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            You didn't win this auction, glassluster.  

Each edition of SOTW will begin with some stats on sales in the past 28 days* to give us all a sense of where the hobby is going.  In the past four weeks, 283 pre-pro glass listings ended, 66 closed with no bidder, average price of the glasses that sold was $73.32.   54 glasses sold for >$100, none sold for >$1,000. 

This is going to be a somewhat unusual SOTW in that it focuses on a single eBay member - bluroc.  I started compiling it before Christmas (the stats above were run at that time) but got severely distracted by the fact that my credit card was smoldering and emitting small pink flames.  This was a direct result of having been swiped way too many times during the usual spending orgy that takes place at this time of year.  So, rather than wishing you all a Merry Christmas, I must instead wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and offer the hope that you'll need to add at least one new display case to the living-room wall in order to accommodate all the fabulous  picture glasses that you'll find in your travels during 2013! 

Well, we might as well start out the year with a dream, right?!

 
Then:  $77
(Oct. 13, 2002)
Now: $225
(buy-it-now)

http://www.pre-pro.com/ first came online on Oct 28, 2002 and the first uncharacteristically spartan edition of SOTW went live a day later, and it seemed appropriate to mark the ten-year anniversary with a special SOTW.  That first edition featured one of the best glasses that the hobby has to offer - a Sunrise Rye.  It was won by bluroc, a name that has since graced the pages of virtually every edition of SOTW since that time.   How appropriate then that, ten years later, bluroc put the exact same glass back on eBay and sold it to lakerdude33 in a buy-it-now (above). 

The Sunrise was just one of almost 80 glasses that bluroc listed during the course of 3 successive Sunday evenings immediately prior to Christmas, most of which then sold in bins or following a 7-day listing.   What makes these auctions so notable is that the majority of the featured glasses were a) extremely rare, b) in pristine condition, and c) had been won at auction on eBay (and many featured in SOTW) at various times over the past ten years.   This offers us a unique opportunity to test the veracity of one of the Poobah's central collecting tenets, that the rare and valuable glasses hold their value like no others.

bluroc is Kevin Wade; if you're not familiar with his name, then check out his Collector Showcase and read about how he got into the hobby in an article he wrote for Random Shots.  Kevin had been a regular on eBay for some time before the Poobah joined and had already established a reputation for himself as restricting his interest to pre-pro glasses in mint condition.  He was also famous for  flattening his competition regardless of closing price.   The inevitable consequence of the latter trait is that he occasionally ended up with many extremely expensive glasses, but a quick glance at his showcase pages should be sufficient to convince even the jaundiced collectors that this strategy allows one to put together a museum-quality collection that one would never tire of seeing on display.  Kevin also keeps his collection size under tight control, and the constant whittling and paring means that its "Gobsmack Index" (for want of a better way of describing a collection's visual appeal) only continues to increase with time.

Before embarking on a survey of glasses that sold recently, here's another bluroc win from 2006 that's currently running on eBay. The closing price on the pasteled enamel below (left) was staggering, even by today's standards.  After receiving the glass and inspecting it, Kevin returned because he believed it to be a fantasy glass.  You can see some of the reasons for such a conclusion in the discussion from the 2006 edition of SOTW and currently in the chat room.  Seven years later, bottlewizard has relisted the glass and the bid price is currently standing at $102.  It would make a pretty addition to the collection for curiosity value alone, but potential bidders should be aware that "not all is as it might appear" if the seller's listing is to be believed.

Then:  $710
(March 19, 2006)
Now: ???
(
bid price currently $102.50)

 

Here's a random sampling of 14 glasses from the group that bluroc listed for sale in recent weeks.  Most of these were sold in buy-it-nows; it's possible they might have sold for considerably more had they been in open auction, but we can be confident that at least one person was willing to pay the asking price, even when the asking price seems steep.

First up is the Auto Rye, from New York.  There's a very similar glass in the database, the latter bearing the name of Ed Hirschhorn (also NYC), and both are extremely rare glasses.  $212 seemed a lot to pay in 2008 and $250 is pricey even now, but the pre-pro years saw the birth of the auto industry and there's tremendous potential crossover collecting appeal to these glasses. 
Then:  $212.49
(September 28, 2008)
Now: $250
(buy-it-now)
 
The Bohemian Club showed up on eBay a year go and sold for $158.  Kevin listed it at a loss, but this is an old glass with both a Detroit and Loretto name on it, so it's a no-brainer for $125.  Plus it's probably a Truog glass, although there is no obvious GT signature.  Pretty glass regardless - this one goes in the Poobah's top 1% case.
Then:  $158.72
(November 10, 2011)
Now: $125
(buy-it-now)
 
The Carmen is a fabulous example of a very old (late 1800's) and signed Truog glass.  It displays poorly because it really is acid-etched (as opposed to being stamped with a vitreous label intended to mimic an acid etch), but this is one of historical interest that should definitely hold its value well over time.
Then:  $129.00
(June 12, 2002)
Now: $305
(auction)
 
Kevin stole this Diplomat in a bin a year ago - dendirtyd listed a bunch of pre-pro glasses that sold quickly, this being the best of them.  It's a classic Kansas City glass and in mint condition - it could easily bring $350 or more in the right circles. 

We had an identical glass on the sales page not too long ago that was essentially wrapper-mint - a once in a lifetime glass.  This one is not quite so good, but still one that would be last to go when breaking down a collection. 

