Flip-Top Rye

This is not about shot glasses but, given the recent flurry of Red Top Rye-related sales, it’s an amusing little tale.

Morean’s latest auction closed on February 4. There wasn’t much of interest to us here, aside from one of the Bellwood mini-mugs I mentioned a couple of months ago – this was a nice example and it sold for an impressive $176.

However, the auction also included a Red Top Rye flask. The auction listing describes it as follows: Early metal flask. Advertises Red Top Rye whose letters are outlined with intricate engraving. Red has been nicely re-pigmented. 4 x 4.5 inches. Note the “Red has been nicely re-pigmented” – meaning that the red paint is not original.

The flask shows considerable wear to the plating, with many noticeable nicks, breaks, and dings, with a characteristic flaw in the middle of the label around the “T” and “o”:

The final bid price (with premium included) was $263 (plus shipping).

Ten days later, a striking similar flask shows up for sale on eBay, listed by martin50k03 with a buy-it-now price of $895:

The listing description reads: Rare Red Top metal flask, measures 4 1/4” diameter. Good condition. No mention of a paint upgrade, but note the wear pattern around the “To” – it’s the same flask.

A day later, the price dropped to $795 and, shortly thereafter, a special offer showed up in my email inbox that brought the price down to $495:

Today is Feb. 16 – I’ll be interested to see if there’s any additional discounts, but I’m betting that they won’t bring the price below $263.