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A man named Mark Pickvet has written three books on shotglasses. In these books, he includes items that do not fit the "classic" definition of a shotglass: A small glass with a thick base and thick sides, that holds about one ounce of liquid. This made me realize that I am not the only "shotglass collector" who collects things that do not fit a strict definition.

Although there are some similarities between what I collect and what Pickvet included in his books, there are many differences between Pickvet's collecting philosophy and my own. One of the areas where we disagree most strongly is how to classify glasses. Pickvet has about 30 different categories, and three of these categories "tourist" (or souvenir), "sport" and "university" are further broken down by State.

At first glance, the classification of tourist glasses by state seems to make sense, but then how do you handle the case of the same attraction, and therefore the same glass being available in multiple states? (Sea World has parks in California, Florida, Ohio and Texas. Pickvet purchased a glass with a given design in Ohio, I purchased a glass with the same design in Florida.) What if the attraction covers more than one state? (the mississippi river, or the great smokey mountains)

Some of these categories depend on knowledge of when (which decade) the glass was made. For those of us who have purchased most of our glasses second-hand, how are we supposed to know when they were made? What if the glass was made for more that ten years, or was made during a period which spans the boundary between decades? (1968 through 1975 for example) What if the glasses made in the "early years" of production differ from those made in the "later years?" (Pickvet does not distinguish between varieties.)

With so many different categories, it is hard to tell the difference between some of them (Pattern Designed Picture and Pictures with Pictured Design). Also, since there are so many categories, they tend to overlap. When a given design falls into more than one category, how do you determine which one is "better"?

This last question points out the biggest difference between Pickvet's method and mine: I describe glasses, while Pickvet categorizes designs. An example of this is where a design is described in one of his books as "Yellow lettering and blue monkeys; or black lettering and black monkeys with yellow faces" (p31 Shotglasses: An American Tradition) I also have a variation of this glass where the entire design is black. Pickvet classifies this same design on a different shaped glass. I would classify this as a different item, and give it it's own catalog number.

Another indication that Pickvet is more interested in designs than glasses is that almost every description in the books is missing an important piece of information: the manufacturer of the glass (when known). Many glasses have a mark on their base, which identifies who made the glass. There are certain glasses (such as those issued each year for the Kentucky Derby) where the value of the glass differs depending on which mark is on the bottom.

Please do not take any of this as an "attack" on Pickvet. He is the only person that I know of who has expressed an interest in these things, and has put his thoughts down in writing. I have read his books, and analyzed his classification scheme and can compare my thoughts with his because of this.

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