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You didn't win this auction, glassluster. Poor baby, there, there.

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, 235 pre-pro glass auctions closed, 58 closed with no bidder, average price of the glasses that sold was $34.23.   8 glasses sold for >$100, none sold for >$1,000. 

It's July 7 and most of the country is locked in a triple-digit heat wave, what better time to be surfing the 'Bay in search of glass! 

The Memorial-Day-to-Labor-Day summer season traditionally marks a general decline in the number of glasses listing and collectors competing for meagre offerings - a time for the diligent to pick up prime glasses at bargain prices while their competitors sit poolside with a cool beverage.   If you follow the sales stats (above), you'll know that the number of glasses listing during the dog days of summer typically drops to around 140 per month.  Not this year however.  While the average sales price has dropped dramatically compared with last month, the silly-season that recently ended unleashed a flurry of glass that persists even into the traditional lull. 

This summer is notable not only for the number of glasses on offer, but also the sheer number of previously-unknown glasses.  As of now, I've logged over 4,000 unique glasses into the shot-glass database, 5,902 unique glasses into the sales database - more than half of which are not in the former - and Barb Edmonson adds perhaps 3,000 more in HSG and OASG.  That makes - er -  ('scuse me while I take my socks off) - over 10,000 unique glasses and no end in sight. 

So you're one of those collectors who wants to own one of each?   "Yes!! That would be me!!!" proclaims the Poobah!  Hmmm.  10,000 is a sobering number.  What does one tell the wife?  

The cumulative winners list includes most of the usual suspects, although the cast of characters that constitute the "usual suspects" continues to evolve.  eBay regulars now include 2010bucky1, codeman1990, and piratesmalley.  The Scooter changed his name from s1c2o3o4t5e6r7 to whatchagot513 this month - an event that was long overdue considering the mental effort it takes to type "s-1-c-2-o-3-o-4-t-5-e-6-r-7"  into a login box.  One can only imagine:

Collector hunched over glowing computer screen, cup of coffee in left hand, mouse in right hand, surfing the latest listings to appear in the 'Bay.  He's still unshaven, brow creased against the dull ache behind his eyeballs caused by one-too-many drinks the night before.  Thumbnail images of bottles scroll in an endless procession up the screen, but a glass sitting alongside a labeled pint catches his eye and the thumbnails scroll back down in a movie-credit rewind moment.

"....holy CRAP, is that a lug??!!!!  I HAVE to have that!!!!!"

Camera zooms in on screen as the mouse clicks on the link and the listing page loads, with an annoying, 15-sec delay while a massive image of a clear pint bottle of Cornhill Rye and a matching lug shotglass downloads from the cloud. 

The pair are listed with an opening bid of $600 but come with a $750 "Buy-It-Now" option.

Collector sets down his coffee so hard that it spills and puddles on his desk, a thin stream snaking down the edge to pool in his keyboard, floating the clumps of dust and chip crumbs that have collected between the keys. 

"@$$$ *$%^&#" (expletive deleted).

The mouse shoots jerkily to the upper of the three blue buying-option buttons, overshoots, and then  clicks on "Buy It Now".  A sign-in page appears. 

"Welcome to eBay Sign in.

Sign in to your account.

Back for more fun?  Sign in now to buy, bid, or sell, or to manage you account"

"@$$$ *$%^&#" (expletive deleted).

Camera now hovers over keyboard as two fingers hesitantly pick out the User ID "s-1-c-2-o-3-4-o-t-5-e-6-r-7"  and then password "", ignores the "Keep me signed in" box, and the mouse cursor slams "SIGN in".  Hesitation, then the page kicks back empty a login box and an error message "Your user ID or password is incorrect." 

"@$$$ *$%^&#" (expletive deleted).

After two more login spelling mishaps, the combination of User ID and Password finally succeeds and the Buy-It-Now proceeds, but then, calamity, is thwarted by a "Transaction Blocked" error message framed by red box and exclamation mark, with an apologetic message " Sorry, this item may no longer be available ".

"@$$$ *$%^&#mm, @$$$ *$%^&#, @$$$ *$%^&#" (expletives deleted, screen fades to black).

