Missed Anniversary

I’ve been so distracted by work this past couple of years that I completely missed the fact that, as of 2022, pre-pro.com has been live for over two decades now. I need to check to see when our 21st birthday is – I think it’s somewhere toward the end of August.

I’ve always been appreciative of the artistry that went into the design of pre-pro glasses and my main reason for wanting to grow the collection has always been to add another prime example to the display case.

The goal of the website is a little different. Twenty-one years ago, the internet was still in its infancy and learning more about the origins of pre-pro glasses meant contacting Barb Edmonson to buy one of her books. Opportunities to buy pre-pro glasses were few and far between and usually meant weekly visits to local antique stores and hitting the local bottle shows to see if the diggers had found any interesting go-withs.

eBay was a game-changer in so many ways. It now became possible to put together a respectable pre-pro collection in a matter of just a few weeks. But eBay also became an information goldmine because each day brought a fresh selection of bottles, jugs, trays, corkscrews letterheads, flyers etc, all of which made it possible to start building databases to help figure out where liquor dealers operated, under what name, and what brands they used. That’s been an ongoing project and likely will never end.

But eBay offerings have also helped us begin to provide an answer to that most elusive of questions – who made the shot glasses and how were they distributed? We assume that they were handed out to saloons and then to customers by the distillers, but I’m not sure that we have a very definitive answer to this yet. Snippets of information continue to surface. I included some of these in the newbie’s guide to shot glasses on the site. I’ve also picked up a couple of boxes of glasses that showed up for sale on eBay over the years. I wrote about the box of I.W. Harper glasses addressed to a hotel in PA in a previous post, but I also won a 12-count box containing 7 glasses in mint condition: two Owl Hollows, two more I.W. Harpers, two Old Rockwells, and an an Old Hickory. The box had no address on it, so I can only guess about its destination. Owl Hollow and Harper were Bernheim brands, so maybe the Old Rockwells and Old Hickory came from them also.

Just recently, I ran across this neat little find – a small box addressed to Henry Doerr of Saxonburg, Penna. from Birchwood Distilling Co., of Newport, KY.

Inside was a personalized shot glass advertising Birchwood:

This is clearly a hand-engraved premium of some kind. Who was Henry Doerr and how he came by the glass is a mystery – maybe he collected and sent in coupons, or maybe it was a reward for buying so many jugs of Birchwood. I have no idea, but it’s an interesting piece of history.

Ones to Watch

Here’s a couple of premium picture glass auctions to keep an eye on. As of writing, both are currently live on eBay and due to close on May 8th (Monday). They’re offered for sale by long-time collector Ed Sipos, better known as azsaloon.

The first is a Adam Mickiewicz from Weiskopf & Co. in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago glasses tend to be less desirable than others, but this is a nice one. I’ve only ever seen two of these. This was the first, which I believe was pulled off eBay back in 2003 for a princely sum of $87.99 (if the sales database is accurate), which was a lot to pay for a pre-pro glass back then.

The second is a highly-desirable Hennessey Shoemaker’s shop from Lynn, MA. It makes for a great display glass, especially if you already have an Egg Rock Light glass to go with it.

This one came off eBay in 2004 ($59.65) but should sell for several times that this time around. Lovely glasses both!

Long Time, No Chat

Nope, the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated, I didn’t succumb to Covid 19 or the experimental treatment that it spawned. I took a new job at the beginning of 2021 and it became so demanding of my time that I’ve literally done nothing else for a couple of years now. The workload is finally easing up a little and I hope to get back to chasing glass and updating the site on a regular basis.

There’s an abundance of high-quality glass on offer at the moment. One of the nicer ones was this Magnet Rye. It has a rim flake, but the old girl’s gold curlicues are beautifully intact and the hand enamel label looks pristine. It doesn’t seem that long ago (okay, maybe it was a decade or so) that enamels were selling for over $400, but this one was snapped up for $130.29.

Magnet was a Freiberg & Kahn (Cincinnati, OH) brand.

There have been some spectacular glasses on offer “away from the ‘Bay”. For example, this is a super-rare Horting’s Safe that sold at a PA bricks-and-mortar auction in deppen76’s stomping grounds close to Lancaster, PA. John Horting was based in Lancaster.

Horting’s Safe glasses come up for sale on a regular basis, but this one is a signed George Truog original (note the teeny GT at far right of the inscription). It sold for only $70 plus buyer’s premium. I believe I’ve seen this glass only once before, although I’m not sure where, exactly.

That’s all for now. For the number crunchers, 188 glasses listed for auction over the past 4 weeks. 76 went unsold. The average price on the glasses that did sell was $38.73.

