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Article Archive

Each month I add another paragraph or two to the main page about some topic related to shotglasses and shot glass collecting. This page contains the archive of those items.

Metal Shotglasses

Shotglasses that are made of metal are one of those items that Mark Pickvet explicitly excludes from his definition of a shotglass. The rationale for the exclusion was twofold: One part of the reason is that dram glasses were often made of metal, so older metal glasses were "dram glasses" and not "shot glasses." The second part of the reason was that a shotglass needs to be made out of glass (or a similar substance such as ceramic.) I disagree with both parts of the argument.

There are certain fields such as the sciences where classification is exact, and where the categories do not overlap (something cannot be both a reptile and a mammal.) But these rules often get blurred once you leave the world of the experts: most people do not know that a spider is not an insect. The world of consumer goods does not have anywhere near the detailed requirements for classification as the scientific community, and when you mix the "average joe" and a marketing department, things take on a life of their own.

Some metal glasses may be old enough to have been used for dramming, but if they also fit the general size and shape of a shotglass (a more recent invention than the dram glass), they should qualify as shotglasses. There are quite a few newer glasses that have been created explicitly as shotglasses (some of this is thanks to the marketing departments). There are also many metal glasses from countries such as Germany, India and Peru where the act of "dramming" was not common.

The final point, that a "glass" must be made of glass is a pretty weak argument. Most people call spectacles (the things that you wear to correct vision) "glasses" but today, many of them are made out of plastic, because plastic is lighter, and harder to break than the original glass lenses. During the 1950s aluminum timblers became common, but most people still called them "glasses."

I include metal glasses in my shotglass collection. Some of them, especially the newer ones, are exactly the same size and shape as a standard shotglass. But there are also some, especially those from outside of America, that are different. As long as they function like a shotglass and are not something else like a double-ended jigger, they belong in a shotglass collection.

NASCAR Shotglasses

I was a NASCAR fan when I was younger, but did not follow the sport during my college years. My wife and kids have gotten me back into watching races, and since the racers of my youth (Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough to name two) are no longer driving, I have started following Mark Martin -- I guess I still like the old timers instead of the younger crowd. I have quite a collection of NASCAR shot glasses for as many drivers and tracks as I can find.

Recently, I have been finding it harder to locate NASCAR glasses. My wife's favorite driver is Jimmie Johnson, who is the reigning champion, but I have been unable to find a glass celebrating his championship. We visited the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Speed Shop in North Carolina, and Daytona International Speedway in Florida and could not find one. I have checked all of the obvious places online, but still have not found one.

If you know where I can get a championship glass for the 48 car, let me know

Another Movie Shotglass

I was recently watching the original Nutty Professor starring Jerry Lewis, and noticed an interesting shotglass during one of the scenes. In the movie, the professor's alter-ego uses the name Buddy Love. During one scene, Buddy is sitting at a piano at a club named The Purple Pit when the waitress brings over his "boilermaker" (a shot and a beer). The shot in this scene appears to be a four ounce glass with fairly straight sides.

I had known that this type of glass was very popular during the 1940s and 1950s, and since the movie was released in 1963, I now know that they were still popular in the early 1960s. Unfortunately, these glasses are usually ignored by most collectors today because they do not conform to the "small glass with thick sides" stereotype. The outside dimensions of one of these glasses is identical to the dimensions of standard "Double Shot" so they are not any larger than a glass that is often included in a shotglass collection, so it is either the fact that they are made of thin glass, or the fact that they hold four ounces of liquid that cause collectors to ignore them.

This style of glass is particularly interesting to me, because, if these are considered shotglasses, I purchased my first shotglass while I was in elementary school. During a class trip to the Museum of Natural History in New York City, I picked up a small glass with a dinosaur on it. It does not have any measuring lines on it, and I did not associate it with a shotglass until very recently, but it is the size and shape of these often ignored shotglasses.

