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  Shots of the Week Item number: 300245493701

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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, 139 pre-pro glass auctions closed, 17 closed with no bidder, average price of the glasses that sold was $22.30.  5 glasses sold for >$100, none sold for >$1,000. 

With Labor day now disappearing in the rear-view mirror, we can expect primo pre-pro glass to start pouring into eBay and the prices on everything to escalate as collectors hunker down over their computer monitors during the cold winter months.  The past few weeks have been patchy in terms of both desirability of glass on offer and fierceness of competition, which means that this edition of SOTW will be more even more rambling than usual.

First up are the changes in eBay.  I case you hadn't heard, eBay is down-playing the auction-style listing in favor of fixed-price buy-it-nows.  Why?  The eBay Poo-bahs claim that the punters have become jaded about competing and winning auctions, but the more cynical would say that bins generate more revenue.  Bottom line is that eBay's beginning to look more like Amazon than ever, especially since Amazon is headed in eBay's direction.  Maybe there's a possible merger in the works. 

But for glass collectors, these changes are nothing but bad, especially since there's no viable auction site to pick up the slack as eBay makes life more miserable for the small-time sellers (the Yahoo auction site died a horrible death last year).  How is Big Mother making life miserable?   Most obviously, the Feedback system has been neutered.  Sellers are no longer able to leave negative feedback even if a buyer turns out to be a malicious deadbeat.  A one-sided feedback system helps no-one.  In coming months, sellers will also have to maintain near-perfect DSR scores if they want to continue selling.  DSR scores are based on those four annoying questions that pop up when leaving feedback.  Commenting on an auction is painful enough that I never bother with the questions about the shipping rates, accuracy of listing etc; who the heck can remember three weeks after the event anyway? Quite how small-time sellers are going to generate enough DSR points to satisfy the system is not clear. 

Since the feedback system is broken, there really seems little point is even bothering with comments at this stage, so maybe we should organize a boycott and make eBay re-examine its business model.

The other change that seems designed to block sales by the little guy (e.g. the grannies selling off the contents of their attic and glass-filled curio cabinets to make a few extra bucks) is the coming ban on payment by anything other than Paypal.  That means no check, no money orders.  While Paypal has been adopted as an acceptable form of payment by a majority of buyers and sellers, there are a significant number of both who do not use the system (e.g. Paul Van Vactor, aka stilz).  Hmmmm ... why would eBay do this?  Would it be because eBay owns Paypal and takes a hefty cut on every transaction?  Surely not....

Since there's been few glasses worth talking about in recent weeks, here's some shameless padding.  I was struck by the coincidence of two sellers who seem stuck in time warps since their item descriptions have glaring mistakes that are obvious from the auction photos:




CIRCA: 1902


er.... duh?!



.....duh x 2 !!!

This stunning tray was being watched by many and the final outcome was posted in the chatroom by deppen76.  I have to admit to being a sucker for trays and this is a pristine example of a very rare and desirable tray.  Note that it is a Brown Forman original - the same Brown Forman that owns the Jack Daniel brand.  Ultimately it sold for a none-too-shabby $1,725.  Who bought it?  Louisville collector Tony Hayes (pushup1).  You may have been stomped on by Tony if you've ever tried to clinch a nice shot from Louisville.
Here's trade-card Golden Hayner.  It was billed as "1890 BERNHEIM DISTILLERY LOUISVILLE KY SEXY LADY CARD" and the reference to "sexy" seems to have drawn in punters like moths to a flame.  We should note that the card is very common and this one is in pretty bad condition.  Normally they sell for a few bucks: bluroc, for example, picked up one in a mint condition at the end of last year for only 99 cents.  

After 20 bids, cohenpapers20 took this one home for a jaw-dropping $90.87.  Ouch.


Speaking of Golden Hayners, we seem to have a player on eBay who is wearing the "goldhayner" mantle as of August 5.  We may assume great things....

I suppose we should talk about shot glasses, so here's an interesting little tale.  Hanging out here on the web puts the Poo-bah in a strange position.  As glassmaster, he's seen by some as a purveyor of information and shots.  True, the glassmaster does maintain a sales page at pre-pro, but that's just a convenient way of selling and trading off the duplicate glasses.  The sales area is open to any collector who has surplus shots for similar reasons. 

