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  Shots of the Year Item number: 1234567890

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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, 173 pre-pro glass auctions closed, 42 closed with no bidder, average price of the glasses that sold was $33.12.  Ten glasses sold for >$100, including a pre-pro Jack Daniel glass.  There was also a notable lug which has skewed the average price somewhat, not surprising given that it set some kind of record. 

Remarkable to think that we're in 2008 already.  I'm currently laid low with the virus-with-teeth that's making the rounds at the moment, so you may want to disinfect your computer's monitor after reading this.  Atchhooo.... oops, sorry about that, I'll wipe it off...

eBay has been unusually sedate in the months leading up to Christmas.  The Fall silly season never really materialized - true there were a couple of great glasses on offer but none of the usual waves of glass that stir up a bidding frenzy.  I can see that perhaps the current foreclosure crisis is making bidders hold back, but there's not really a lot worth sniping at.   In fact, the general lack of bidders means that some pretty decent glasses are going unsold.  Take the "Compliments of C H Bean" glass shown at right, for example.  True, it has a big bruise in the rim, but if you don't have this in your collection already, it seems a steal at $24.99.  The auction closed yesterday with no bids   (the glass just relisted with a $25.01 bin if anyone is interested: Ed., 1/6/08).

Here's the Jack Daniel glass.  Pre-pro glasses from the Jack Daniel Distilling Co. are uncommon, but they show up once a year so.  The company has a global following, so there's always plenty of people willing to part with serious cash for a bona fide relic from the old company.  The seller's description on the auction listing page was pretty amusing:

"Jack Daniel Etched Shot Glass from Hopkinsville, KY.  I don't know if this is a misprint but if you notice in the pics, it says Jack Daniel.  There is no S on the end.  I also thought that Jack Daniel was in Tennessee.  This may be a rare glass I don't know." 

A few choice keystrokes would have provided an answer to why there is no "S" and the KY connection, but when selling JD glasses, it doesn't really matter, I guess.  Last year they were selling for $150 or so.  This one closed at $280.00which is enough to buy you about 10 litres of Brown-Forman's fine product. 

We can't round out the year and begin the new one with talking about the slew of transfer glasses that showed up in the past few weeks. Barb Edmonson referred to these as being "label-under-glass" because she believed that a thin layer of glass was applied over them to protect the details of the inscription.  In reality, I believe that while the labels on these glasses does have a sheen, the transfer was left unprotected, which is why they eventually wear.  At a guess, I would say that the labeling medium was identical to that used on the label-under-glass-label-on-the-bottom shots (that would be a LUGLOTB glass): it was some form of white, vitreous backing medium with a color printed label that was then fired onto the glass with heat.  A gold band was then fired along the edge to hide the uneven border that was common to this form of label.  To me they look like plastic, which is why I've always been somewhat leery of them, especially since the more common ones advertise brands that survived well into post-Repeal days.  I'm waiting for a set of four to show up with original cardboard box stamped "made in Japan" or similar! 

Ha ha, yes, very amusing.  I've spent enough on acquiring these over the years that I'd indeed be chagrined to discover that they were not pre-pro, and I can truthfully say I don't lose any sleep over it. 

Up until this year, I believe I've only ever seen two of this type of glass appear for sale on eBay.  This year we had five.  The first listed back in August - an Old Thompson from Louisville,  The label was thin in places, but lakerdude unexpectedly stole this glass for under $200.   If I'd found this glass at a bottle show, I'd probably have left it sitting on the table at $200, but on eBay, that's a pretty amazing scoop.  Old Thompson #2 showed up a month later.  This one was in much better condition and a variant, but even so, the closing price ($1,400) left many jaws hanging open.  Some still are, even now, which is pretty darned unsightly you old-timers.  Predictably enough that was enough to shake three more loose from eBay-land.  The minty John Hancock listed while I was out of the country so I missed all the fun and intrigue on this one, but the end result was that it was pulled off the site and then a private auction ensued.  Little birds tell that $1,300 changed hands and that it didn't have far to go to find its new home.  Within a few days, the Clarke's Pure Rye from Peoria listed.  This one had a label discolored by something being spilt on it, but a nice glass otherwise.  This one sold for $611.  Before the year had ended, the FAMO shown at right below listed.  The auction photos were terrible and the glass looked like it had been in the ground for a couple of centuries, but the seller ensured worried bidders that it was dirty from having been in a barn.  Several brave souls gambled on this one and it finally closed at $1,125.    Incidentally, three of these glasses are now in a display case in Arky-ville: you can see them and all of Joe Swafford's eBay purchases in a web-site he's put up to showcase them: drop by and take a look sometime.

So the eBay bar on these glasses is now firmly set at $1,000+, which is a sobering thought even to those who have the cash to afford them.  The ripples from these sales will eventually touch real-world values, perhaps sooner rather than later.  I've recently had several conversations with Peter Ephross, a journalist working on an article on shot-glasses for Antiques and Collecting magazine.  Peter is interested in every aspect of the hobby (pre-Pro and modern) and its been fun to talk glass with him, but I was left with a wry grin on my face after each conversation.  The reason is that he was particularly interested in prices and values, since that's what the readers are interested in.  This is going to sound classic Poobah, but it's not - I mean no disrespect (he typed with face set rigidly straight). I was reminded of an episode from the first season of "Chef", a classically wonderful BBC comedy starry Lenny Henry as Gareth Blackstock, head chef in a fabulously expensive Michelin-rated restaurant.  In the episode in question, Gareth's wife had forced him participate in a series of press interviews in an effort to drum up business.  One of the interviewers turned out represent a one of the many tabloids, favored by many Brits for bludgeoning-simple headlines and accompanying text, and for always having bare breasts on page three.  Gareth confronts the journalist regarding his culinary interests and offers instead is (I misquote from memory) "what you really want is a copy of my tax return, a topless picture of my wife, and the exact dimensions of my willie in all its various conditions".  But readers will read, and the Kovels will no doubt enter these values in their "guide" books, and the antique malls will pay attention.  The good thing is that people will start to look for them at estate sales and yard sales, so maybe they'll become a lot more common in coming years.

2008 is certainly going to be an interesting year.  That's all folks.  See you on eBay....

8-22-07: Old Thompson
9-17-07: Old Thompson
11-11-07: Clarke's
11-14-07: John Hancock
11-29-07: FAMO






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Last updated: Saturday February 02, 2008
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