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New Zealand Miniature Bottle Club

NZMBCMember - David Smith

I was born in the UK in 1951 and emigrated to Wellington, New Zealand in 1978. We bought a house with a small but rather uninspiring bar. The counter top was painted orange, there was an orange plasic shade to the light and the fridge filled up most of the room under the bar counter. I tiled the top of the counter, put up a nice light fitting, and did the smallest ever house extension when I banged a hole in an outside wall to build a wine rack with a fridge space below it. That left room under the bar for some booze and glasses. It looked good but there was a bare white wall behind the bar. To decorate this I built a small shelf and put some miniatures on it - the rest, as they say, is history!

I guess I became a serious collector when I had about 80 bottles and then, at an auction in Wellington, bought another 85. I probably had about 300 bottles when I joined the club in August 1981 (6 months after it was founded) and have been a member ever since. I have been on the club committee continuously since 1981, most of that time as either miNiZ editor (I claim credit for coming up with the name) or President. I am miNiZ editor and webmaster at present.

I was a plant and machinery valuer (appraiser) all my working life but retired in April 2011. My work took me throughout New Zealand and often overseas (I was in MacKay in Queensland, Australia as I was writing the original version of this), which is ideal for a mini bottle collector. I also enjoy touring holidays and have often had overweight hand luggage on the way back! (Unfortunately you can no longer do that with the maxumum now of 100ml of liquids in your carry on luggage). Following the death of my first wife in late 1998 I took a year off work in 1999/2000 and spent my time driving a motorhome around North America. The collection increased considerably and it was great fun meeting collectors that I had previously only corresponded with and catching up with old collecting friends that I had previously met at the Californian and St. Louis shows.

I started Miniature Bottle Library in 2009. It was always intended that this be a site for all miniatures but I started off with ceramics and fancy glass. I intended to keep uploading these type of bottles only, with other collectors uploading 'straights.' It has not worked out that way and I am now busy uploading 'straight' bottles, country by country and company by company - a task I will never complete! Currently (March 2018) there are over 109,000 bottles shown but I know that this is only a small fraction of the bottles out there - well under 50%. I have had good support with collectors sending photos (more are always welcome) and from collectors sending me corrections.

Like most collectors, my collection has changed over the years. I started as a collector of any type of mini, but you soon learn that that is just a way of filling all availiable space in the house. I now collect in four areas; New Zealand bottles, microminis, ceramics (and figural glass or plastic) and Jim Beam personalised bottles. I have over 10,800 in total, all of which can be seen on my Collection site (other than maybe a few new additions). I moved house in 2003 and managed to build a new (larger) bar and a much larger bottle room. Visitors are always welcome.

Contact Details

Website: (My Collection)

Website: (My Bottles For Sale)

Website: (A never ending project)


My Favorite Bottle

Very hard to say as I have so many that I really like. I got this set for Christmas 2006 from Rosie, my wife, and it is my favorite set. The 6 bottles depict the 'Shriner' Circus and were made by McCormick for the Shriners in 1983. The set came complete with the circus tent. The bottles were made in the US (most US ceramics are made in Japan or Taiwan) and the quality is superb. I have made a display of these with my other circus minis and am on the hunt for more.

Click on the image below for David's favorite bottle