|You didn't win this auction, glassluster. You are a sad, pathetic loser.|
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, 158 pre-pro glass auctions closed, 43 closed with no bidder, average price of the glasses that sold was $46.16. 14 glasses sold for >$100, none sold for >$1,000.
This past weekend I finally emerged from the black hole that has been consuming me for the past two years and celebrated by catching up with season 2 of HBO's Treme, which, aptly enough, is from Blown Deadline productions. Blown deadlines has been the story of my life since last August which explains all the missed deadlines on vows to get your favorite website back on track. What's that Dude? Ah, right, point taken, I should say favorite NOT including porn sites. Silly me.
The last edition of SOTW was in February, 2011 and, as you might tell from the stats above, the pre-pro world has been engulfed by a selling tsunami that has caused average sales prices to jump from around $30 to around $50. The number of glasses selling in the $100 range has coincidentally leapt two- or three-fold. Is this increase real or a bubble? I think we've always known that pre-pro glasses are undervalued and that there was the potential for values to explode, but has that time arrived? Only time will tell, but given the price rise has been is fueled and is now sustained largely by a couple of bidders, well..... time will tell.
I thought the best way to reboot SOTW was with a summary of the highlights from the past 15 months. I won't be able to link most of the images below in to auctions because most of the listing pages have disappeared off eBay, although I notice some from a year ago are still accessible (see below). So, in the past 60 weeks, 2,109 pre-pro glass auctions closed, 325 closed with no bidder, average price of the glasses that sold was $40.63. 101 glasses sold for >$100, one sold for >$1,000.
|There are many auctions that have completely
mystified me this past year and have made me wonder where our little
collecting world is headed. The glass at left appeared in one of
them and nicely serves as a poster-child for my perplexity and could quite
possibly precipitate an apoplectic seizure (not to mention a mental tongue
cramp) if we were to dwell on it too long.
I have one of these glasses - I picked it up for the princely sum of $8 on November 5, 2006. I remember this, not because November 5 is a day that lives in infamy in British history (and is bizarrely celebrated by igniting large bonfires with stuffed effigies atop and then incinerating foil-wrapped potatoes in their embers, and by terrorizing cats by tossing live firecrackers at them), but because I have it written down.
11-5-2006 was Elkton, MD., bottle-show day.
Elkton hosts a lovely little show that I used to attend on a regular basis when a Northerner, but it is a small show. As in - they could easily move it into a two-stall men's restroom if the vendors didn't mind sitting on the throne all day. The chances of actually finding a pre-pro shot glass at such an event are infinitesimally small, so I almost fell across the sales table and embraced the bristly old gentleman (who clearly had recently emerged from a privvy dig judging by the stains on this shirt and general pallor [and odor]) sitting behind the table like a long-lost cousin in joy at having the chance to pay full price for - well - a gin glass. Worth maybe $5. But, what the heck, it's pre pro. So when the glass above listed for $99.99 recently, I logged it into the database and wondered if I should save the listing for the hee-hee-hee page. It's been that kind of year. Wondering. Watching. Waiting. Wondering yet again. It DID list on April 1 - so I wondered perhaps if it were someone having a little harmless fun with fools.
As expected, the listing fizzled and died an inglorious death on April 7. But, wait! The seller, clearly not familiar with the way that auctions are supposed to work, immediately relisted the glass with a new, improved, higher price of $149.99! Now that's rich, that's ballsy. Or something. But believe it or not, the damn thing sold in a buy-it-now. I don't know if to laugh, or cry, check WebMD for signs and symptoms? What does one make of that? I don't know, but this (as I mentioned above) was just one of many such similar curiosities this past year or so.
I'm including the Log Cabin glass at left in part because it's a fabulous example of a pre-pro picture glass, in part because it's a souvenir rather than a whiskey glass (which typically command much higher prices), and in part because it sold in a good-old traditional slugging match spread out over a course of days rather than the last three nanoseconds of the auction listing (as is more usually the case).
I have no idea where the old log cabin stood in Boston -- I tried to research it without success, so if anyone knows, please enlighten us via the Chat Room. I cached the bidding page to show you the action, which should pop up in a new widow for your delight and delectation: take a look. Deppen tags the glass early as usual and then mrkmitch and churncreek (Ken Schwartz) bludgeon themselves up to a closing value of $204.02. Not bad for a souvenir, huh?
Here's two more eye openers that left the PooBah speechless. Not, not Eye Openers per se, but glasses that sold for way above and beyond anything expected of them a year or so ago. So - if you didn't see these auctions play out, what kind of value would you put on the two glasses below?
The Silver Leaf is rare and in good condition (is that rim damage? Not sure.) and it's from Richmond, VA., so we have to factor in a VA premium. Maybe $80? I have one of these glasses also - I found it at an antique show in PA for $12.00. Paul Van Vactor had a sales table a short distance away, which made the find all the more triumphant because we would have seen it listing under a stilz auction header for sure had I not bagged it. Life. Is. Good.
This particular glass listed back in August of last year and was another classic three-way between bluroc, churncreek and s1c2o3o4t5e6r7. The Scooter took it home for - sit down my friends, you're in for a shock -
I think the "Suspects His Master" shots feature a design that ranks among my pre-pro favorites and they're tough to find. The glass at right above is a highball though, which is usually the kiss of death for a pre-pro glass. Highballs always seem trapped in pre-pro limbo - too tall to appeal to a shot collector (and too tall to fit in the display case) and too much of an ardent spirit to appeal to a beer collector. They usually sell for pennies, the main interest coming from brand collectors -- collectors who hunt Red Top Rye whiskey bottles, corkscrews, shots, highballs, beanie babies, etc. being a classic example. But - these were the old rules. The pouting pooch above triggered a knock-down, drag-out fight between xxxtruk, churncreek, and The Scooter, the latter winning it for $255.00. Hmmmmm.