Then:  $32.00
(October 25, 2011)
Now: $200
(buy-it-now)
 
Horting's Safe glasses have always been popular.  The etched image is so typically pre-pro-quirky which makes it attractive in its own right, but its Lancaster origins gives it extra appeal to collectors from a state renowned for the bee-zarre. 
Then:  $52.03
(May 13, 2004)
Now: $153.50
(auction)
 
The Monument Tap is another classic pre-pro glass and I well remember this one listing and selling ten years ago.  This is an unlisted glass that would have jumped off the pages of HSG or OASG had it appeared there, permanently embedding itself in even a fledgling glassluster's mind.  $200 seems like a steal, but still a nice profit on the original investment.
Then:  $69.06
(May 19, 2002)
Now: $200
(buy-it-now)
 
Enamels are tricky glasses to value.  Ten years ago, prices were being driven principally by junkmoney, who had a passion for this type of fancy glass.  Bill routinely drove final bids on enamels up to around $400.  Nowadays, interest in them has waned and $100-$200 is a more common sales price.  The Old Fisherman at left has, as Kevin mentioned in his listing, probably been ground down to eliminate rim damage, but the white enamel has been enhanced with pastels which makes it worth the $200 asking price.  To the Poobah at least.
Then:  $71.00
(October 17, 2005)
Now: $200
(buy-it-now)
 
Here's a regular white enamel glass that failed to attract much interest at an initial asking price of $250.  This and a companion unlisted enamel sold to atakeda, who must have a boatload of them by now given his bidding history.  Another glass guaranteed to hold its value given the rarity of enamels as a group.
Then:  $258.88
(November 7, 2004)
Now: $262.77
(auction)
 
This one surprised me - the Old Prentice is a nice glass that shows up on a fairly regular basis.  I thought it would go unsold, but apparently it's worth $175 nowadays!  Nice return on the investment, and another classic pre-pro glass.
Then:  $63.66
(November 2, 2005)
Now: $175
(buy-it-now)
 
The Pelham pooches (thank you Arky Joe) have to be a steal given how sales prices on picture glasses are trending at the moment.  bluroc lost a little on this one when shipping and the various ebay fees are factored in; I could easily see it selling for $250 if lakerdude were interested in flipping it. 

 

Then:  $172.50
(October 11, 2010)
Now: $175
(buy-it-now)
 
I'm not sure everyone would agree with me on this one (silence, nay-sayers, that was not an invitation to hurl abuse), but to me this is an iconic glass that has haunted me ever since bluroc picked it off eBay back in 2004.  $250 seems steep, but I was more than happy to have snagged this one while I could.  Beautiful glass.
Then:  $87.68
(March 14, 2004)
Now: $250
(buy-it-now)
 
This one also surprised me, mainly because tonics are seen as being less desirable than regular shots, although beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.  Had I had to guess, I would have said $75 was a fair price, so Kevin has to be pleased with this sale!  It is one of the few known tonic picture glasses and makes an interesting addition to the display shelf if you have room for it.
Then:  $37.03
(January 20, 2002)
Now: $125
(buy-it-now)
 
I've always been a little leery of these orange enamels -- the Victoria comes in a couple of  different flavors (orange and yellow) and there's two orange Golden Weddings, but they give me pause because they look as if they are inscribed mechanically rather than by hand, and because they could well have Canadian origins and date to the Prohibition years.  They hold their value well regardless, and make an interesting display case addition.
Then:  $179.19
(February 4, 2005)
Now: $225
(buy-it-now)
 
Finally, here's a Young's Rockingham County, notable mainly for the classic scroll and sunbeam design.  Horrible glass to look at when it gets worn, but good examples are wonderful to behold.  It was probably a bargain at $42 in 2009 and still a good buy in 2012.
Then:  $41.60
(April 7, 2009)
Now: $125
(buy-it-now)
 

So what do we make of all of this?  Can one adopt the bluroc strategy of buying uncommon or rare picture and fancy glasses, provided that they're in excellent condition and be reassured that they'll be worth the investment?  It certainly pays off in terms of providing satisfaction in owning a superior collection of display glasses, but is that enjoyment tempered by doubt at having racked up credit card debt?  

To find out, I totted up the price Kevin paid for 43 glasses on eBay at various times during the past ten years; the total came to just under $3,300.  The exact same glasses sold in recent weeks for around $6,200.    As a rule of thumb, inflation causes the price of everything to double once very 10 years, so we might conclude that buying top-of-the-line glasses to enjoy for several years, even if they come at premium prices, is indeed an essentially sound collecting strategy.  Of course this conclusion assumes that interest in pre-pro glasses holds for another decade, because if our collecting community dwindles, so too will the value of glasses.  I hope I'm still around in 2023 to write a ten-year update!

 

Since this is SOTW, how about a pick for SOTW in the face of such riches?

It seems appropriate to end on yet another bluroc win, and this blue-etched Birchwood seems like a fitting choice.   The color blue on a shot glass is about as rare as it is in nature; I know of only a handful of examples.   This glass also comes in the standard white, red, blue-green, and black, and all make fabulous display glasses.  oldwhiskey thought he was in with a chance with a $262 snipe, but to no avail and  bluroc nabbed it cleanly for $267.22.   The Poobah is getting used to this by now....

Grrrrrrr.

 

 

"Rare, blue-etched shot glass out of Northern, Kentucky for the Birchwood Distillery.

Two chips on the back near the rim pretty strong otherwise with pretty much minty etching.

Stands 2 and 1/8 inches tall."

 

That's all folks - happy hunting - and don't forget to check out the latest listings on the sales page here at pre-pro

You'll find a fine selection of glasses that I'm currently listing on behalf of five different collectors.  There are approx 100 glasses listed for sale present and I have another 550 or so to work through, so check back daily to catch the best and rarest!  The good ones sell within hours, so you have to be quick off the mark!

See y'all on ebay!

Note that you can browse many previous 
choices for SOTW in the Archives.

 

*SOTW: Wednesday December 20, 2012
 
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