Bottle Show to be held February 17 and 18
Collecting bottles was a means to an end for Harvey Teal. He thought if he could offer the Rev. Bill Cloer a desirable enough old whiskey bottle, the good pastor would trade him the three–page letter he had written in the hand of Thomas Jefferson. He described to someone how to get to Milledge, GA, and which inns to stay in and which to avoid. Cloer had taken the letter to Alex Salley, SC archivist. “When I went over to see it, I saw that he had some dispensary bottles. I thought since he liked bottles, I might be able to talk him into trading if I had bottles he wanted. He wouldn’t do it, though, Teal said.
Teal went looking for bottles on a Saturday afternoon around his Kershaw County property. “I went to an abandoned farmstead whose former residents were known to have imbibed over the years. I had been there about a half an hour when I found, just laying on top of the ground, a Palmetto quart round dispensary bottle,” said Teal.
The next weekend he found 12 dispensary bottles, then it became tougher. Teal likes the process of searching and the contacts made along the way as much as finding a rarity.
Over the past three decades, Teal has been an avid collector and a founder of the popular bottle show and sale to run Friday, February 17 from noon to 6 pm, and Saturday, February 18 from 9 am to 1 pm at the Meadowlake Park, a Richland County Recreation facility near Blythewood. The show also features small antiques, pottery, old books and photographs.
Teal said the bottle show draws collectors from the close–knit statewide network as well as from other states. “We have them come from as far away as New York City. There are people who plan their vacations to coincide with the show. We regularly have people from NC, TN, VA, AL, and GA,” said Teal.
The event features 150 vendors who sign up on a first–come, first served basis from throughout the region. It is not only a boon to collectors, but it is also greatly anticipated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbia, the non–profit organization that benefits from the revenues by way of the West Columbia Sertoma Club.
“The Sertoma Club came to us years ago and asked if they could sponsor the show,” recalled the retired educator. Teal headed up the effort to put this alliance in place. “At that time my insurance agent, who covered my bottles, was a Sertoma member. We recognized it as a chance for two organizations to contribute to charity in the Columbia area as well as to generate interest in the bottle show.” Ultimately, that alliance led Teal to become a Sertoma member.
For information about being a vendor or for show information, contact show chairman Jim Edenfield at 803 783-5171. For directions to Meadowlake Park, 600 Beckman Road, call 754-4463.
Harvey Teal co– authored The South Carolina Dispensary 1865–1915 with Rita Foster Wallace. It was released last fall.