Shotglasses in really old movies

I have been watching old movies (and cartoons) to see if I can catch them using shotglasses, in order to find out when shotglasses first start to be used. I mention cartoons because there are a couple of boxed sets of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons out, and I have been watching them with my children, and during one of the cartoons while someone is being chased through a hollywood backlot, they pass a bar with a bottle and a shotglass on it.

Over Christmas vacation I went to Disney MGM Studios at Disney World in Orlando. One of the rides there is called The Great Movie Ride, and while you wait to get onto the ride, they show clips from old movies. I commented to my wife that there was only one of the movies that they show that I have not seen -- Footlight Parade. So after returning from the trip I watched the movie, and there is a musical number called Shanghai Lil where James Cagney is a sailor looking for a girl in China. During the scene he grabs a bottle and a shot glass.

The glass that he uses looks like a fairly common one ounce whiskey without the thick base we associate with shots. According to the dialogue, what he is drinking is brandy. The scene shows him sipping the brandy instead of "doing a shot." I am not sure if this means people were not drinking shots in 1933 when the movie was made, or whether sipping fit the scene better (he puts down his un-finished glass and his friend pours the rest into his own glass).

So are there any other film buffs out there who can point out scenes in movies made in the early 1930s or earlier where the characters use shotglasses? I have had a number of people point out the "Play it again, Sam" scene in Casablanca, but Rick drinks from a juice glass, not a shot glass. If you know of any let me know.

Retro Video Game Shots

Someone sent me email with a link to some Pac-Man shotglasses. I thought that I should share the link with the rest of you. They look pretty good, and are reasonably priced. Here is the link for the Pac-Man Shotglass Set .

State Shots (and more)

I found this site a couple of years ago, but at that time it had a site design that did not work correctly in all browsers. It looks like they have fixed the problem, and added some more glasses. Here is a link to State Glasses A through C. At the bottom of the page are links to the rest of the states, and to many other designs.

Shot Of The Month Club

There have been discussions over the years about reviving the Shotglass Club of America or creating a new club. One of the other ideas was to create a Shot of Month Club. Well, someone has decided to start a new club.

Here is the web site for the Shotglass Club . It is still in the final stages of planning, so you cannot get any glasses yet, but you can sign up to be notified when it opens. You can also submit your own designs, which will be considered for a "glass of the month."


While investigating the origins of the shotglass, I ran into a term that I have not heard before: dramshop. My initial research indicates that it is an old word, pre-dating the American revolution. It disappeared from general use in America after prohibition, but is still in use in the British Isles. Where the word is still likely to be heard in America is in the discussion of laws that hold the owner of a drinking establishment liable for damages caused by an intoxicated patron. These laws are known as "dramshop laws," the first of which was passed in 1849.

While looking for a definition for dramshop, I ran across a 1913 supreme court decision that gives the definition as (places) "where intoxicating liquors, in small quantities, to be drunk at the time, are sold" (not the best grammar but hey, its the supreme court :) The term usually applies to all types of places that sell "spirits" for immediate consumption, but for at least part of the 1800s, that was not the case.

An article about the town of Ellsworth Kansas in 1873 lists saloons and dramshops as different types of businesses. At that time, the term saloon was reserved for the large, fancy establishments, while dramshop was used for the less fancy establishments. The same article gave an example of a non-saloon drinking establishment when it indicated that three of the hotels were licensed to sell alcohol; the bar in a hotel would be considered a dramshop. The scene in the movie Unforgiven where Clint Eastwood's character shoots an un-armed man, and then says the memorable line "Well, he should have armed himself" takes place in a less-than-fancy bar that would count as a dramshop.

The Most Valuable Shotglasses

The most valuable shotglasses that I know of, were released to commemorate the Kentucky Derby. There was at least one Kentucky Derby shotglass or jigger released back in 1945, and more recently they have been released on an annual basis since 1987. From 1987 to 1992 there were less than five varieties of glasses each year, but starting with 1993 the number of different glasses increased. The worst year for collectors was 1996, where a dozen "official" glasses were released, and a dozen other glasses were created. Some call these additional glasses "unofficial," some call them "bootleg," but everybody agrees that they are rare.

