How much is your bottle worth?

Have an old/rare bottle you'd like some more info on?

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How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:02 pm

From time to time people will show up at this forum simply to find out how much their old bottle is worth and how to sell it. I think this would be a good place to discuss this question in some detail.

The short answer to the question is simply - Your bottle is worth whatever you can convince someone to give you for it.

There is no real market for old American whiskey for several reasons. The first is that it is illegal to sell alcohol without a license. I know, you are saying "They do it on ebay all of the time!" and that is true, but always with the escape clause that they are selling the bottle, not the contents with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge attitude. Even so they are breaking the law and if a government tax collector wants to come after them, they could. In reality, as long as it simply a small sale of only a bottle or two, they probably will not bother to do so. Even so, I would not be suprised at all if they don't have some people keeping track of the number of full bottle sales and go after those who start selling large volumes of bootleg liquor.

The next problem is delivery. It is a nightmare figuring out which states allow alcohol delivery and those that don't. In Kentucky it is illegal to order liquor through the mail. This could mean the loss of the bottle if Kentucky postal inspectors decide to open the package.

So now you have decided that these problems are avoidable and you are going to sell your bottle of bourbon to someone, so how do you determine a price? The best source for the going price can be simply exploring ebay and see what is being sold there. They have a bottle like yours or similar enough that you can base your price upon it. Don't expect to get rich. Most old bottles are going to sell for amounts ranging from $50.00 to maybe $300.00 on ebay.

Another good source are bottle collectors guides. Kovel's Bottle Collecting Guide is a good source for prices on decanters (empty) and also includes other bottles and whiskey paraphanalia (bar trays, shot glasses, etc...). If the decanter is full you could probably ask about twice the Kovel's price.

There are some exceptions to the rules. The biggest is Stitzel-Weller bourbon. This distillery has achieved an almost cult status with bourbon drinkers. Prices for bottles of Stitzel-Weller bourbon will much higher than say a bottle Old Grand Dad from the same time period. Bourbons that are still around today will also claim a higher price than a brand that disappeared 50 years ago - Old Forester will bring a higher price than King even though they are both Brown-Forman products. Older bottles will also bring a higher price than a newer bottle. A pre-prohibition bottle of Old Taylor Bottled-In-Bond will bring two or three times the price of an Old Taylor bottle from the 1930's. The 1930's Old Taylor will bring more than a 1960's bottle and so on.

I hope that this has answered many questions for the readers looking to sell their bottles. I also hope that some of the collectors here will also add their opinions to this post.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby bunghole » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:35 pm

This is a really good idea, Mike. :thumbright: There are several folks here with lots of good intel on how old a bottle truely is. I would also like to point out that forum members with questions be sure to post sharp photos. Use the macro mode on your camera and hold the damn thing still. Blurry photos are of no use to anyone. :2cents:

:arrow: ima :camera: :strobe: :smilieflash: :40oz:
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Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:04 pm

Good suggestions, Linn. I would like to see this forum become a place where members share intel about their finds and maybe a place for members to hold their own private message "swap meet".

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Unread postby parshooter » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:15 pm

Are you talking about full, empty, or both types of bottles? I just got a 4-Roses whiskey bottle from the 1930s (empty). I will take a picture of it tonight and post it here.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:22 pm

Empty bottles are what the collectors usually deal in at bottle shows because of the liquor license issue. There are several good bottle collecting books that can give prices of old empty bottles. Don't expect a huge figure for an empty bottle. I can assure you that the hundreds of dollars figure that some of the Very Old Fitzgeralds have been selling for on ebay, do not count for empty bottles. Empty bottles usually sell for the tens of dollars at the most, not in the hundreds of dollars.

There are quite a few bottle collecting societies across the country. I know of one here in Louisville. They are people whose hobby is to dig in the old bottle dumps also known as outhouses. They find quite a few whiskey bottles as well as medicine, perfume, ketchup, pickle and other empty bottles that were thrown into the pits of 19th century outhouses. You could probably check on line for websites of your local clubs.

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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby mozilla » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:54 am

Do not ask how much your bottle is worth.

Ask any other question but that one.
:D
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby barturtle » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:12 pm

Do you think my bottle would be a good choice to auction?

Do you think my bottle is particularly desirable in the collectors market?

Do you believe my bottle has any long term prospects of becoming collectible?

:geek:
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby Dump Bucket » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:28 pm

barturtle wrote:Do you think my bottle would be a good choice to auction?

Do you think my bottle is particularly desirable in the collectors market?

Do you believe my bottle has any long term prospects of becoming collectible?

:geek:


I do, but the liquid inside is degrading the value. Please place the liquid into a mason jar ands ship it to me for proper disposal. I have the seal of approval from Professor Mike Veach for proper bourbon disposal... :drunken:
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby loose proton » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:13 pm

My bottle is worth what's inside it. After that, I throw it away. Unless it's good for catching pennies.
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby rob » Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:00 pm

I have seen some discussion on your forums about F & K special old 92. Anything new on this?
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby NewToThis » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:37 am

I have a bottle of Old Forester Bond from my Great Grandma. Any idea what year it would be from or any other information you could give me would be much appreciated. It says it is a 4/5 quart on a seal that says "bottled in bond under the supervision of US Government revenue bonded warehouse". I did some research and it appears John G. Carlisle was the Secretary of Treasury on the stamp and he held that post from 1893-1897. I couldn't figure out how to post a picture of it, however I couldn't find the exact bottle on any website either. If you want to see it, feel free to e-mail me: Dutch2513@msn.com Please make the subject line obvious because I get a lot of junk mail to that account. It has a glass ball top and the whole bottle is covered in dimples the size of a fingerprint.

Thanks for the help!
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby silverfish » Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:39 pm

NewToThis wrote:I have a bottle of Old Forester Bond from my Great Grandma. Any idea what year it would be from or any other information you could give me would be much appreciated. It says it is a 4/5 quart on a seal that says "bottled in bond under the supervision of US Government revenue bonded warehouse". It has a glass ball top and the whole bottle is covered in dimples the size of a fingerprint.


Does it look something like this:

Image
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby NewToThis » Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:53 pm

Yes, that looks just like it!
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby Dump Bucket » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:38 am

I've got two of those... drink that puppy... it is great BF juice...
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Re: How much is your bottle worth?

Unread postby NewToThis » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:30 pm

NewToThis wrote:Yes, that looks just like it!

Actually the top label is different and below where it says Old Forester is different.
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