I wanted to give a shout-out during this 12-day Christmas sequential to a Zahringer’s glass that has been circling the eBay drain for several months now. The glass was first listed by napa-capecod sometime back at the beginning of annus horribilus 2020, along with over 100 others from his personal collection. This is a collector with a well-honed eye for great glass, and his presumed New England (Cape Cod) connection gave him access to offerings from Boston, a city that rivals San Francisco in terms of having produced the greatest number of iconic pre-pro picture glasses.
Zahringer glasses hail from neither San Francisco not Boston but rather from Peoria, IL., but they stand among the finest in terms of pre-pro artistry. Back in the days when I was a fledgling glassluster and there was no internet or eBay, the only reference material available to me was Barbara Edmonson’s Historic Shot Glasses. I distinctly remember wondering if I would ever possess a glass so fine as the Zahringer’s Pure Stock illustrated on p. 200 under “Z” with the iconic camel, pyramids, obelisk, sphinx, and palm-tree design. The advent of the internet meant that I’ve seen and owned several examples of this glass over the years, and we now know that John Zahringer gave away many different variants.
The example shown above has some rim issues but the etching is nice and enough to make a collector appreciate what a truly great design this is. It finally fell in a buy-it-now for $28.00.
The T M Ferguson is a San Francisco classic that looks great in the display case when in mint condition, and most of the extant examples I’ve seen indeed look to be mint. The example shown above was listed for sale by digbybot and sold for $121.35, which I think is well worth the price for looks alone, even though they have traditionally sold for less.
M Quinn glasses such as the one shown above are something of a puzzle to me because the always sell for a high premium. Yes, they’re KC glasses and there are many KC collectors vying for them, but there’s got to be a back story that accounts for their desirability – if anyone could shed light on the matter, please add a comment below. I know of three different Quinn variants. The one above is an example of the rarest of the three (there is also a rare “Bouquet Whiskey” glass and another flared QQQ glass that can be found in the database). It was listed for sale by qualtiqs and sold for $152.50.
This is one of the auctions that helped drive up the mean sales price this past month. It’s an Ebner Bros. Co. glass from Sacramento CA. It was listed for sale by digbybot, along with a handful of other Western glasses, two of which are still open for bidding.
There’s perhaps four known Ebner glasses; the one shown above (“Fine Quality Goods”) and three different variants of a Colonial Whiskey glass. They’re nice enough glasses and they’re Western, so they typically sell in the $40-$50 range, with a couple of them flirting with three digits. The glass shown above attracted a two-way bidding war before being sniped in the final seconds for an impressive $205.00.
Disclaimer: There is only one jingle bell. And it’s cracked, so it probably doesn’t jingle or even clang – more like a thunk. “Thunking bells, Thunking bells”, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it (hah!) so I’ll move on…
jcbottles brought this one to eBay – it’s a Liberty Bell Fine Rye Whiskey glass featuring the famous bell that currently resides behind bullet-proof glass in Philadelphia, just in case anyone might be tempted to tap it to remember the meaning of liberty in those halcyon days before we were all tracked and chipped and monitored 24/7. Of course the Founding Fathers did have cholera, smallpox, syphilis, and plywood teeth to deal with, so maybe they would think that the tradeoff was worth it.
I digress…. 🙂
It’s a rare glass that I’ve only seen once before (azsaloon picked up the other one back in 2006) that is attributable to Walter Moise & Co. of Omaha, NE (thanks to Brian H. to pointing this out to me). It sold for $45.00.
barberkim4675 recently listed a handful of Seattle glasses for sale on eBay that were expected to net hundreds of dollars given the present glass-hungry climate, but several of them turned out to be steals. Here’s one of the better ones – a beautiful red-etched Maryland Monogram Rye glass from Rothschild Bros. of Seattle, WA.
The glass listed with a $75 opener and closed with only a single interested bidder.
barberkim4675‘s listings were tucked away in a darkly-cobwebbed, dusty corner of the eBay universe in category Collectibles > Bottles & Insulators > Bottles > Antique (Pre-1900) > Flasks, which perhaps explains why there weren’t more followers.
True, it has a significant bruise/flake in the rim at front, but the final bid price of $37.66 is still a bargain considering that the mint condition examples are worth $200 or so now. See the database for more on the history of this glass.