So what is it with Kansas City these days?  For some reason, KC glasses are now as golden as those from the Golden State with prices to match.  The Old Chief at right is a good example - it's a nice glass and rare, but basically just a text-only glass with minor embellishments (the city is shown on the lowest line, not visible in the listing photo). 

Whatever the reason,  the Old Chief auction turned into a two-way snipe-off between nippi68 and akakckk, the former prevailing with a bid of $152.


Hayner glasses are as common as - well - Hayner glasses (the most common of all pre-pro glasses), but interest in everything Hayner and prices on both common and rarer glasses has been rising steadily in recent years. 

The slider at left is not a glass but it was intended for tippling purposes and, thus, qualifies for inclusion here.  When new, it would have sat on top of a bottle, covering the cap.  This example is pretty beat up, but I've only ever seen four examples and so the closing price of $100.00 was perhaps not unexpected; the winning bid was placed by a Hayner descendent.

Back in the days when the FOHBC's monthly magazine "Bottles and Extras" embraced the inclusion of "Extras" rather than "Bottles, More Bottles, and Ads" , I used to write a column for them that was palmed off on me by the late Howard Currier.  One edition of "Random Shots" featured metal shots, in which I stated that the Hayner slider has to be pre-pro since the Hayner name did not survive Prohibition. 

Since that time, however, I discovered that Hayner spirits continued to be bottled and sold throughout Prohibition and beyond Repeal, being bottled by and sold under the Hayner banner by Pennsylvania Distillery Inc.  An example of one such bottle is shown at left - the contents were distilled in 1914 but bottled in 1934.

I now believe that the Hayner slider, like all the other aluminum sliders, dates to post-1920 and perhaps even post-Repeal.  It would be nice to see a dated ad with one of these sliders being sold in situ so that we can get a better idea of age.

And now, fellow glasslusters, we have a little diversion into early pre-pro history.  The vast majority of the 10,000 shot glasses we know and love date to the 1900-1918 period.  I'm not sure of exact dates, but that's a good enough range for our purposes.  We do know of a few glasses from prior to 1900 - the Victor's Liver Syrup and A M Smith of Minneapolis providing us with classic and conveniently dated examples (both dated 1897).  This time period also marked a transition from true acid-etching to use of a vitreous powder to label glasses (most collectors have the acid-etched Fulton glass and perhaps a Pan American Buffalo glass, but the rest in your display case are not acid etched). 

Relatively few advertising items of any kind survive from the early pre-pro era, partly because advertising was so limited.  This past month witnessed auctions of some older and rare pre-pro collectibles, including a collection of bottle labels culled from an album dated 1887.  You can find them all by searching "lencity's" completed auctions, but here's three of the finest.  The "Pioneer Bourbon" from Bininger of New York sold for $142.50, the "Zouave Bourbon" (the name "Zouave" is derived from French army regiments raised in North Africa) for $167.56, and the Wylie & Co. "Old Plantation" sold for $61.06.  Pre-pro bottle labels in excellent condition are hard to come by.  The later ones (1900's) typically sell in the $10-$30 range, but labels this old (i.e. 19th century) and in such good condition are extremely rare, hence the premium prices.  Neat, huh?  But "Old Plantation" and "Zouave" are not names we associate with shot glasses.

The shot at left also appeared on eBay in recent weeks.  Not much to look at - one side is engraved with a brand name "Thistle Dew", the other with the name of a dealer, "W. O. H. Martin / RENO, NEV." 

Thistle Dew is a brand from days gone by.  Although it did survive to appear in more traditional labeling format on a glass that I featured in a SOTW back in 2007, the popularity it attained in the 1800's was eclipsed by other brands in the 1900's.  

There is so much bogus lore on the web that it's difficult to be certain exactly what the history of the brand was, but the story goes something like this.  Thistle Dew was reputedly a Scotch whisky produced in Philadelphia by three Gaff brothers, whose parents had emigrated from Scotland.  They subsequently moved production to Aurora, IN., and the brand was later (late 1800's) picked up by Henry W Smith & Co. of Cincinnati, OH, with whom the Gaffs had a business association. 