I cannot find a price for the 1945 glass, but the least valuable of the 1987 glasses is worth about $300. There were two sizes of glasses in 1987, with two designs for each size glass. The last price that I saw for the most valuable variety was over $1,000. Every Kentucky Derby shotglass from 1992 or earlier is worth more than $20.

Another group of valuable glasses are also the oldest shotglasses, but some people argue that they are not shotglasses because they are made of thin glass. They are known by a number of different names: "pre prohibition sample glass" or "pre prohibition whiskey taster." My friend Robin runs a site dedicated to these: Pre-Pro.com

Adding To The Database

If you have pictures of a glass in the database that you would like to share, or have information about a glass that is not in the database, please go to the Add A Glass page and submit the glass.

The information that you provide will not be automatically added to the database because it will need to be reviewed to prevent abuse, but when you submit the information, you will see how the entry will appear when it does get added to the database. If you include your name and email, you will eventually be able to search on that information. If you submit every glass in your collection, you will be able to do a search that displays your entire collection.

Happy New Year!

Welcome to a new year of shotglass collecting! I have been working on adding new glasses to my collection, but have not had time to add them to the database. Things have been a little busy around my house with the addition of our third child Walter .

New Message Board Update: I have finished updating the message board link on every page. Unfortunately, some search engines still point to the old links.

New Message Board

My Hosting company has banned the use of my old message board software (which they used to recommend) so I had to update my site to use a different product. With this change, any bookmarks that you have will not work. Hopefully the new code will work well.

I have not updated the message board link on every page yet, just on the main page, and the message pages.

Shotglass Origin

I have been researching the origin of the shotglass for quite some time, and I recently wrote a paper on the topic and submitted it to a journal for publication. Unfortunately, I was not aware that this was a "peer reviewed" journal, which means that all submissions need to be reviewed and approved by your peers. As I am not a professional Etymologist, my submission was not up to the standards of the reviewers. I will attempt to bring my paper up to the expected standard and submit it again.

I will not tell the whole story here at this time, but based on my research, the shotglass was born in America in the early 1900s. Some well-known facts that support this position are that shotglasses from before the 1940s are very rare, and that most shotglasses are found in America. A less-known fact is that the word shotglass (or phrase "shot glass") does not show up in print until the 1940s and does not come into common usage until much later.

Assuming that the origin of the shotglass was sparked by some type of "special circumstances" that existed in America in the years before the Second World War, there are two likely candidates: the passage of the Volstead act (more commonly known as Prohibition) and The Great Depression. Since the Great Depression was a worldwide phenomenon, and shotglasses evolved only in America, the depression was probably not a major influence on the birth of the shotglass. That leaves Prohibition as the most likely influence.

Claiming that Prohibition was a significant influence on the birth of the shotglass is not too hard for most people to imagine, especially since there is an obvious connection between Prohibition and the shotglass: they are both related to alcohol. Before Prohibition, thin-sided sample glasses were common; After Prohibition the shotglass with its thick base and sides had replaced the sample glass. Something must have happened during Prohibition to spark the change.

... to be continued ...

Football Glasses

I have two glasses that have the NFL logo and the logo of a football team. They are different than most other football glasses that I have seen in a number of ways. The most obvious difference is that the designs are fairly simple and are made of only one color. Although the glasses are the "standard" shape, they have thin sides and have a thin base. Pickvet has one of them in his books, Green Bay Packers SWI010, a green design. The other is the Colts, with a blue design

I originally thought that these glasses were part of a complete set of NFL glasses, but since I have only found glasses for two teams after years of searching, it is possible that there may only be two glasses in the set. If there are only two glasses in the set, then the set was probably made for an important game -- either a playoff or a championship. After looking through the list of football championships and playoffs, the only time that the Colts and the Packers met was for the Western Conference Championship in 1965.

If anybody has seen other glasses like this, let me know!


There is a new website for the collector of pre-prohibition shotglasses -- pre-pro.com. For those of you who do not know, pre-prohibition glasses are advertising glasses that were made in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, before the Volsted act made consumption of alcohol illegal in the United States. These glasses are made of much thinner glass than the average shotglass, and were given away with the purchase of alcohol (anybody could purchase alcohol through the mail). Their age and their thin glass make them fairly rare, and even the most common one is worth 2 to 3 times the average shotglass.

Mini-mug shotglass or "Penny Candy Scoop"?

Many years ago, my grandmother cleaned out her closet and gave me the 5 or 6 shotglasses that she had accumulated over the years. Among the items that she gave me was a small mug, almost like a beer mug, but a very short beer mug with almost no glass above or below the handle. She said she was not sure if it was a shotglass or if it was a scoop for penny candy, and at the time I did not care which it was, I was just glad to add it to my collection. Over the years I have seen many of these, in a variety of sizes and shapes, and they are usually labeled as either a "penny candy scoop" or as a "shotglass" -- apparently, nobody can decide what to call them.

About two years ago, I purchased a boxed set of glasses that cleared up the situation, at least in my mind. The box is a “Rumpus Set” made by the Federal Glass Company (Federal called its sets of shotglasses after World War II “Rumpus Sets” because the “rumpus room” is where you had your parties). The label on the box calls this set the “Gem Tone Rumpus Set” and the box contains a set of 4 mini-mug shotglasses, with the "F in shield" mark on the bottom of each glass. The box for this set does not have a top, but it is instead sealed in cellophane, which puts it near the end of the Rumpus Set timeline. There are quite a few of these mugs in circulation, which agrees with a more recent, post-war timeframe, (and penny candy scoops are primarily a pre-war item).

About a year ago I purchased two mugs that I am sure are "Penny Candy Scoops" because they have the names of a candy molded into them. I can understand why people would confuse an item from their childhood with a similar item from a later time period. The "Scoops" are approximately the same size and shape, as the Federal mugs, and except for the candy name, it would be easy to call them shotglasses. There are quite a few small mugs out there that are not made by Federal, and that do not have candy names on them. They might be shotglasses or they might be scoops. But I am certain that the mini-mugs, with 12 rounded flutes around the base and made by Federal, are shotglasses.

Plastic Shotglasses!

Someone recently asked me what was the largest category (Souvenir, Advertising, etc.) of glasses in my collection. As anyone who visits this site often knows, I prefer to describe my glasses and provide keywords for searching. I do not put glasses into categories, because many glasses fall into multiple categories, or do not fit any of the categories that you have already created.

I decided that it would be interesting to figure out, if I did categorize the glasses, what would be the largest category. So I rearranged my database and came up with some totals. At some time in the past, it was Advertising, especially glasses of different brands of alcohol, that was the largest category. At the moment, I have more Souvenir glasses than any other type.

How did advertising, especially liquor advertising, fall behind? I blame it on the current trend of making plastic shotglasses. Plastic glasses are cheaper to produce and give away, and they have the additional benefit that, when they break, people are less likely to get injured. But I still do not like plastic glasses, and while I regularly find new souvenir glasses, I rarely find new liquor Advertising glasses to add to my collection. (And I forget, is a Hard Rock glass Avertising or Souvenir? :)

Why Do You Collect Shotglasses?

Someone recently interviewed me for an article about shotglass collecting, and one of the questions that they asked was "Why are shotglasses so popular?" I know why I started collecting, and I know why I continue to collect, but why do YOU collect shotglasses? Let me know, either via Feedback or post a message on the Message Board

I started collecting shotglasses because they were small and inexpensive, and since I did not have much money or space, they seemed like the perfect item to collect. As I built my collection, the fact that there was little information about the hobby helped inspire me to build my collection and to learn as much as possible about shotglasses. As I learned more, I started building this site, to organize what I had learned, and to share what I had learned.

Selling Your Collection

I often get asked "How much is my collection worth?" It you have ever watched the "Antiques Roadshow" or a similar show where they tell you what something is worth, they usually put a disclaimer such as "At a well advertised auction, with the right people in the crowd" right before they tell the price. Shotglasses are just like any other collectible -- How much an item sells for depends on who is buying, but an equally important factor is how it is sold.

