the honoring of new inductees into the FOHBC Hall of Fame and Honor Roll and award presentations for the FOHBC club contests. The first gallery of the Virtual Museum will also be unveiled.
The FOHBC Electric Bottle Auction – so-named because the excitement it generates is expected to electrify the crowd – will be held Saturday morning, August 4th, in the Global Center, Ballroom A, of the Huntington Convention Center. An auction preview will begin at 7 am, with a window wall of natural daylight flooding the display tables for optimal viewing. The opening gavel is at 9 am. Online bidding will also be accepted. Consignments are now being taken and are welcomed. The public is encouraged to come.
Saturday night will see the continuing tradition of hotel room hopping, for attendees staying at the Marriott. In the main lobby will be an easel, on which anyone can attach their bottle business card, with their corresponding room number. A card on the board means that person is “open for business” and ready to receive visitors from 7:30 until 9:30 pm (or later, if the person decides).
Participants will be furnished with a special “I’m open, come on in” announcement sign that they would then affix to their door. This is a signal that the person is ready to receive visitors to chat about antique bottles and glass, or even to show and tell and sell. The idea is to have some fun.
Lest the children of attendees feel left out, there will be two Youth Corner activities planned for Saturday and Sunday, August 4th and 5th. One is a Children’s Bottle Grab Bag, where kids 10 and under are given a bag containing a hand-blown antique bottle in good condition. The other is a Children’s Junior Scavenger Hunt, for kids 8 and up, who must find the items on a list.
Mr. Meyer said that, as strong and dedicated as the core base of bottle collectors is, it’s undeniably an aging demographic that needs an infusion of new blood. “We want to cross-pollinate and grow,” he said, explaining that pickers, diggers, historians and frequenters of flea markets and junk shops would be prime candidates to make the leap into bottle collecting if they knew more about the hobby. With the growing popularity of online antique bottle and glass sites such as Facebook, etc. this will be your opportunity to see the real thing.”
“That’s one reason why the annual Convention & Expo is so important, and why we rotate venues around the country each year,” Meyer said. “The more people that are introduced to this fascinating hobby and realize what they’re holding isn’t just a beautiful object but a true slice of history, the more they may want to start a collection, regardless of their age. Every bottle has a story.”
Meyer said there are many sub-categories to bottle collecting, such as early American glass, stoneware, fruit jars, insulators, breweriana, milk bottles, food containers, lightning rod balls, target ball, marbles, and vintage advertising related to the hobby, basically anything glass will be represented at the show. He said efforts like the FOHBC’s bi-monthly 72-page color magazine Bottles and Extras, as well as the aforementioned virtual museum, which is about to be unveiled, are helpful tools in reaching and educating the public. All this is available to FOHBC members.
For more information about the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors (FOHBC) and this year’s National Antique Bottle Convention & Expo, slated for August 2nd thru 5th at the Huntington Convention Center and nearby Marriott Key Center Hotel in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, please visit www.fohbc.org.
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Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors