Red Top Flop… and One to Watch

Highball glasses glasses occupy a special place in the collecting world. If we were to consult Google maps, we’d find it just North of Contempt and about 5 miles West of Indifference. Highballs just don’t have the the same cuteness factor that the shots do and, from a practical point of view, they’re way too tall to fit in a shot glass display case. Even sideways.

Beer collectors, on the other hand, have no problem turning their basement over to acres of custom-built shelving to accommodate the larger glasses, but highballs are not beers and if one were to show up on a basement shelf, it probably would be as a result of mistaken identification.

So, whereas a Red Top Rye shot glass can command prices in excess of $1,000 (as noted in my previous post), Red Top Rye highballs have trouble making $50, let alone $500 or more. As always, there are exceptions. I have seen a Red Top highball featuring a colored top sell for $271 almost a decade ago, but when the owner put it back on eBay several years later, he lost $100 on the deal.

Sold for $271 in 2015

The Red Top Highball listed by union_razor recently does not feature a red top but, rather, a white-frosted label with measles. Expectations were not high. It listed with an opening bid of $9.95. Two collectors held their noses and entered bids and it closed a week later at $20.50. Whoop-de-do.

Sold for $20.50 in 2024

Here’s one to watch. I’m sure I’ve highlighted Casper glasses before because they used to trigger ferocious bidding wars back in the day, even when the glass involved was one of the common variants. I almost missed the example shown below because the listing photos and are poor, but it’s a one-of-a kind (so far as I know – I haven’t see one before) red etched variant.

The label is worn to the point where the trademark diamond (image at right) is unrecognizable, so this would be considered a placeholder glass at best, yet the bidding is already up to $56 with more than 4 days to go until the auction’s close. This one will be interesting to keep an eye on.