When selling a collection, there are a number of factors to consider: How much time and effort are you willing to put into the sale? What is your primary objective: "to get rid of them all" or "to get the most money?" Selling a collection as one lot is the fastest way, and it ensures that you "get rid of them all" but selling one large lot will probably not bring in the most money. Think of your collection as a "box lot" -- a jumble of items of varying value and importance that is being sold for a single price. Some people will buy a "box lot" because they want every item, but that is the unusual case. It is more likely that someone will buy the "box-lot" for one or two items, as long as the whole lot does not exceed the value of the item(s) they want. There are other people who will not buy a "box lot" because they do not want to have to deal with getting rid of the unwanted parts.

Selling each item individually is also not the best approach, especially if selling online, because most people are not willing to pay $3.00 shipping for a $3.00 item. Most collections contain a few items that are not very "desirable" for one reason or another: Maybe they are "boring" (a plain glass or one with a simple design) or made out of plastic (I hate plastic shotglasses) or maybe you have items such as bottle-stopper jiggers/pourers that most shotglass collectors are not interested in. If one of your goals is to "get rid of them all" then you will probably fail when trying to sell these individually.

A more balanced approach is to sell the collection in smaller lots. Selling smaller lots brings the price per lot down to where more people are willing or able to buy (more people can afford to buy a $10 item than can afford a $10,000 item). Smaller lots may attract more people by lowering the "signal to noise ratio" -- the amount of stuff you do want (the signal) compared to the amount of stuff you don't want (the noise) -- More people will buy a group of 10 items to get the 5 items they want than will buy a group of 500 to get those same 5 items. When selling many smaller lots, the "less desirable" objects might actually sell better -- a small lot of shotglasses and plastic bottle-top pourers, might be bought by a pourer collector, who would never have bid on the shotglass lot of 500. If selling online, selling smaller lots is more attractive to a buyer than the single glass approach because the shipping for an auction becomes a much smaller percentage of the total price for an auction.

International Glasses From Epcot

Epcot at Walt Disney World has a section called the World Showcase where a number of countries have re-created a portion of their country for your enjoyment. Some have rides, some have restaurants, and they all have shops -- it's almost like travelling around the world. A few years ago (around 1998), there was a set of shotglasses, one from each of the represented countries, with the flag of each country on a glass. These "glasses" were ceramic, and had no marks on them that would identify them as being from Epcot -- the ones that I have are listed here Epcot Flag Set.

I went to Florida for Thanksgiving this year, and of course visited Epcot. While there, I discovered that they have a new set of glasses. Like the old set, each glass of this new set has a flag of one of the countries on it, but unlike the old set, this set is not ceraimic -- the glasses are made out of clear glass. In addition to the flag, the new design has the country name (usually repeated three times, but not always). As with the earlier set, there is no mention od Disney or Epcot on the glasses. I did not enter them as a set, so they are a little harder to find in the database, but they should show up Here.

Two Fingers

One of the most misundestood sets of glasses is made up of different sized metal cups with a small hand added near the rim of each cup. The hand has either one, two or three fingers raised, depending on the size of the cup, with the smallest cup having a hand with one finger raised, while the largest has three fingers raised. The largest glass is often labeled "boy scout memorabilia" because the boy scout sign is a raised hand with three fingers extended. The middle sized glass, with two fingers raised, usually has a space between the fingers, and is frequently identified as either a "V for Victory" or "a Peace Sign" depending on the age of the seller. These descriptions, while creative, are not correct.

In the days before the adoption of standards, body parts were often used as units of measure -- the bible talks about measuring things in cubits (the distance from the elbow to the tip of the longest finger) the foot was obviously based on the size of someones foot, and the height of horses is still measured in hands . In the days before jiggers or shotglasses, drinks were measured in fingers; a small drink would be "one fingers worth" -- the depth of the liquid in the glass would be the width of one finger, an average drink would be "two fingers worth," etc. The "one finger," "two fingers," and "three fingers" jiggers are just modern references to these old standards.

