Bodnar’s to Auction the History of NJ Dairies
On a September day in 2021, Auctioneer Joseph Bodnar and his crew drove into a quiet neighborhood in Long Branch, NJ, and walked up to the door to pick up items that Mark Conover Sr. had spent his lifetime collecting. Although Joe had seen the collection, his crew had no idea what they were about to see. As they descended the stairs to the basement, they were amazed at what was in front of them. Every wall had been custom-built with shelving to house the collection of milk bottles that he had spent his life collecting. Each and every NJ dairy bottle was perfectly placed in alphabetical order from A to Z, lined the walls of the entire basement, and was even tucked away under the stairs! This was Mark’s Museum; his lifetime’s work, and it was obvious how much pride he took in it.
Mark had passed away in February and had left this collection, perhaps better described as a legacy, to his children. He had started collecting as a child when a neighbor in his Atlantic Highlands home began telling him the history of the town they called home. His interest was piqued, and he began to dig for old bottles in an area his neighbor had told him about. That was all it took. A lifetime love was born. He would find old bottles and then go to the local library to research them. He loved finding out how old the bottles were and the information on where they came from.
As the years passed, he focused more on going to trade shows where he became friends with his fellow collectors, and when the internet came, he could buy, sell and trade bottles all over the country. His collection did not just focus on dairy and milk bottles of all shapes and sizes. It encompasses every aspect of dairies. He had an extremely large collection of bottle caps in every shape, size, and composition you can think of. He also had binders of ephemera relating to NJ dairies, including calendars dating back to the turn of the century, receipts, photos, postcards, and so much more. There are tools used at dairies, wax bottles, patches, and buttons. This is truly the history of NJ dairies. Over 4,500 bottles will be offered, most having their original tops from that dairy as well as paper sleeves. There are very few duplicates in this collection with some color variations and error bottles. All bottles are in group lots of 10 and are still in the order of how Mark placed them on his shelves!
Grab some Cookies & Milk and start Bidding! Bidding is now open online, and the sale will take place on April 27th and 28th; both sales start at 11 am with a live broadcast online so you can feel like you’re at the live auction! Bidding will be offered on Bodnar’s Auction website, LiveAuctioneers, and Invaluable. An in-person preview will be held Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 10:00 am-4:00 pm by appointment only in Monmouth Junction, NJ. Local pick-up and most items will ship with their in-house shipping department. For more details, to book an appointment, or to bid, contact us today.