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February 27, 1994|By James H. Bready | James H. Bready,Special to The Sun

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In the beer-bottle wars, in 1994 Baltimore, the capos are Bill and Chris and Joe and Randy. They apperceive one addition actual able-bodied and, mostly, accumulate their distance. Aing Sunday, in Timonium, the four arise together, edgy, on the prowl.

Randy from South Baltimore, Joe from Mount Airy, Chris from Edgewood and Bill from Pasadena: What accept they in common? Beer bottles from Baltimore, from afore Prohibition.

Lots of bodies accept beer bottles arresting with the names of old, bounded breweries or distributors. They stick candles in them, or ivy, to adorned up a window. Some people, accepting an attic or old barn, own as abounding as a dozen of these 12-ounce containers, in clear, aqua or amber glass.

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To acquire the account of Bill Schramm or Randy Whitlock aing Sunday during the Baltimore Antique Canteen Club’s 14th anniversary banker appearance (in the Timonium State Fairgrounds’ 4-H Building from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), you charge acquire a basal 500 altered Baltimore beer bottles.

Between 1850 and 1920, about 60 Baltimore brewers and 20-some marketers (their minds added on the acknowledgment of the bottles than on immortality) spent a little added so their names would arise in the glass, in aloft letters. Paper labels were pasted on, too, but about all accept perished. John B. Berger, Frederick Bauernschmidt, John H. von der Horst, George Gunther Jr. (umlaut over the u), Frank and Henry Sandkuhler — Teutons, all; Standard Brewery, Maryland, Enterprise, Bay View, about consistently with artery address.

“One nice aspect,” says Chris Vaught, “is that a accomplished new canteen name may about-face up any time — at a dig, a backyard sale, a canteen show.”

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In 1965, William J. Kelley self-published a 736-page hardback, “Brewing in Maryland”; in 1974, Everett and Janice Ford self-published a 70-page guide, “Pre-Prohibition Beer Bottles and Breweries of Baltimore, Maryland.” The Ford adviser (reprinted in 1981) amount $6 and now brings $20 or so; Kelley’s was $15, and a archetype is appear to accept afflicted easily afresh for $250.

There accept been discoveries back then, abnormally in the variations that aggregate up a accumulating — abundant discoveries that “we charge a new appear catalog,” says Joe Greenville.

Who’s activity to abridge it?

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Whoever’s accommodating to break home instead of activity off agilely to dig, backyard sale, banker show. Simply to date a canteen generally agency accepting to chase through years of burghal directories.

With or afterwards advertence works, Messrs. Greenville, Schramm, Vaught and Whitlock accept a agog faculty of one another’s holdings. Also, they apprehend the footfall of added collectors, such as Rodger Frantum in Annapolis and Robert Webber in Reisterstown. A attenuate old canteen entering the bazaar may booty several bounces. Rather than sell, the client offers it in a swap. Sometimes the client of a hundred bottles did so to access alone one or two items in the lot; the blow he again offers around. The bazaar is volatile.

Patience helps.

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“Collection-buying is the way you get your aboriginal several hundred varieties,” says Mr. Schramm, who has been accession back the backward 1960s. The contempo afterlife of Russell Franklin — a adept bottle-club member, as are all four a beer-bottle barons — set off speculation. Mr. Franklin’s aboriginal job was at a brewery: breaking pre-1920 beer bottles, as angry in by ambitious beer-buyers afterwards Prohibition. Soon, he was putting a the absorbing ones and starting a collection.

Mr. Schramm now owns the Russ Franklin collection.

At the Timonium appearance aing Sunday, Mr. Schramm will display (not sell) his incomparable accumulating of Standard Brewery bottles and accompanying material.

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Standard, at 1716 N. Gay St., was headed by Robert Rennert, who additionally endemic the Rennert Hotel. One of its brands was Bismarck Beer, and the close alien lithographed ceramics mugs from Germany. Mr. Schramm flinches at the anticipation of how abounding Bismarck mugs were smashed, patriotically, during World War I.

A few pre-Prohibition canteen beer bottles are so accepted as to be account beneath than $1. Besides the name, a bottle’s anatomy of stoppering affairs — cap top, balloon top, Baltimore bend seal, assertive beginning seals. An August Fenker ceramics canteen in acceptable action would accompany several hundred dollars.

At the Timonium appearance aing Sunday, the accessible is arrive to accompany in old bottles of all sorts for chargeless evaluation.

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