On the twelfth day of Christmas, Etsy brought to me… the remnants of the Ken Schwartz collection

Yes, Etsy. eBay may be an auction giant and the main source of pre-pro shot glasses (and anything pre-pro related), but Etsy can be worth checking occasionally to see if they have any interesting “antiques” for sale. I was under the impression that eBay had acquired Etsy several years ago, but apparently they’re still independent companies, despite marketing similarities. I’ve picked up a few glasses from the site over the years, none of them bargains, but it’s worth checking in now and again to see what’s on offer.

Hopefully you’re all familiar with Ken Schwartz and his place in the collecting world. If not, you can find his glass collection here. Impressive at it was, it formed only a teensy portion of his collecting empire, which was housed in a custom-built addition to his modest home in Reading, CA.

Ken died in 2013, which left many of us wondering what would happen to his pre-pro glasses. The CA collecting community plundered most of the more interesting items, then many more were sold off via Facebook. I was deeply involved with a new, work related start-up at the time and remained oblivious to most of the machinations of the pre-pro world for a couple of years. ALl of this (mostly) went over my head, and I have no real sense of who the beneficiaries were.

When work pressures began to ease a little and I had a chance to drop in on Etsy, I happened to run across this glass that had sold recently:

This is a glass that I recognized immediately and that, until then, I’d only ever seen once. That was at the FOHBC’s 2006 Annual Show in Reno, Nevada. The glass was in the grasp of Ken Schwartz, who was trying to negotiate a better price with the dealer (without success). My suspicions now aroused, I compared this latest example with Ken’s (in the database) and it’s the exact same glass. Well dang. This is likely a George Truog glass and one I’d have paid dearly for: it had sold for just $40 on Etsy.

Scrolling through other current and past sales, I found a few more that had clearly come from Ken’s collection. I got talking to the Etsy store owner that had listed these glasses – the store is TraditionsVintageCo. and the owner (Lori) is based in MI. All told, around 200 of Ken’s glasses have passed through her store, most of which have already been sold. She relates that she and her husband had been in the auction business and purchased the entire contents of Ken’s Temple of Glass, boxed it up and stored it, and had been selling it at various venues for the past 4 years. My mind is still boggling – Ken had amassed an impressive collection of pre-pro stuff, and, as mentioned the shots were just a minor component of his overall collection.

There’s still a few glasses left for sale – if you want to own a part of a legendary collection, it’s still worth a look at her site.

Here’s a few of the sold glasses that caught my eye:

A Black Cat Whiskey from Ullman Bros. & Co. of Cleveland, OH. – a steal at $50.

A Gilt Edge Shipping House from St. Louis – how many times have you seen this? It’s appeared on eBay only once and sold for around $150. Mine came from Bob Snyder and is cracked – this one sold for $65.

This is a Monteagle Pure Rye from O’Keefe in Oswego, NY. It’s a classic pre-pro glass to die for. It sold for $50.

And last but not least, a Coon Hollow LUG that sold for $65, which is at least 10 times less than what it’s actually worth. I’m still crying in my beer over that one…