The story becomes clearer now, because Smith was advertising heavily in newspapers, which allows us to separate fact from lore (Chuck Hoots put me onto this invaluable free-access resource at the Library of Congress: check it out) . 


Already popular in the east, Smith established representatives throughout the west and (amazingly) in Hawaii to distribute and promote what was now known as "Kentucky Thistle Dew Whiskey".  Was it a scotch-style whisky?  Difficult to know without sampling it.

In Hawaii, it was distributed by Freeth and Peacock, in Denver by Brasher Bros., in San Francisco by F Mandelbaum, and in  Sacramento by Julius Strutz (so this makes Thistle Dew a Sacramento brand, right Steve?).  Nevada at this time was riddled with mining camps, the mines now long-defunct and the camps ghost towns.  In Reno, which was a major trading center, Thistle Dew was handled by W. O. H. Martin, the name that appears on the glass.  Ads from the time feature the same motif that appear on the shot glass from the earlier edition of SOTW, which quashes any idea that this may have been a Hannah & Hogg product (a possibility that the Poobah had raised in the 2007 SOTW).

Shot glass with the Thistle Dew trademark.

September, 1885 May, 1887  

W O H Martin, who was a prominent civic figure,  died sometime around 1901, but the Thistle Dew brand seems to have already lost favor by the 1890's given the lack of promotional material from 1889 on. 

So the likelihood is that the engraved W O H Martin glass above dates to around 1886.  I can't say I know of another shot glass from Nevada, so bidding on this one seemed like a no-brainer.  Apparently newly (collecting) reborn Arky Joe thought so too, because the final snipeoff featured  oldwhiskey and lakerdude33, with the e-hammer falling at $77.99.

The nagging concern about engraved shots is that someone skilled with a stock of pre-pro blanks could easily start cranking out fantasy glasses; there are several rare CA glasses with engraved labels, and I always thought those would be easy and lucrative targets given collector fascination with the west-coast.  The main argument countering this concern is that collectors have no fondness for engraved labels, and the market would, thus, be extremely limited.

The Reno glass looks genuine given the intricacy of the engraving, but the offering below raised a red flag as soon as it listed:

The text reads Schroeder's Saloon, 55ST - 2nd Ave, 1914 (supposedly New York) but the engraving is so clumsy it looks like something I could have accomplished using a cheap Dremel from The Home depot.

A closer reading of the listing shows that it's not a shot glass but a large, rocks-type glass twice the size of a shot.  I can't imagine anyone taking a vintage glass and then engraving it with the intent of deceiving collectors and making money off it, so  I have to conclude that it is original and perhaps a one-off? 

There's a story here somewhere, methinks

So what about a pick for Shot of the Week....?

I was torn this time between two glasses. 

The Mountain Brook at right is from Marysville, CA.  We have a similar glass in the database (white and red-etched), a listing from the Ken Schwartz collection, but the white-frosted one shown here is unlisted.  Nice glass - lakerdude nabbed it for $167.28, which is getting to seem like bargain-hunter territory these days.

But I think I have to go with the McGinnis Pure Rye from Baltimore, MD.  It's a known glass and one that's shown up on eBay before (11 years ago), but it's a perfect example of pre-Pro glass design with its old-tyme text and curlicues and frosted seal etched with a transparent monogram.  A perfect display glass.  Since it's from Baltimore, it was chased around by a number of bidders, but ultimately The Scooter took it down for $115.49.

Congratulations to the winner!


Nice etched shot glass from McGinnis Pure Rye Whiskey.

From the information that I found the company was in Baltimore MD and the distillery was in Carrollton MD. The time line on the company was from 1905 - 1912.

They used the company name A McGinnis Co. from 1905 - 1908. I think this is when the glass was made because in the shield it has AMGCO. Glass is 2-3/16" tall.

The scratch in the picture is on the back and is about 3/16" long and the little spot that you can see in the one picture, I'm not sure if it was from when it was made or it happened later. It looks like it has four of these little spots / dings around the rim."


That's all folks - happy hunting and see y'all on eBay....

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


SOTW: Monday July 9, 2012
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