Canadian Glasses

I have had a complete set of what I call the Federal Recipe Set for almost 10 years, and have seen the same glasses many times. I even have two sets in their original boxes, which describes them as a "Rumpus Set" from the Federal Glass Company in Ohio. I just received a box from Canada that looks very similar, but calls them a "Galaxy Rumpus Set" from a company named Cutler (with no location given for the company). I though that this was just going to be one of those times where the boxes are different, but the glasses are the same, and two of the glasses are identical to the glasses from the Federal box. But the glass with the recipe for a Manhattan has the word Rye instead of Bourbon (as in the picture to the left) and the glass with the recipe for Sours has the word Scotch instead of Rye. Also, the recipes on the back have changed to use the new type of liquor.
I have one other Cutler box, but did not know that it came from Canada. The glasses in that box gave a bowling theme, and I have not seen that design in a Federal box, so I was unaware of the connection between the two companies. The other Cutler box does look like some of the Federal boxes, but I just thought it was a case of one company copying a rival. If anybody knows more about Cutler, let me know!

10,000 Glasses

Late last month I added a few more glasses to my collection and now have over 10,000 glasses in my collection! Of these, more than 7,000 are unique, which means that about 1/4 of my collection is duplicates. I think that I have more duplicates in my collection than the average collector, but there is a reason for this. First, I like to find sets in their original boxes. Although many sets are made up of glasses with different but related designs, other sets are multiple glasses of the same design. When you have a boxed set of these, you have 2, 4, 6 or 8 glasses with the same design (depending on the size of the box). Even with sets made up of glasses with different designs, I might have two or more boxes, because the box that they came in changed. I have about 300 sets in their original boxes.

Another reason why I have duplicates of some glasses is research. I like to find "varieties" of glasses, glasses with differences between designs that look similar. While some of these differences, such as a change in color, are obvious, other differences are only evident when you have two glasses that you can put next to each other. The most common type of variety that I find this way is a change in the size of the design, or a change in size of a design element. One example of this is the "Coca-Cola Refreshes You Best" glass where the words are surrounded by a square. The width of the line that makes the square varies, as does the shape of the square -- on some glasses the bottom side is noticeably shorter than the top line. I believe some of these differences are because some of the glasses are unofficial reproductions.

Finding places that Sell Shot Glasses

There is a new feature of the Google search engine that makes it easier to find places that sell shotglasses on the web. It is a function that will search the web for pictures, and show you thumbnails of what it found. While Google is not the first search engine to allow searching for images (Altavista has had that function for a while) I never thought of using it to search for places that sell shot glasses. Since the Altavista and Google searches return thumbnails of the images that it finds, you can see what is being sold without having to go browse through the entire website. The Google search is still in "beta test" but from some brief testing, it finds more images and sites than Altavista. Click on the names above to use Altavista or Google to search the web for pictures of shotglasses.

Types Of Glasses

I have been thinking about how people classify glasses, and came to the decision that there are really only two types of shotglasses: Advertising and Barware. It is obvious to most people that a glass with the Jack Daniel's name is and "Advertising" glass, a glass advertising a brand of whiskey. Many people talk about "Souvenir" glasses (I like "Souvenir" better than "Tourist") but what is a "Souvenir" glass except a specialized type of Advertising? Many cities and states have slogans developed by some advertising agency: "I Love New York", "Virginia Is For Lovers", "New Jersey And You, Perfect Together". Even sports teams are a form of advertising for the city that they play in -- they get people to come to town to see games and spend some money while they are there. If you go to Disney World and buy a Disney shot glass, that glass is really just and advertisement for the Theme Park.

The Barware category covers the kinds of glasses thqat would have been purchased as something to use in a home bar or around the dinner table. This includes glasses that are part of a larger set of glassware, glasses with humorous sayings, and glasses with measuring lines. The Elegant Glass, Carnival Glass and Early American Pattern Glass are all types of Barware, as are sets like the Roving Eyes and the larger "Say When" glasses.