Happy July 4th, 2021

Here we are again, one year older and the world becoming increasingly more bizarre. Speaking of which, here’s an email that I received recently:

Are you the manufacturers of J Bavet Brandy? I have bought this brand for years. Lately the J Bavet lists a Carmel coloring or flavor on the bottle. It has totally made the taste of this liquor awful. I bought 2 1.75 liters which apparently have this flavoring. I am again out $18.75 per bottle. I want refunds since this is not the original Brandy you used to make. Why have you changed the formula to this bad tasting Brandy? Please respond.

Anyone want to respond? Please leave a comment below.

I also received a special offer from eBay – you probably did too if you have this one bookmarked. The Springdale glass shown below orginally listed for $600 and I was “surprised” noone grabbed it there and then. The special offer is a $200 discount. At $400 how can one resist?!

In case you’re wondering, these glasses are not that common and they usually sell in the $30-$50 range. The one above appears to be a minor variant of the example in the database (the brand name appears as a single word rather than SPRING and DALE).

Here’s one I’ve not seen before – a Lebanon Club from Detweiler & Co. of Lebanon, PA.

The auction currently has two days left to run and is offered for sale by thechocoberry. This glass has a similar design to an Old Tom Gin and Old Hickory Rye from the same Lebanon liquor dealer.

As you can see, the glass is badly damaged, although I appreciate the listing’s creative description:

“The shot glass has a frosted or etched text that reads “Lebanon Club, Detweiler & Co., Lebanon, PA.” It measures 2-1/8″ tall with an opening diameter of just under 2″. It is very thin glass and as you can see has quite a few fractures. There is only one little chip on the rim and that is the culprit that caused all the fractures. One of the pieces has been glued back on (whoever did it did a very good job). Yes, it’s badly cracked, but still a great displayable piece. “

Only “one little chip in the rim” but the chip caused the entire left side of the glass to break out and has been glued back together! That makes it a placeholder with curiosity value only, which is a shame because it’s a rare and probably old Truog glass. Current bidding stands at $14.50.

All Quiet on the eBay Front

There’s been little worth writing home about on the eBay front these past few weeks. As the stats show, eBay has dropped into its usual summer lull: in the past month, 121 glasses listed for sale but 63 of these failed to attract a bidder. The average price of glasses sold was $32.55.

I had a couple of interesting emails that I’d like to share with you. Steven wrote in regarding Casper Whiskey glasses: “I was wonderin wheres the top for your casper shot glass?  If you would like to see a picture let me know. The shot glass top has raised tobacco leaves and peanuts on it .” He was kind enough to follow up with photos showing a Casper glass wearing a heavy, molded lid.

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a pre-pro glass paired with a lid before and even though it looks to be a good fit, I doubt that it was intended to serve this function. Maybe someone from the depression glass collecting world knows where the lid comes from originally.

John and Margie B. of Donnels Creek Antiques, North Hampton, OH. recently sent me a photo of a rare Kayser, Hegner & Co. glass with a note “I was helping a friend get ready for an auction in Urbana, Ohio July 18th and ran across this shot varient I had not seen before.  Thought I’d share…

I haven’t seen one of these glasses previously, but the design is familiar from HSG. A beautiful glass, many thanks for sharing it with us !

Glassware, Glassware, Everywhere, / Ne Any Drop to Drink.

I have yet to find a suitable replacement for the old “glasschat” forum that, sadly, became a target for spammers and then failed to be supported in the wake of programming language updates, rendering it inoperable. I pulled it down and it has stayed down for some time now.

Since the collecting community is small, maybe there is no need for such a forum, but the upshot is that I now get many emails from visitors to the site, mostly from non-collectors (see the last post below for an example), but I’ll try to address the collector-related queries here.

I’ve had a handful of emails asking if I’m selling my collection. The short answer is “no”, although I’ve added a large number of glasses to the sales pages in recent months, so it may certainly seem that way.

During the past 5 years, I’ve been involved with several intense work-related projects that left me with little in the way of free time to devote to the site or the hobby. That meant that large numbers of glasses were coming in from collections, individuals wanting to sell, eBay buys etc. but were not getting processed (washing, photographing, logging, entering into the database), to the point where I had around 500 glasses waiting in line. The backlog extends back to 2015-2016, although some have been lingering since the previous decade.

I’ve finally had a chance to work though the pile recently, so all of the duplicates and upgrades are making their way online. Most of the common white-etched glasses have now been processed and have been logged. Next, I’ll work through the many colored-label glasses, the embossed/debossed glasses, the metal shots, and the lugs, all of which require a different camera and lighting set up – which is why they’ve had to wait patiently.

From the Web

Thanks to Jim Dennis for sending the image above of the latest addition to his pre-pro glass collection. Jim notes “I traded plus a little cash for this unlisted full face label under glass, hell of a deal, under $200.00, excellent condition. I guess it was maybe meant for me. Have you seen this one before ?? I’m up to 120 shots in my Oregon collection now.

Fleckenstein, Meyer & Co. of Portland OR. produced a large number of glasses over the years, including at least three rare label-on-the bottom glasses and two with a label applied to the side (including the one shown above). The other (an “Our Monogram”) can be found in the database.

