Thursday, December 2, 2010


Whiskies find tough love on ebay
Earlier today two very nice western whiskey fifths closed on the ebay auction site.
Fifth number one, a J.H. Cutter Sole Agent, described as “a very crude and whittled 1870s Western whiskey” “The color is light honey amber, and the top is crudely applied. The embossing is very strong, with the jewels on the crown easily seen. There is an "A. No.1" on the reverse shoulder. Condition is about perfect with a few light scratches, but otherwise a sparkler!” finished at a disappointing $156.99
I followed this bottle throughout the run of the auction and still can’t figure out why it went for such a bargain price.

The real shocker for me was the Newmark-Gruenberg Old Judge fifth that closed at just over $650. Described by the seller as “Here is a top specimen of a very tough to find Western whiskey. This crudely applied "glob top" fifth is a light yellow with topaz tone. This is a super color for this San Francisco whiskey! The embossing reads " Newmark Gruenberg & Co, Old Judge Bourbon, S.F." This one does not have the patent date on the base. Condition is gem mint, and it has never been tumbled. A sparkling perfect example of this early San Francisco whiskey!”
As I watched these auctions I kept wondering when the bidding on these two items was going to take off. Unfortunately for the seller it never did and the winning bidders, in my opinion, found a real bargain.

Goes to show you never know


  1. Rick, as you know, the T-44 is very common and doesn't bring a LOT of money, but that one was a bargain. If I didn't have that exact color I would have gone for it. I'm sticking to the 43s for the time being. Making a good color run is the plan and it's well on the way. Hope to "jaw" with you maƱana.

  2. I agree, both those bottles were a fantastic buy. That Circle Cutter has better embossing than the example I currently have in my collection. However, I would never give up the one I dug as it is equally as nice in color and crudeness, along with the memory of digging it...tough to put a price on sentimental valuation.

    Timing also has a lot to do with bottle sales. Today's seller of a bottle, may have been the buyer of that same bottle just a year ago. Just a few collectors can either infuse or deflate the current pricepoint for bottles / bottle-categories in our relatively small hobby/scene. Most months in 2010 I would have seen me as a serious bidder on the Old Judge, Nov/Dec 2010 is a different story, where I'm not only standing on the sidelines as a buyer, but participating as an additional seller to further broaden the total sales volume for western bottle items.


  3. Waiting at the SAC airport for my ride to the Auburn show...looking forward to seeing you all there.

  4. Been tied up for a while. Not necessarily at the wrist and ankles, but close.

    The hammer on the Old Judge caught me completely off guard. This bottle was, without question, the finest and most breathtaking example of a Barnett #592 / Thomas #76, that I've encountered in my 40+ years of western whiskeyana.

    As the old saying goes, presentation is everything. I was privileged to have held this example and viewed it under multiple lighting conditions. Sadly, the photos came no where close to capturing the stunning beauty of this item.

    Not sure if this was an example of tough love, or substandard digital photography. Regardless, the new owner slammed a home run out of the park over center field.

  5. I guess my "substandard" photography, cannot compete with a paper list with written descriptions, and no photos...maybe I should kick it old school! :)

  6. A brief apology.

    That's the problem with email / text / etc. It's easy to read something into a comment that is not there, and was not intended.

    My comment about the quality of the photography was by no means an attempt to slight Dale. What I was trying to do was to instill in everyone that follows his listings is that the quality of the offerings is most always vastly better than the photos would suggest.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.