Not a shot glass and not a whiskey glass but a highball advertising the Schiller Cigar Factory & Schiller Cigar Store of Portland, OR. The glass was offered at auction by seller cquimby2, who notes that it “is from the estate of CQuimby”. It’s a beautifully-etched glass and a pre-pro classic. It has a some minor rim damage at rear, but still a bargain at $32.00. Thanks Santa!
‘Tis the season of giving and eBay has rewarded the patient glassluster with hoardes of sparkling glasses to bid on, and bid on the glasslusters have – with wild abandon. The stats speak for themselves. In the past 28 days, 277 pre-pro glass auctions have come and gone on eBay, 122 auctions closed with no bidders, and the average price of glasses that sold was $49.92.
Maybe it’s cabin/covid fever that’s driving the price increase, but pretty much anything seems to be selling at the moment. By way of example, the B. S. Flersheim glass shown below was first listed for sale by lithiumgrin back in June, 2018. It failed to attract a bidder even after relisting twice with an opening bid of $23.00.
There are far more glasses to talk about than can be comfortably handled in a single SOTW, so I’ll save them for subsequent posts, but Santa also left a couple of lumps of coal that I’ll touch on here.
It’s a little faded – okay, a lot faded – but worth $20 as a placeholder , right? Someone clearly though so and snapped it up for the $40 bin price.
Did you look at the other listing pics?
If you’re at all familiar with this site, you’ll know how I feel about “desert glass”. By that, I mean that a glass that has been rendered a ghastly shade of putrid purple by exposing it to UV light, either through prolonged tanning under the sun or, as in this case, through artificial irradiation. I may have had a teensy rant about intentionally purpling glass in this way not so long ago.
This one was listed for sale by aquameds with a $35 bin. The listing did come with a disclaimer, much to the seller’s credit: “This shot glass is considered to be “IRRADIATED” as it got it’s PURPLE COLOR by MECHANICALLY ACCELERATING the “PURPLING PROCESS” through intense ULTRA VIOLET RAYS that would have taken a long time in the same ULTRA VIOLET RAYS of the SUN as opposed to the accelerated machine process. The glass was made with MANGANESE in the GLASS MIXTURE and that’s where the COLOR comes from……………..”
Kellerstrass glasses are easy to come by in nice condition for less than the one shown above, so I was more than a little surprised when the auction closed a few hours later for the asking price of $35. Maybe someone is starting a purple glass collection? We’ll probably never know.
Apologies for the frequent interruptions in service, but the site has been overrun with spiders and bots. When they descend on the site, they act much like a denial of service attack by hogging all available server connections. The shot glass, vendor, brand, and other databases rely on open connections to load, so they are crippled by overactivity. It’s been a challenge to keep the defensive walls intact.
So, let’s start with some data to get us grounded, remembering that we’ve recently transitioned from summer (when interest in everything pre-pro during non-Covid-infested times has typically been lack-luster) to fall, when buyer interest traditionally picks up. During the past two months, 397 pre-pro glass auctions closed, 173 closed without a buyer and the average price for glasses that sold was $34.80.
There haven’t been too many glasses worth getting excited about this past few weeks. There was a Ramsey’s Trinidad Aromatic Bitters glass they show up for sale every three years or so and are a budget-friendly way to add a LUG to the collection, even if it’s a West Indies LUG rather than a US one. The one below was listed by trsan-5934 and sold for $161.59.
If I had to name a Shot of the Week from the recent past, it would be the Pine Tree enamel listed by humbay. The listing photos were not the greatest, but I think that you can see that it’s rare one. The white enamel has retained some of its pastel highlighting (remember- everything was done by hand) and gold curlicues, but what makes it special is the fact that it has a US flag on the obverse. Not surprisingly, it sold for $361.90 and I thought that was cheap, all things considered. Sweet. Very sweet.
There have been a few head-scratcher auctions, prime among them being the Rosebud Whiskey listed by xxxtruk. I’m happy to see a plain-Jane text glass being bid up to a whopping $212.50, beating the previous high for this one by $178.87, but …. Huh? Please can someone explain this to me? I guess it’s the Applegate connection (see the database for more details on this glass and its history).
