Monday, December 14, 2009

What went wrong?

Last evening a very scarce and sought after glop top closed on ebay. Listed as "Livingstone's Western Glob Top Whiskey w/whittling Rare" lot number 360214238214, it should have created a veritable feeding frenzy. Opening at a reasonable $1200~, I'd expected it to bring at least $1750~. Instead, only two bidders competed for bragging rights and it closed at a weak $1225~.

So what the heck went wrong? Simple, lousy pictures
and a lousy description.

Initially described as "Livingstone's Whiskey bottle, a western glob top, with whittling" there was no mention of condition. Later, in a belated attempt to more accurately describe condition, the seller added the following " It is free of chips and cracks with the following exceptions: in response to a bidder request, we re-examined this bottle and found three small nicks or "flea-bites" on the bottom, on the rim. We are including a scan we did of the bottom, to better illustrate these small defects. Imagining that the base is a clock dial, the largest nick is at about 9 oclock. There is a tiny flea bite at 11 oclock and there is one other slight nick at 4 oclock. The football shaped object towards the bottom of our clock dial is an embedded bubble. The only other defect in this bottle is on one side, near the seam, about 3/8" from the bottom, a tiny pin-prick which appears to be a tiny bubble that "popped." A poor quality black and white scan of the base was also attached.

Ya just gotta love these technical descriptions... Big flea? Little flea? Happy flea? Flea with a bad attitude? Come On!

In an attempt to nail down the true condition, I emailed "In regards to the Livingston Blackberry Brandy; You state ""flea-bites" on the bottom, on the rim.

Could you please provide dimensions in regards to the described damage? IE: "largest nick is at about 9 oclock, measures 3mm in length, 2mm in width and is 3mm in depth". I've found that detailed, subjective descriptions take all the guess work out of a purchase.

The bottle is fairly scarce but damage to a higher end western whiskey can make or break the desirability.


I never heard back in regards to this inquiry or a follow up. Was the seller out of town or just trying to let the cards fall as they may? Guess we'll never know. Having been bitten more often than I'd care to admit on ebay, I opted not to place a bid until I heard back.

My guess is that I'm not the only one...


  1. I watched that one, too, and also opted out of the bidding. The lack of any response from a seller is a death knell to his/her auction. No talkee, no bidee. In this case, the bottle ended as it should have, with little interest and low bids. I also have a problem with the overuse of the vague term "flea bite". How large or small a ding qualifies as this description? If a flea bites can you see it? Little things bug me in my advanced years.

  2. Come Onnnnn K-Gem, you should know by now, that is a Typical Ebay Mint description or Lack Of. I like when people over describe the bottle I am looking to bid on, as when I get it, and it arrives, I like to be suprised with it being actually better than described. This is why I usually only buy from a certain few Dealers who seem to have some sort of Life Standards still. It sure if Fun to get a Nice Old Bottle, and it still Sucks to get a WTF Bottle. DB

  3. When I'm considering paying that kind of money for a bottle, hold the Chips & Dips please.

  4. Shucks Doc. I'm just a country boy who still believes in his fellow man.

    Why, just the other day I read about a rare bottle on ebay described as "mint except for a small no harm fissure emanating from one corner at the bottom and gracefully creeping upwards". Hmm, didn't sound like much. 'Till I got the requested photos. The seller was lucky that the entire piece of recycling material hadn't come apart at the seams...

    We've kicked this can around the block a time or two. In a nutshell, we can't seem to police the inexperienced, ignorant, dance in the gray area and or crooked sellers on ebay, and EBAY proper doesn't seem to give a rip as long as they are raking in a small fortune.

    Best bet is to do what more and more of us have elected to do; request written confirmation of condition and refuse to bid if the seller remains silent. That way, it's their loss and not our headache once the garbage arrives in the mail

    Shucks, we're all just country boys at heart and want to believe that all folks are inherently good. We just need to help them let their good side show~

  5. That bottle might have had just some minor issues. But damage is damage. I'd compare it to buying a car with a few cracked windows and a ripped seat...or even worse, since at least you can replace a cars windows or seat. Whereas you're stuck with the damage on a bottle.

    I was surprised that bottle even broke $1,000 with several moderate flakes on the base rim. I wouldn't have paid even $600 for it. Not when I saw a mint one was listed for sale at the Pomona show for $2k and a yellow one for around $3k.

  6. Big mistake from my previous post. Make it two Renz's Blackberry 5th's, not Livingston 5th's (priced at $4,000 for the yellow, $3,000 for the light amber). Sorry, I was talking out of my ass a few minutes ago...

    Personally, I thought the one on ebay had several issues and not much going for it in terms of color or character....But the winner probably feels they got a good deal and perhaps added a scarce fifth they had been looking to acquire for some time. I hope the winner finds the bottle to be more beautiful than the pictures suggested. It just was not my cup of tea.

  7. Hey guys thats all right, I was at Auburn bottle show last week and a seller there used the "term" coupla fleabites is all, not even how big the fleas were, and these guys have been around quite awhile too.......Andy

  8. K.G. hit it right onna nail head.....lousy pics and description.tats all folks.....

  9. What about that t48 Shoulder Crown that went last week for $700? What went wrong there?

  10. "A 3 legged spider crack is located to the left of the crown. The approximate size is a tad larger than the capital letter .. Y . The spider crack is above and to the left of the crown."

    Best guess is that those who want a mint example have one and those that are willing to overlook damage shied away from it due to the location of the crack.


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