What would SOTW be without featuring at least one lakerdude33 auction. The Dude, as many of you know, was an eBay regular for many years (and we all have bruised egos and pocketbooks to prove it), but back in July 2010 he was forced by circumstances beyond his control to sell off his entire collection, lock, stock, and display cases. What happened to that collection is a story in itself and I may run an SOTW special on it in the not-too distant future, but his parting words upon riding off into shimmering, humid, haze that is Arkyville were "to let me know if a Gold Dust ever shows up for sale". The Dude has since returned with a vengeance to rebuild his lost collection, which now includes a famed Gold Dust.
The pony at right actually cantered by the website back in January, the owner wanting to know what the value was. To be honest, I had no idea - I've never seen one of these sell in an open market and potentially the sky was the limit, but at least $500. It showed up on eBay a couple of weeks later, and no sooner was it out of the gate than it had three riders - churncreek, lakerdude and The Scooter. This one was a forgone conclusion though, and The Dude walked it back to the paddock for an impressive $898.88.
|Many collectors were following the waterfowl
at right with interest via the chat room. Blue Wings are
reasonably common - I've seen many of them over the years, and they
typically fetch around $80-$120. Old rules out, new rules in - several
bidders tried to pluck the duck during the 7 days the auction ran, but
ultimately it was stuffed, trussed, and hung with a snipe from
greenhead33. How much does duck pâté a la tasse cost?
Sorry, but we really DO have to end with a traditional lug-fest, even if it raises moans from the collective audience, but first I have to slip in this Steal-of-the-Year to show newbie collectors that bargains are still out there to be had if they are prepared to bide their time and hunt the eBay backwaters.
Not the greatest of images, but enough for you to appreciate two rare old enamel glasses, blushing and fluttering beneath their gold curlicues. Enamels traditionally sell for around $250 each - nuffie picked up this bubbling pair for only $102.56 back in November, 2011.
LUGS there were a plenty this past 60 weeks.
|I counted at least 7, including 3
black-on-white Wm Foust's Sons (above). These are the commonest of
all lugs but a lug is a lug and as a breed they are rare and
desirable. Especially to the PooBah. The PooBah likes lugs for
sure and pays particular interest to where they come from and where they
The Red Top Rye shows up on eBay periodically and always attracts a dedicated following of watchers and bidders, just because it's RTR. This one shown at right, which appeared in January of this year, was no exception, eventually closing at $810.00. The winning bid was something of a surprise given all the rim chips and dings evident on this glass - bluroc usually likes them minty mint pure and damage-free, but -- a lug is a lug.
The Hoeller's Family Store is an interesting one- it looks kinda grubby in the listing photo and at first I wasn't even sure it was a lug, which is probably why it didn't attract too much attention. deppen76 and goldhayner nibbled at it, but ultimately it came down to rival bids fielded by oldwhiskey and oldcalhoon, the latter winning it for $565.55.
Which neatly brings us to the interesting tale of the two Guggenheimer Whiskey lugs shown above. The PooBah has not seen one of these little pretties before, so his heart was pounding at the sight of the pristine gold rim and luscious red-on-white label. When the first one listed on Dec 2, 2011 for an opening price of $9.99, we didn't know there that there was another waiting in the wings. The first listing, thus, brought many of the old regulars out of the woodwork (I decoded the usual suspects in the cached bidder list), including azsaloon and glasshopper8. The auction end came seven days later in a three-way snipeomatic face-off between xxxtruk, bluroc, and oldcalhoon. oldcalhoon won it for $965.95.
Two days later, a second precious little glass listed with a more realistic opener of $945. The bidder log shows that The Scooter had bid accidentally and rethunk, followed by xxxtruk, but it was finally felled by a $1,001.66 snipe from oldwhiskey, who clearly must have been nervous or napping when the outcome of auction #1 was being decided. Collecting lugs is getting to be an expensive hobby, I have to say.
The interesting part of all this is that the seller, a very chatty lady with many interesting viewpoints, mentioned that she had picked these two up at an antique fair. She was also curious about all the bidders from Ohio interested in these glasses - in fact the winner had been "Kurt from Ohio". Now how many pre-pro collectors named Kurt from Ohio do we know?
Hmmmmmmmmmm..... curiouser and curiouser.
This is an official edition of SOTW, ....
.....so what about a pick for SOTW from recent days?
Since we're wallowing in lugs at the moment, a lug it must be. Non-US lugs traditionally do not fare very well at auction -- at least when they are on the non-US eBay sites. The glass below is a beautiful Scottish whiskey glass, which is a little taller than a shot -- it's getting into highball territory, which may partly explain why they are not chased with quite the same abandon as shots.
But a lug is a lug, and even the -- gasp -- French lugs sell in the three figures on the US eBay when they appear. The "Dandie Dinmont" below was stolen off the UK eBay for (at today's exchange rates) about $27 -- by goldhayner. NICE catch!
Congratulations to the winner!
Now that we have an updated SOTW, my next task is incorporate all the material that people have sent me for the free-access database, "Found in the Wild" etc., and to list the many glasses that I have been asked to sell for other collectors. This will take a while - I have about 600 glasses waiting to be photographed (see below) and cataloged at the moment, including many pristine glasses from CA. The Bulldog and Old Judge in the pic below are not for sale, but there are many of similar quality from the same collection that will be. Check the sales page and Chat Room for updates.
That's all folks - happy hunting and see y'all on eBay....
Note that you
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SOTW: Tuesday May 15, 2012
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