Since we moved here to East Texas I have been collecting old bottles. My interest is really only in collecting from this area and I collect bottles the same way I collect coins, if I find one I keep it, but I don't buy any. I have gathered bottles form all over our property and have a couple good spots to hunt, but rarely get a chance to go because they are down by the gulf. In the way of advice for the beginning collector I have only two words, Low Tide. Look for places where people congregate near water and search that area when the water level is low. I found my best place while we were crab fishing with the kids down by the gulf. You need some good rubber boots, a small shovel and willingness to tromp through some mud that smells rotten eggs. Bring a bag to put the boots in or the drive home will unnecessarily stinky.
For a while now I have wanted to search the small creek branch that runs behind our house but haven't had the chance. With almost no rain again this summer I finally had a chance yesterday. The branch is completely dry except for two spots with slightly deeper holes, so after bringing my wife home from the hospital I hopped in the dry bed and walked the section that is on our property. Right on top of the sand was the bottle of Chamberlin's Colic Cholera and Diarrhea Remedy. Still corked I am guessing the liquid inside is just creek water that has soaked through, but there may be a bit this miracle treatment left behind. Next time I get a bad case of the Cholera I will check it out.
This bottle can sell between three and thirty dollars on Ebay, which is the only pricing guide any collector seems to need and great source of info. One of these bottles that sold on Ebay had the original pamphlet and a label on the neck listing the ingredients; 59% alcohol, 19 minims of chloroform, and six grains of opium, so it would get you high long enough for the snake oil salesman to get out of town. Now a hundred years later we can't even buy cold medicne without showing our ID. For me the excitement is imagining the history of the bottle I found. Did the person who bought this bottle pass away from cholera or did he just get high on the snake oil and wait out a bad case of diarrhea. Either way it amazes me that it could be in our creek a hundred years later still corked and unbroken.