What do you think about there only being two types of shotglass? Click here to send me a message and tell me what you think. I have not been able to come up with any glass that does not fit in these two categories...

Nesting Cups

Nesting cups is the name given a set of cups, usually made out of metal, where the members of the set fit inside each other. One of the benefits of this type of cup is that since they fit inside of each other, they do not take up as much space as "normal" cups, and are useful when traveling, hiking or camping. While these can be larger, 4 ounce cups, the most common size holds about an ounce, an d therefore ends up in the shotglass category.

Nesting cups can be found in a variety of containers, but the cups themselves have two distinct types. The older cups are all different sizes, with each cup just a bit larger than the last, so that the previous, smaller cup can fit inside of it, and when nestled together, the rim of the inner glass is at the same level as the rim of the outer glass. This means that there is an order to how they need to be stacked, and when they are put together all six cups take up as much space as the largest. In a set of the newer type of nesting cup, all of the cups are identical in size and shape, and they usually have a pronounced lip or rim. A set of these newer, one-size cups, a stack of six takes up the space of about two cups. This type appeared some time before 1934. Most of these are nickel plated, although they do appear in a pure copper finish.

The prices of these sets vary depending on the type of casing that they come in and if the case is made out of leather, the condition of the leather. The older sets and sets with "interesting" cases, such as a case shaped like a bullet or a piece of fruit have values in the $20-$40 range, while newer sets in a plain leather case can be found in the $10-$20 range.

New page -- Shotglass Values

I am often asked about the value of a certain glass, or what is the most valuable glass in my collection. I decided it was time to create a page about shot glass values. One comment about value -- What you are willing to sell an item for and what someone else is willing to pay is often quite different, and it is not always that the seller is willing to pay less than you did. Often, the "right" buyer is willing to pay more than you expect. Also, be aware that the values of certain glasses vary by location -- an area with a large collector base is likely to have higher prices than an area with few collectors. Do not expect to get rich on your shotglass collection, have fun with it instead!


One of the more interesting glasses that I have encountered is currently being made as a toothpick holder. My way of distinguishing between a shotglass and a toothpick is to look at the rim: If the edge is smooth like a glass, it is a shotglass. If the rim has a fancy sawtooth, or is made of molded flowers and leaves, or any other non-smooth surface, then it is a toothpick. Since these have a smooth rim, I call them shotglasses (especially since they are made out of glass and not porcelain). These glasses are shaped like an oversized sewing thimble, with the words Just A Thimble Full on a section of smooth glass between the rim and the dimpled bottom.

Some of these glasses are "antique" while some are of modern production. I have two colors (clear or crystal and orange) that are not on the list of colors currently being made -- I do not know if this means they are originals, or just colors that have been discontinued by the current manufacturer. Some of these glasses have no mark on them, while others have a circled W on the inside base. I do not know if this is a means of distingushing between manufacturers and dates, or is just a sign of not enough glass in the mold to take an impression. As far as I can tell, the circled W was a mark for L.G. Wright, but they are no longer in business, and their assets (including molds) were sold at auction. The glasses are currently being reproduced by Mosser Glass of Cambridge Ohio (whose mark is an M in an outline of the state of Ohio, so they do not have the Mosser mark). Mosser sells them as toothpick holders in five colors: Cobalt blue (dark blue), Hunter Green (dark green), Pink, Teal (aqua/light green) and Vaseline (bright yelllow whigh glows under blacklight). I have also found a place online that sells them: BargainShack Thimbles

Is That Design Etched or Cut?

I often see glasses described as having a "Cut" design or an "Etched" design but I was not sure of the difference. I recently read an interesting article that explained the difference. Cutting is a "mechanical" action - using a grinding wheel or stone to remove some glass to make a pattern or a design. Etching is a chemical process where the glass is exposed to acid to remove some of the glass to create the design. The color of the design does not indicate whether it has been etched or cut -- further treatment can make the design "clear" or "frosted." One distinguishing feature is the "profile" of the edge of the design. The edges of most cut patterns have an angled or rounded appearance, while the edges of most etched designs have a sharp right angle (under magnification you might say it looked like a cliff). Running your fingernail over the edge of the design may help -- on cut patterns it moves smoothly, while on etched patterns it shoud get caught on the sharp lip. Beware that if your "etched" pattern is actually made of applied paint or enamel, you might chip some of it off with this test, as I recently did with a "John Deere" glass.