On to the title of this post – pre-pro or not pre-pro? That is the question (sorry Will).
As most of you are aware, there is increasing amounts of flotsam and jetsom floating in the eBay ocean, not to mention dross pretending to be gold (both would sink, so this probably is a bad mixing of metaphors, but hey, this is 2020 and anyone with an internet connection can gain 1,526,845 likes just for say that “The Pope wears red boxers”, so not feeling too guilty).
Where was I ? Right – pre-pro.
Soooooooo, now that we’re all sitting comfortably, pre-pro means anything produced prior to 1920, when the Volstead Act was enforced. That was 100+ years ago- don’t recall seeing any fireworks displays to celebrate that particular centennial anniversary earlier this year, and noone had even heard of Covid-19 back then, so we can’t use that as an excuse.
Flash forward 100 years plus 11 months and itsnfs8 (Pam – tsk, tsk; you should really should know better) lists this glass for sale with the title “ANTIQUE 1932 OLYMPIC GAMES PRE PRO ACID ETCHED ADVERTISING SALOON SHOT GLASS ”
This is not the only example – here’s another: “Lot of 9 Pre-Pro Pre-Prohibition Assorted Antique Glass Shot Glasses; IL IA IN +“, listed for sale by askwesell2.
Test time- how many pre-pro glasses do you see for sale here?
doo-doo ~ doo-doo, doo-doo ~ doo-doo, doo-doo ~ doo-doo ~ doo-dudity doo….. etc. etc. (RIP Alex Trebek; 1940-2020).
If you see 9, then you’re probably viewing via a Dominion or Smartmatic voting machine.
I see 2. The glasses with red, black, or orange labels are almost certainly not pre-pro (the mini-mug may be early post pro?). The Fels and the trashed Puritan Rye are legit pre-pro. The three thick-walled, molded flute glasses (two Kentucky Taverns and an Old Thompson, both from Glenmore Distilleries) are almost certainly post-Repeal and perhaps early 1940’s, but that’s just my hunch.
If you like pre-pros that are not pre-pros, there’s a bunch for sale on eBay at the moment. Here’s a selection;
Before we get a little too cocky – here’s a final example of a glass that looks iffy but is a genuine pre-pro:
The example above was listed by jcbottles and sold for $27.00. It’s a heavy, molded glass – fluted, looks like it could be post-Repeal, right? Right – except that there is a bona fide thin-walled version in the database, so most likely it is actually pre-pro.
Which is why pre-pro shot-collecting is endlessly fascinating, because the more you know, the more you realize that there is so much more to know.
We’re now five months into The Horror that is SARS-Cov-2 and, with no end in sight, we’re probably all one step removed from batshit crazy. Enough already! Anyway….. it should perhaps not be surprising that recent bidding activity on eBay raised at least two eyebrows in recent days. Case in point #1:
This “Old Joe Perkins” glass was listed for sale along with a handful of other pre-pro glasses a few months ago by bigdaddysauctionsusa with a $200 buy-it-now. The Joe Perkins brand is attributed to the Perkins & Manning Distilling Co. of Owensboro, KY. It’s a plain text glass that probably dates to the late pre-pro period (Perkins & Manning appear in the business directories once, in 1918). The glass shows up for sale annually and has been selling in the $10-$40 range, the highest prices being realized in the last year or so, but $200, no way. Wrong . It sold on July 30 for the asking price of $200. Hmmmm…… maybe the buyer’s name is Joe Perkins?
And then there was this offering:
The “Ask For Winner” glass is common and shows up for sale on a regular basis. Given the style of the glass and the label, it probably dates to the 1930’s (i.e., post-Repeal), so it’s difficult to imagine that anyone would bite on a $25 glass with a $249.95 opening bid. Wrong. The glass was listed for sale by jfcolle-33 on July 22 and, amazingly enough, it was purchased 7 days later by bidder l***i. Hey, if anyone is interested in a bargain – one of these glasses has been sitting on the sales page here at pre-pro for many moons now and its a STEAL at $28!