But make NO mistake about it, the Poo-bah is primarily a collector.  He has serious glass-lust.  His misdirected hunting and gathering instincts are as strong as anyone one else's out there:  I think anyone who has tussled with oldwhiskey online can attest to the veracity of that statement. He dreams glass.

Confusion about the Poo-bah's primary directive lead to an interesting incident regarding a group of 10 shots from TX that were recently auctioned as a group on eBay. 

The listing was unusual for several reasons.  TX shots are relatively rare, so seeing 10 listed for sale at one time raised a BIG question mark, not to mention an eyebrow.  Plus listing as a group is akin to holding a fire sale.  Few collectors will bid to full value on a group, especially when rare shots are involved and the final tally may blow the glass budget for the next several months.  Plus, plus, PLUS, this was a 3-day listing, a tactic that guarantees that as few people as possible are going to find the auction and enter a bid!!!!  This was pre-pro suicide!!!!!  And on top of all that was the fact that I knew these glasses well: several of the listing pics can be found in the database with a tag that identifies them as belonging to TX collector, Ken Cromer.  Ken has taken several choice TX shots off eBay, but has also managed to hunt several down in the wild.  Most of these have not been seen on eBay prior to this auction, which is why I was eager to add them to the database.

I e-mailed Ken, asking why he was selling out and expressing my concerns about the potential consequences of listing as a group.

Before I could receive a reply, I had this interesting e-mail from Bruce Silva, known by many of you as a mail-order shot-and-bottle vendor and familiar to eBayers as jeffstateglass:

"I made the acquaintance of a lifelong pre-pro collector during the course of the Reno Show. A very nice, elderly gentleman who is still very much on top of his game although by choice, he doesnít have internet access. I sold him a dozen shots in person and three more today over the phone, which I will be shipping via USPS.

I was able to fill 15 vacant spaces in his collection of 1300 glasses; now 1315. I spoke with him this AM regarding a new listing and immediately placed a bid on the run of Texas glasses that popped up on ebay (Bruce appears in the history as "s***t") . As so often takes place, almost immediately, folks were taking potshots at my bid. Some character was bumping it a buck or two at a time; obviously not one of the seasoned vets that we normally butt heads with. I just plugged in another high bid but odds are, it wonít hold for long. I almost never ask a favor but was wondering if you could cut me (actually my customer) a bit of slack on this run of glasses. Iím going to stand up tall on the bid, but was hoping not to run him up too awful high."

I hope Bruce won't mind me reproducing it here, but hopefully doing so will avoid future misunderstandings.  oldwhiskey banged his head on the table a couple of times, not quite sure that he had read the message correctly.  A second reading elicited a similarly incredulous response: he was being asked to hold off bidding on an auction because someone was trying to make money by selling prime glass to another collector?????  Bloody hell.  I was gobsmacked, to use the "quaint" English expression.

I wasn't sure if I could actually dignify this request with a response but, truth be told, I hadn't intended to place a serious bid on this auction for one of the reasons stated above: this one was likely to go way higher than my budget was comfortable with, and that was the gist of my response to Bruce.

However, I then heard back from Ken.  I won't go into details, but the bottom line was that he needed to cash in his collection to help a sick family member who'd fallen on hard times. Since Ken is a collector and friend of pre-pro, I figured I had to help and after weighing the approximate value of each glass in the group of ten, dialed $728.88 into the sniper, shook the piggy bank a few times to make sure there were coins rather than buttons in here, and sat back and waited. 

Ultimately I needn't have worried because a very determined soul (ssls58) loaded both barrels and flattened me with two snipes that took the group for $738.88.  At $74 a glass, that might seem like a lot, but remember these were TX shots and the Jersey Cream alone is probably worth $150.   So, seems like we have 10 SOTWs!  Congratulations to the winner!

I think that's all for this edition - see you on eBay and, PLEASE, don't anyone ever ask me again to hold off bidding on a glass because another collector wants it.  Not if we're all to stay friends..... :)


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Last updated: Wednesday October 29, 2008
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