Huddersfield collector Ian Kilroy gets £1,200 for this old bottle of Ben Shaws pop

There's gold in them thar hills...

Historic Ben Shaws bottle changes hands for four-figure sum
Historic Ben Shaws bottle changes hands for four-figure sum

 

There's gold in them thar hills...

Well, not quite, but it could well be something glistening that’s worth a good deal of money.

An historic bottle found on a former Huddersfield tip has just changed hands for £1,200.

The bottle, complete with a glass stopper, is thought to date from the early days of the famous Huddersfield drinks company, Ben Shaws.

The company’s bottles are prized by collectors such as Ian Kilroy, of Waterloo, who has been searching for them for years.

But he and others are reluctant to disclose exactly where the bottles can be found.

“If we made it public, it would be like the Klondike.

“People would be turning up with excavators to turn over whole banks and areas of land looking for bottles.

Mr Kilroy, 49, said the old Ben Shaws pop bottle changed hands at the weekend in a private deal for £1,200.

The bottle was a Netherwood and Shaws patent and it was used in the 1870s.

He said: “We believe it was patented by Ben Shaw himself, along with a Mr Netherwood about whom little is known.

“We believe he was an engineer by trade and was possibly a friend of Ben Shaw. Many companies using bottles tried to come up with different designs.

“The ones like this with a stopper had to be pulled shut with a hook and that often damaged the neck of the bottle. It is rare to find one in such good condition.

“The old bottle collecting hobby continues to go from strength to strength, with groups on the internet and massive interest from abroad.

“The prices and demand for these bottles and related items has grown steadily over the years. People in America, Australia and Japan seem to have a huge appetite for our old bottles, and new countries are showing interest at a fast pace.

“The price paid for this bottle is thought to be the highest realised for a Huddersfield area bottle.”

Mr Kilroy began to collect bottles as a young boy when he found some in a field behind his home.

Since then he has amassed a collection running into many hundreds – often found on former tips in Huddersfield.

Many of the tips from the last century and even earlier have long since been closed, levelled and developed.

“We don’t like to release too many details about the sites as we try to work with landowners and always ask their permission before we search.

“It is a fascinating glimpse of the past.”

Ben Shaws opened a factory in Birkby in 1894 when it was described as “one of the finest mineral water manufactories in the Kingdom”.

The company, which was founded in 1871, started bottling water from a borehole at the site in the 1930s.

The firm became famous for its pop brands, including Cream Soda, Yellow Lemonade and Dandelion & Burdock.

 
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