The First of a Very Popular Set

Last month I wrote about finding one of the first "roving eye" glasses -- the "Down Da Hatch!" glass with an un-shaven bad-guy wearing a mask and a checkered cap. Well this month I found another of these, but this one is even better -- I found an entire set in the original box. I was very surprised to see that they are not called Roving Eyes -- the box has the phrase Sure-Shot - The Eyes Have It!! on the cover, and both of the letter "e" in the word eyes have an eye in it. Unlike the last one that I found, the design on this one is shiny, just like all of the other ones, but like the previous one, the words are formatted differently (more lines, more space between the lines) than the majority of these glasses. The glasses have the Anchor Hocking mark on them, but the box does not have a company name. I think that Anchor Hocking provided the "raw" glasses to another company, who added the design.

My Most Frequently Asked Question

I get quite a few messages from the site from people saying that they found the site and like it. I get more messages that are asking questions -- everything from "Where can I get glass X?" (Usually preceded by, "My friend had this awsome shotglass, and I broke it") To "Where can I buy a glass from all 50 states?" (I still don't have an answer to this one, do you? -- check out the links page for as many states as I have found) But the most commonly asked questions are about displaying glasses -- How do I display mine, and where can they buy display cases. Here is a new page that answers these questions.

Another milestone (or two) for my collection

I recently added a few interesting glasses to my collection, and also added glass number 7,000 to it (I now have over 7,000 glasses). The world record is over 8,400 different glasses, and the person with that collection has over 12,000 glasses total, so I still have a way to go :) I am not certain how many different glasses I have because I keep noticing new details, and have to go back through my collection to see if I missed it when I described a similar glass, or if it is truly a new variety.

For those of you who know what the "Roving Eyes" boxes look like, there is a picture of a "bad guy" or "thief" on the box. I have finally found a glass with that design! The saying on the back is "Down Da Hatch!." The image is "dull" (not shiny enamel) and is larger than most of the other "Roving Eye" designs -- it is almost as tall as the glass itself -- with very little space above and below. With it was one of the "I Say Jolly What" glasses, and it too has a "dull" finish and a much larger image. Another difference that I note is that the lines of words on the back are spaced differently than those on similar glasses, and there is no comma after "I Say"

Another recent find was a "Bottoms Up" with two monkeys hanging by their tails, but this one is different than all of the others that I have seen. This one has black monkeys with red faces, but it also has the monkeys holding something in their usually empty hands. The monkey on the left is holding a bottle, and the monkey on the right is holding a glass. The lines of the bottle and glass are rather thin, so I guess they were removed because they were causing quality control problems.


I am in the process of trying to come up with guidelines for dating a glass based on the shape of the glass, and what the maker's mark on the base of the glass looks like. I am trying to determine the earliest use of a particular style of glass and the range of dates that a particular maker's mark was in use. For example, the Libbey Glass Company recently changed the base of their glasses -- The main mark is still a script upper-case L but the "mold numbers" are now below the letter, while prior to 1998 they were to the left of the letter.

This is where you can help me. If you have any glasses that have a date on them, such as those that were were made for a specific event, like a wedding, or the Superbowl, tell me the date, what the mark on the bottom of the glass looks like (see my identification page ) and the shape of the glass. Also, some newer glasses have copyright dates on them, and this information can be useful, but be aware that designs are usually copyrighted before they are used. An example of this is the logo for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics -- it was copyrighted in 1992, so glasses with this design might have been made 4 years before the "big" date.

You can send me the info by leaving feedback, or by leaving a message on the MessageBoard If you have a photograph, and you have your own website, you can link to the photo in your MessageBoard message.


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                    -- Mark