CARLOS LOPEZ "carlopeto"
Hello -- I have been asked by a few friends to include myself in this section, in order to share my
story about my collection of mini bottles. Hence, I am replying to a few standard questions.
Click here to see carlopeto's displays of figural mini bottles
How long have you been collecting miniature liqueur bottles?
Carlos: I used to collect straight glass mini bottles in the past, for about 5 years.
But my collection really took off since I decided to focus only on ceramic & figural mini bottles.
This second phase started only near the end of 2002, when I relocated to Chicago.
How many bottles do you have?
Carlos: I have no clue.
Remember, I collect figurals, not straight glass nor contents. I do not classify them by whisky, vodka,
cognac, etc. I focus on the container, not the contents.
Therefore, in my case quantity is not important. All figural collectors' aim is to complete the set.
If you are missing one on a set of 8, you'll pay a lot of money for it. There is no way you are going
to lose it. This behavior drives prices up to ridiculous levels on eBay.
So.... how many do I have? I don't know and I don't care.
However, you can count them on this website! (bearing in mind that I have uploaded about 65%
of my minis so far, not counting the large ones. Start counting!
As for the large bottles, I only collect those that have a version in miniature.
I it is nice to display the large one next to its mini counterpart.
Where and how did you start?
Carlos: Well.... because of my international career and my frequent traveling, I used to get mini bottles on
airplanes, as well as in the minibars in hotel rooms. I found them cute, so I started to accumulate them.
They looked nice in the bar in my house in Cape Town, South Africa.
I did not focus on any type in particular. That's why, even though I got rid of 80% of my straight glass
bottles, I am still stuck with a lot of "junk".
People say "once a collector, always a collector". Absolutely true!
You will notice on my website that I have around 1,800 owls. That was my previous collection, which I started
in Peru, took to South Africa, and grew substantially in Virginia, USA. Can you imagine the nightmare to
the movers, when I relocated from Potomac, Maryland to Chicago, Illinois? They had to wrap thousands
of fragile owls. I did the unwrapping at home.
Incredibly, I stopped collecting owls once I arrived in Chicago, and focused on the figural mini bottles.
So literally the bottle collection you see on this website started only 3 years ago.
Apart from mini bottles and owls, I also used to collect coins, bank notes, cigarette cases, stamps,
music CD's, movies on video (VHS and DVD), mini pianos, caricatures, magazines, etc, etc, etc...
But now it is only the figural mini bottles!
click above: a sample of carlopeto's collection of OWLS
Which are your favorite bottles?
Carlos: Unfortunately, I have too many favorites (it can get expensive). To mention a few:
Schafer & Vater giveaways
The Drioli "cousins" (Luxardo, Brams, Boccaccio, Gagliano, Ida)
French porcelain (Larsen, Mab, Droz, Garnier, Hine, Cazanove, Renault, Chabot, Pascal Dumont, etc)
Dutch figurals (Bols, Rynbende, Hulstkamp)
Royal Goedewaagen buildings and houses
click above: a few of carlopeto's displays of figural mini bottles
How would you describe yourself as a collector?
Carlos: Crazy, irrational, silly.
Where do you find most of your bottles?
Carlos: Nowadays, mostly on eBay and trading with friends.
I assure you, a lot of people 'hate' the 'infamous' carlopeto on eBay.
Unfortunately, normally you don't find ceramic figurals at liquor stores.
Believe it or not, during my 20 years of international traveling around the world
(been to over 60 countries), I NEVER spent time visiting liquor stores.
Only once in my life: just dedicated 20 minutes to visiting a liquor store in Budapest,
Hungary. And I found a nice set of 10 Hungarian houses (similar to the KLM ones,
but colorful, depicting typical houses in Budapest, which actually do exist in the city).
This sounds hard to believe, but I missed out a lot by not buying minis while abroad.
I hope I can go to Montevideo soon to get a nicely shaped bottle I am missing
What is limiting your ability to grow your collection even further?
Carlos: 1) Space!! The number one enemy of all collectors.
2) the limited availability of ceramic figural mini bottles.
My wife does not allow me to "invade" the house with bottles, so my collection is confined
to one room only, where I keep everything related to my ridiculous hobbies.
click above: a partial view of carlopeto's private room for his collections