The Ben. Franklin Rye above was another expensive glass from recent days (closing bid was $213.50) but this one was worth the closing price given it given that it’s an enamel glass. It was listed for sale by raycola. Ben Franklin was a Delaney & Murphy (Chicago, IL) brand and there are at several plain text glasses bearing the brand name, three of which are in the database. There are only a handful of glasses inscribed with the crudely-applied, thin enamel that appears on the glass above, one from Benton, PA (a McHenry glass) and three from Chicago (the Ben Franklin Rye, an Old Settler’s Club, and a White Port), so the enameller was probably based in the windy city.
Finally, I thought the Thixton’s V.O. 10 Years Old glass (“V.O.” = very old?) shown below was eminently noteworthy because its a red-etched glass. It looks as if it’s a vintage glass rather than being antique, but I believe that it most likely is a bona fide pre-pro glass. The Thixton name is strongly associated with Kentucky and the glass is most likely from Thixton, Millett & Co., of Louisville and Owensboro. I’ve also seen a white-etched variant of this glass, also flared.
The glass was listed for sale by agallery with an opening bid of $13. It sold for $23.16, which is a good price for a red-etched glass, even factoring in the $11 shipping quote. The seller notes include the statement “Mint condition. I have more of these.” I haven’t made enquiries, but if you missed this glass the first time around, there may be a chance to get one after the fact.
I pulled the image above out of the database (which is currently offline -see below) in recognition of the day; there are few pre-pro glasses that feature the Stars and Stripes so prominently, although my memory is getting a little fuzzy around the edges after so many weeks of social-media fueled bizarritude. The only other one that comes to mind is a “Drink Old Glory” from Pearce & Co. of New Orleans, LA.
It’s been a struggle to find glasses worth mentioning over the the past two months, partly because the number of glasses listing for sale on eBay has dropped sharply (the usual summer lull) and partly because most of what has been listing has been run-of-the mill glasses or relists. Over the past 8 weeks, 290 glass auctions closed, 103 closed without a bidder, and the average price was $49.08.
Standing at 3-1/2″ tall, the “Nymphs and Satyre” below is not a shot glass but it caught my attention because it’s clearly a George Truog original. It was listed by wellman3 as a beer glass, but it was probably intended to be a part of a dinner service to hold water or some other non-alcoholic beverage. It fetched $102. If you keep a mindful eye out when trawling antique malls, glasses like this can usually be had for a fraction of that price and make an interesting (and usable) adjunct to the collection.
You’ll be aware from previous posts that I’m always on the lookout for items that tell us something about the history of pre-pro glasses, including how they were etched, who the recipients were, and how they were shipped. A couple of weeks ago I ran across a buy-it-now auction that featured an original box containing 7 pre-pro glasses. The glasses are all plain-Jane and known, but the lot is interesting because it contained two I W Harpers, two Owl Hollows, two Old Rockwells, and a Pure old Hickory. I W Harper and Owl Hollow were both Bernheim Bros. (Louisville, KY) brands. The owner of Old Rockwell is unknown, whereas Old Hickory appears to have been claimed and sold by many different liquor dealers.
The box doesn’t offer any clues as to who might have been the sender or the recipient – it is simply marked with a black stamp that says “1 DOZ BOX WHISKIES”. The lettering is dirty and faded and hard to read, but may include glass capacity also.
The glasses inside all look to be unused and in mint condition, suggesting that they shipped together and were kept together, but it’s hard to be certain. Regardless, it’s a nice find from a historical point of view.
The Rose-fever that I mentioned in the last SOTW continues. Who could have imagined that the sad, faded Chattanooga/Jacksonville shown below would have fetched $450? It’s a rare glass, but $450?
And the there was this one – a three-city glass (ATL/CHA/JAX) that I’d not seen before; this went for $760. I mean, seriously?
gator-ben (the seller) must be looking for a private island to buy at this point (I hear Richard Branson has put Necker Island up for sale to help shore up Virgin Atlantic – that would be nice one).
You will have noticed that that there are no links to the shot glass database in this post. That’s because the site was originally written using a now-prehistoric version of php, the popular scripting language. The company that host pre-pro.com recently updated php to a version that does not recognize many of the antiquated commands that make the databases work, so for now, they are kaput. Normal service may be resumed about the same time a viable covid-19 vaccine becomes widely available. In other words, it may be some time. Stay healthy, stay well.