Bottle Thefts at the Reno Expo


By Pam Selenak | FOHBC Public Relations Director

As great of a show as the Reno Expo was, it did not go without a blemish. The bottle collecting community as a whole is an honest and trustworthy group of people. We have in the past, been able to leave our sales tables and do a little shopping or chat with someone for a while and know that our items will still be there when we get back. Unfortunately those days are gone. Even if 99.9% of us are in this group of upstanding citizens there is that 0.1% that ruins it for everybody. I can’t stress this enough DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TABLES UNATTENDED.

At Reno, there were one or more persons casing the show for opportunities to steal. Here is the list of some of the stolen bottles:

Green, John Moffat’s Phoenix Bitters

Green, “Old Castle Flask” with repaired neck

Warner’s Safe Tonic Bitters” amber pint

8 1/2, in deep aqua, A.M. Cole Virginia City

 7″ aqua, 4 indented paneled medicine, “Dr. Mintie’s” on one side, front panel “Nephreticum”, “San Francisco” on other side

Sharp & Dohme KU-19 poison, 4″ tall cobalt, front paneled: skull & crossbones with star above and below, with the word POISON down both sides; rounded back with original label

To the person or persons who have in their possession any or all of these items take note.

1) There were thousands of pictures as well as time lapsed photos (every ten seconds) taken during the three days of the show. We are presently going over each and every frame to find you.

2) You have committed grand theft.

3) If you try to sell or show these bottles you will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Is it worth you losing your lively hood, family, and the quality of the remainder of your life? A full police report has been filed. This information is also being sent out by magazines, websites, and club newsletters. You have angered the bottle community and we WILL be looking for these bottles. This activity will not be tolerated. YOU WILL BE FOUND!

To any bottle collector who sells on eBay, please note in your narrative of this and that if anyone sees or hears of any of these types of bottles to contact the Federation immediately. Know who you are buying from and only buy from reputable dealers!

So, PLEASE,keep an eye on your tables at shows. These people are out there and they know what they are doing.

[FOHBC] A few comments from our members…

there was the one burr under the saddle that continues to plague every show these days, no matter how much security is present or no matter how vigilant the dealers are; THEFT. I’ve got my own feelings on the matter and personally think that the “code of the west” oughta still be enforced. The heck with “politically correct.” I guess that just don’t cut it in the 21st century. It oughta… And yet, with the quantity of killer glass present, coupled with the sheer volume of folks packing the aisles, it could have been a heckuva lot worse. Still, one theft is one too many!

Bruce Silva (Jacksonville, Oregon)

“Any bottle thieves should be entered into a real Shoot-out where they can be pelted with crock beers & broken shards of glass. Overall, best show I have ever been to! Not sure if it will ever be duplicated!”

Lance Westfall (San Diego, California)

“I hope everyone enjoyed the show and found something nice to take home with them. We started this Expo almost 2 years ago when Richard Siri was the president of the FOHBC. We talked and he asked what I thought about hosting another big show in Reno; well, I couldn’t say no. We worked countless hours to make this show run smoothly and to make it an unforgettable show for you. If there was one thing I could change, I would have added more security. Every year western shows have theft including Las Vegas, Auburn and Reno. I think we had multiple people working the show, and this totally bummed me out. I apologize to those who lost bottles. It’s sad to think we have entered a new era that requires keeping your bottles behind a locked case. I hope you had fun and enjoyed Reno. Support your local clubs and the FOHBC!”

Marty Hall – Show Chairman (Reno, Nevada)

This World has changed, the bottle hobby has now been changed and I look forward to help and guidance that the FOHBC might come up with to help us all.”

James Campiglia (Bozeman, Montana)

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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3 Responses to Bottle Thefts at the Reno Expo

  1. IXL says:

    In addition to the list above, I had a Sharp & Dohme KU-19 poison stolen off my table. This was a 4″ tall cobalt, front paneled: skull & crossbones with star above and below, with the word POISON down both sides; rounded back with original label.

    I was also informed by another dealer that had a cobalt blue Bowman’s poison stolen.

  2. tigue710 says:

    Its a real bummer to hear about theft at the show. I’m surprised with some of the bottles they were able to walk away with also. I wanted to add that I had heard about theft while at the show, and it was reported to me by Mark Accordi that he had four bottles lifted off his table on Saturday. I’m not sure what they were but I hope he can be contacted and his bottles added to the list.

    • tigue710 says:

      I talked to mark and the theft he had told me about was not at Reno but a different show, and he resolved it at the time. My mistake, hope there is a positive outcome for everyone.

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