Congrats to Jim for such a stunning find!

Finally, I periodically get some unusual requests for information related to the old liquor dealers or distillers listed in the databases. Usually it’s along the lines of “I really enjoy Old (insert brandname here) but can no longer find it in my area. Please can you give me the name of a liquor dealer who still carries it?“, the author clearly believing that a distillery listing page is a current company website. Here’s one that came in just recently and left me wondering quite how to respond:

Our family purchased some land in Halifax County Va and it has an old car, I’m guessing from the thirties, on the property. On the door is Frankfort Distilleries INC so I was trying to figure out how it ended up in Va. The land was owned by a Jones family and I read that Frankfort Distilleries was bought by Paul Jones.in 1922. Is there any information that would link that car to the Paul Jones family? I would think there has to be some cool history on how that car ended up in Halifax County Va.

Thank You for any information you can provide.

Weesl Watch

Well, not so much, but I needed an alliterative title and “weesl watch” was the only one to come to mind. The weesl in question is princeweesl, an eBay seller who listed a couple of dozen glasses for sale this past week with a note that “I am auctioning off the remainder of a Pre Prohibition Shot Glass collection. Have fun and bid with confidence! There are some rare Western glasses as well as National brands and Grape Juice shots and soda fountain glasses.” Many of these glasses listed and went unsold a year ago to the day; this time around, most attracted at least one bidder.

Of the group, my favorite probably was the Tucker Whisky highball glass featuring a spoof of the famous Victor Talking Machine Co. trademark. Whereas the gramophone company featured Nipper, a fox terrier, transfixed by the sound emanating from of a Victrola horn (“His master’s voice”), the Brown-Forman version featured a bulldog sniffing a funnel used to fill a jug of Old Tucker Whiskey.

The glass had a banged-up rim, but still fetched $62.00 when the hammer fell.

These past month has been notable for the high prices being realized on eBay glasses. During the past 4 weeks, 163 pre-pro glasses listed for sale. 57 auctions closed without attracting a bidder, but the average price of the glasses that did sell was $56.03.

In top place was a two-city Rose glass (Jacksonville, FL. and Chattanooga, TN,) with a label so badly ghosted that it was almost unreadable. It was offered for sale by gator-ben and the auction closed for a whopping $334.99!

In third position (in #2 position was a Mobile, AL. saloon glass) was another Rosebud Whiskey. We saw one of these on eBay late last year and I was gobsmacked to see it sell for $212.50, which I figured must have been a fluke given that it’s a plain text-only glass. eBay regular nuffbarn listed one with a dodgy label last week and this one sold for $233.50. Nuffie – maybe the high bidder can tell us why these glasses have become golden, because it beats me….

Finally, in the last post I showcased a bevy of glasses that were being offered through Glass-Works Auctions, observing that their pre-pro glasses often reappear in diggerdaveb‘s eBay store. Apparently at least one of the featured lots was won by diggerdave because the glasses are currently being listed and are selling on eBay. Among them are a Red Cross Whiskey and a Hiller’s beer glass, both from Omaha, NE. Both were binned for $70 apiece.

A Smörgåsbord to Watch

I’ve mentioned this many times before, but eBay is not everything (well, almost everything) when it comes to growing the pre-pro glass collection. In pre-Covid times, one could actually go to antique malls and to bottle shows and find glasses in the wild, but for the face-mask-weary, there are still online alternatives such as Glass-Works Auctions (GWA).

Glass-works Auctions used to be associated with Antique Bottle and Glass Collector (ABGC) magazine in the days before the magazine was sold off and its interests were more wide-ranging than bottles, bottles, and more bottles and the occasional insulator. The auctions have continued, however, and, once in a Blue Moon, they have pre-pro glasses on offer.

They are currently running auction #149 that features five lots of rather scruffy-looking glasses with a few gems thrown into the mix. The listing photo are shown below (I was unable to link in the individual auctions – search on “shot” in the auction catalog to find them). There’s an interesting back-story to this collection that dates back 15 years or so and to a famous American football player — but I’ll leave that for another time.

I have bought glasses from GWA in the past and they are a solid company that I have had no issues buying from and would not hesitate to buy from again. The only caveats are that a) the bid increments tend to be high (compared with eBay), b) there is a 20% buyer’s premium added to the final bid price (17% if you send a check rather than use a credit card), and c) their shipping rates tend to be hefty (the glasses arrive very well-packed; they know what they are doing and a good packing job costs a little extra).

Just an observation – many of the GWA offerings end on on eBay in diggerdaveb‘s online store, so if you see something interesting that escaped you, it may be a good idea to bookmark him and watch for the buy-it-nows.

Oh – and for the curious, 160 shot-glass auctions closed during the past 28 days. Of these, 86 closed with no bidders and the average price of glasses sold was $35.24.