Alternatives to eBay

When it comes to growing a collection via the internet, eBay undoubtedly offers both the biggest selection and a seemingly never-ending supply of interesting glass.

I’m constantly surprised by the number of previously-unknown glasses that show up on eBay on a regular basis. Sellers will often note that they are “unlisted”, which I take to mean that they were not cataloged by Barbara Edmonson during her compilation of HSG and OASG. HSG and OASG were — and still are –remarkable works, but the two books together listed around 3,000 unique glasses. The shot glass database here at currently lists 4,653 glasses, only about 50% of which appear in either HSG or OASG. The sales database currently lists 7,621 unique glass variants, less than half of which are in the shot glass database, so now there are something on the order of 10,000 glasses known and cataloged, with new ones appearing for sale on a weekly basis.

Many collectors either do not have the time, resources, desire, or patience to hunt glasses on eBay, however, which raises the question of where else one might go looking for glasses on the web. Unfortunately there are few alternatives. Etsy (an eBay subsidiary) regularly has a handful pre-pro glasses for sale (try searching for “antique shot glass“), but few turn out to be bargains. John Crary always has a few glasses listed on his North Country Bottle Shop website, but they tend to be a mix of pre-pro, post-pro, and medicines, so ask before buying. John regularly cycles these glasses through eBay also. As I’ve mentioned before, Glassworks Auctions occasionally has pre-pro glasses on offer, although their main focus is bottle and jugs.

I periodically search the web for other sources of glass, but there are precious few. Sites maintained by, or affiliated with, antique malls occasionally have a glass or two for sale, but these are few and far between and difficult to find amid the general websearch clutter.

Some of the more reliable alternative sources of pre-pro glasses (aside from the sales pages here) are brick-and-mortar auction galleries, many of which feature live online bidding through LiveAuctioneers. This past week, The Ohio Company Antiques and Art presented an auction entitled “Bottoms Up! Whiskey adv., snuffs, &more” which featured a collection of 160 pre-pro shot glasses plus a highball or two.

As small collections go, it was an interesting one. Although I’d seen most of these glasses before, it did feature some uncommon ones, including several glasses from Texas and rarer George Truog novelties. Texas glasses can be hard to find.

The auction was unfortunate in that most of the glasses appeared to be, erm, in “less-than-pristine” condition, although I suspect that that was more a reflection of the presentation than the glasses themselves. Glasses photographed on a contrasty background have to be carefully washed and dried with a lint-free cloth, because even a speck of dust can diminish desirability. I picked up one of the lots; I’ll report back here on condition once it eventually arrives.

The most interesting offering was what appears to be a larger rocks glass from Jos. Werner & Co. of St. Louis. This is not one that I’d seen before and looks to be an older glass. The hammer price for the lot (including 23% buyer’s premium) was $67.65.

The lot that I was most curious about was one featuring a Bristol Distributing Co., VA. dose glass and a Casper CO, NC. whiskey glass, both of which sell high on eBay.

The final price (including buyer’s premium) was $86.10. For the sake of comparison, a similar Casper glass sold on eBay this past week for $105.50: