General Club information


The New Jersey Antique Bottle Club was formed in early 1996. The founding members were Ralph Mundy, Ernest Bower and myself. As I recall Ernest approached me and said ‘Ralph and I would like to form a club so that we can meet regularly and trade bottles’. I thought it was a great idea and we started the process of forming the club. I went to the County Clerk’s Office and registered the name New Jersey Antique Bottle Club in the County of Middlesex, New Jersey in March of 1996.


In the early days, we did not have a place to meet and had no funds that we could use to rent a suitable facility for meetings. At that time I was an active member of the Knights of Columbus Council #3001 that was located at 88 Jackson Street in South River. Our Grand Knight was Floyd Wyluda, or Lefty, as his friends called him. I was talking to Floyd about the club and mentioned our first hurdle, no place to meet and no money for rent. Floyd said that we could meet at the Knights of Columbus Hall or use the Meeting Room until we could raise enough funds to start paying for that privilege. That sounded so good and it was the start of the many meetings to come that were enjoyed by many club members for the next 20 years. We sometimes met in the hall and sometimes in the meeting room. We even met upstairs in the unrented apartment for a time and Floyd always referred to us as ‘The Bottle Gang”.

We later moved to The East Brunswick Museum, 16 Maple Street, East Brunswick, New Jersey under the watchful eye of Mark Nonestied, Museum Curator and club member. Mark worked the door at EVERY New Jersey Antique Bottle Club show held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in South River, that’s 19 in a row and he never missed one minute. The East Brunswick Museum was and is currently located in a Methodist Church that was built in 1861 in the Historic Village of Old Bridge, New Jersey . The East Brunswick Historical Society hosted our meetings at the Museum and in return for their generosity our club started an American historical flask collection for the museum when we began to meet there and we continued to donate one quality flask a year, to their collection, until the club’s dissolution in June of 2015.

Occasionally, member’s homes were used for meetings especially for the Holiday meeting in December. Our club members have had the privilege of viewing the collections of Bill Geisz, Tom & Marion McCandless , Richard & Elma Watson and Bob & Marianne Strickhart. The Holiday Meetings were always an old fashioned ‘bring a dish’ or ‘potluck’ holiday meal where socializing was the focus and not trading.

Initially, we met monthly on the 4th Tuesday of the month and in the last few years of the club’s existence we met quarterly in the months of January, May, September and December. Meeting times were from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Post cards were sent 10-14 days prior to all members as a reminder of an upcoming meeting. We encouraged club members, visitors and guests to join us for an evening of bottle chat, trading and the occasional presentation, FOHBC slide carousel of a hearty round of ‘Good Buy. Bad Buy’’ in which left over Heckler Auction catalogs were passed out to all members and we all discussed whether a particular item was a ‘good buy’ or a ‘bad buy’ at the time. We encourage our members to bring items to show and trade but never at the Holiday Meal. It was really nice to have a mini bottle show a few times a year and we always had a raffle bottle or bottles.


In 1996 we had a summer picnic but were unprepared to host a bottle show. We had a few of those picnics in the early years and at least one of them had a live bottle auction. The guys that came from the Hudson Valley Bottle Club, Glenn Baron, Greg Decker, Bill Clarke, Mike Stephano and Jim Becker loved the idea of an auction, barbecue and steamed clams. We even had a summer picnic at Squibb Park in New Brunswick and some barbecuing and bottle trading was done there.


Our bottle shows were held on the first Sunday in February every year starting in 1997. I was the show chairman for the entire 19 year run of ‘The South River Show’ held at the KofC Hall on 88 Jackson Street. Eventually the Hall was demolished to make way for a new firehouse. It was the end of an era. Bob Strickhart took over the reigns as show chairman and quickly cleared his first major hurdle of finding a new location that was as big as our ‘airplane hangar’. Bob moved the show to the Manville VFW Hall. It was even bigger and it was very closely reminiscent of our previous location. The show again had good lighting, plenty of room and a bottle friendly atmosphere. Bob ran the show for 2 years and did a great job in transitioning the event from South River to Manville and thereby preventing its loss. The show is presently run by Kevin Kyle and John Lawrey and they are also doing a great job in keeping the event going strong. I know many people look forward to the show on Super Bowl Sunday, but we never planned the show for that day. It was always scheduled for the week after the Super Bowl but due to the events of September 11th, 2001 the NFL schedule was moved back a week and the big game fell onto our show date. No one seemed to mind, it made for lots of fun over the years.

The club was also involved with the Batsto Antique and Bottle Show in September from about 2005 – 2014. Paul Del Guercio was the show chairman, a position he has held for the past 35 years. Paul’s tireless efforts have ensured a September Batsto Antique and Bottle show for 4 decades, regardless of any changes in Wharton State Park policy, procedure or supervision. Both Paul and I have had to work closely with Park supervision and staff to make sure the event would continue year after year. Paul did the boots on the ground work of ordering, painting and putting up signs all over South Jersey and I requested permits for State Land use, sent out the contracts and paid all fees for rental of State Property and any other services related to the show. Presently, and for about the past 5 years, there is a Spring antique and bottle show held in May at Batsto Village and it also is a success.

As if South River and Batsto were not enough the club started a show in Millville from 2009 to 2011 at the Millville Elks Lodge. These were great times and we even had the Wheaton Arts Glass Blowers set up there, at a show, as they had done for us several times at Batsto shows. We had plenty of bills from Suburban Propane back in those days. That was one of the provisos, the glass blowers supplied the furnace, tools and personnel and the club supplied the venue and the propane. Everything worked out well and show goers loved the glass blowing demonstrations. Eventually we had to let the Millville show go due to a drop in attendance and the sheer amount of work it took to keep 3 shows going every year.


In June 2015 the New Jersey Antique Bottle Club was dissolved. The Federal EIN Tax Number and NJ Sales Tax Number were both inactivated and the club ceased to exist largely in part to low meeting attendance and a general lack of interest. One thing that always rang true about the club was the amount of volunteer participation for the annual show at the Knights of Columbus. We had a great show crew from set up to clean up and thanks go out to all who participated. We used our show profits to fund such activities as the glass blowing demonstrations and donations to local area law enforcement, first aid squads and glass related establishments such as Wheaton Village.


Past Club Meetings

Brickliner Newsletter

These two news letters were created by Matt Waholek. Out long time News Letter editor was Joan Longo from Middletown, NJ and she faithfully produced a high quality newsletter monthly for almost 15 years. If anyone has any copies please scan and send them to me for posting here on this page.

Volume 1, Number 1 - Jan. / Feb. 2014

Volume 1, Number 2 - Mar. / Apr. 2014