Vol. 3, No. 4, Tuesday September 26, 2006

by dick bales

I recently made some observations on SOTW as a special guest commentator. The glassmaster responded with some views of his own. I have been mulling over his remarks for several days, and I would like to use this space to make some additional comments.

I think that I have figured it out. I think that I now know why there is such a feeding frenzy for the "desirable" eBay glass.

Fields of Dreams: Shot Glass Collecting Specialization

In other, possibly more established hobbies, collectors routinely specialize, and this specialization gives the collector the option of concentrating on lower-priced items. For example, bottle collectors can collect Hutchinson sodas; they all donít have to fight over the Western whiskies and flasks.

Insulator collectors can collect by shape or manufacturer; they all donít have to have large collections of the rare threadless insulators.
Even stamp collectors can amass comprehensive collections of used later twentieth century stamps without spending a fortune; they donít need to pine over the rare mint-never-hinged 19th century stuff. To them, "Inverted Jenny" might as well be a girl doing a cartwheel and not a 1918 24 cent stamp featuring an upside down airplane.

But for whatever reason, possibly because of the hobbyís relative infancy, glass collectors donít seem to have many established fields of specialization. As a result, we have more and more collectors fighting over the rarer glasses, which of course helps to drive the prices up.

But perhaps, with time, this will change. Clearly there are several areas just ripe for specialization. Collecting states or cities is an obvious choice. Collecting just certain shapes is another. For example, I have always been fascinated by the barrel-shaped glasses (below, left).

In an earlier column (Volume 2, Number 2) I wrote about collecting the "Ladies/Gents/[Hog]" glasses (above, middle). And what about collecting only "phone numbers," that is, glasses that include the telephone numbers of the featured store or company? (above, right)

Perhaps, over time, the ignoble "text only" glass will be recognized as the rare glass that it often is. Those collectors who have access to pre-proís auction database know that examples of many "text only" glasses have been sold only once on eBay in the last several years.

I know that I am not alone in my appreciation of the "text only" glass. I recently bought this East Dubuque, Illinois, glass off the pre-pro website. With shipping, it cost me the princely sum of $14.11.

After I ordered it, Robin wrote me and commented that he bought it from Bob Snyder. Yeah, Robert Snyder, the same guy who put together the Whiskey Brand Database.

As they say on the television program, Antiques Roadshow, howís that for "provenance?"

 But just because I have a fondness for "text only" glasses does not mean that I donít appreciate the more elaborate shots. And interestingly enough, even as I decry the high price of eBay glass, I see that one can still find bargains on the worldís largest Internet flea market. There were only four bids on this nifty unlisted Overbrook Rye Whiskey glass. The winner, xxxtruk, took it home for only $41.00!


This column is not SOTW, but if it were, this glass would be my choice! Even the most discerning collector would, I think, like to have this gem in the display cabinet.


If you would like to comment on "The Common Stuff", please post it
but you can also contact Dick Bales directly at  BalesD@CTT.com

Copyright © 2006 pre-pro.com.  All rights reserved.