Whiskey is consumed by people around the world, and the bottles themselves are of as much interest to many people as the whiskey itself. The used whiskey bottle market is wide and varied, with different materials, colours and brands available for purchase as both collectable and decorative items.
With this guide, buyers will be able to understand how – and why – to buy used whiskey bottles on eBay, the site with the widest market online.
How to Buy Whiskey Bottles by Type
Many people buy used whiskey bottles according to a particular type or theme, whether that is the country of origin, design, brand or various other different aspects. The main ‘types’ of used whiskey bottles are bought according to:
Those buyers looking at used whiskey bottles may have noticed that apart from the ubiquitous glass bottles there are also some ceramic and stoneware bottles available. Many buyers of whiskey bottles often prefer one type over the other for decoration or collection, and each bottle has its own appeal as well as look. The main types of used whiskey bottle material:
- Glass – glass whiskey bottles are the most abundant type of bottle available, and are available in a variety of ages, shapes and sizes. Most modern bottles are made of glass, as are many antique and vintage bottles.
- Ceramic – ceramic whiskey bottles are commonly used for collectable editions of whiskey bottles, as well as collectable miniatures – typically made from china or porcelain. There are many fine potteries involved in the making of special ceramic bottles, such as Royal Doulton and Spode, making even used bottles highly collectable.
- Stoneware – stoneware is a more traditional material used for whiskey bottles, and many used bottles available on eBay are vintage or especially antique items. Bottles tend to be much more the domain of collectors and decorators, due to their appeal of age as well as look.
Buying whiskey bottles by material is one of the easiest ways to guide a search, though what exactly the perfect material is for the buyer is purely up to personal preference. Glass whiskey bottles can be collected or used by just about every kind of buyer, however ceramic and stoneware items tend to be the domain of ceramic and stoneware collectors and decorators. This is because not only do ceramic and stoneware tend to be more costly, they also tend to be older and therefore more delicate.
Whiskey bottles have a long history around the world, and the antique and whiskey bottles encountered on eBay come in a range of ages, colours, brands and designs. Though modern used bottles are available, if wishing to buy an older bottle they usually fall under two types:
- Vintage – vintage, when applied to items, is an age of bottle usually within the last century – many buyers using it to refer to items made in the last 80 years. Vintage items are more likely to be bought by decorators than collectors due to ‘retro’ appeal.
- Antique – antique is generally defined by most as being items over 100 years old, and there are many bottles dating from the 19th Century available on eBay. Antique bottles are usually of most interest to collectors, as they not only have the appeal of age but also of materials, colours and designs that have fallen out of use.
Styles and designs of bottles often vary from country to country, and those interested in foreign whiskeys, as well as bottles, often find items of interest in whiskey bottles from various different countries.
- Scottish whiskey – called Scotch by many – is a popular used bottle to collect because of the great variety of designs and the long history of many Scottish distilleries, making vintage and antique bottles relatively easy to find and purchase. Bell’s is a popular Scotch whiskey bottle, and is well-represented on eBay.
- The U.S.A also has quite a long history of whiskey distilling, and is particularly well-known for its well-known for its variant of whiskeys, such as bourbon and Tennessee whiskey – a type of bourbon exclusively made in Tennessee State.
- Japan is actually the third largest producer of whiskeys worldwide, and though it has a comparatively short history of producing whiskey, their distilleries such as Hibiki are award-winning and well respected around the world.
There are many more countries that produce their own whiskeys, and the buyer should make sure to search around to see the many different types and varieties on offer.
When looking to buy used whiskey bottles, buyers should consider what exactly they will be using the whiskey bottles for. The main uses are:
- Collection – many buyers purchase used whiskey bottles to form their own collection of items, often buying according to a theme such as origin, age, colour or brand. Bottles bought for collection are often favoured in as good a condition as possible, including labels, marks and damage-free surface.
- Decoration – bottles are used by many buyers as a means to decorate houses and offices, with different colours, designs and period of bottle being bought to create interesting displays. For many buyers, when bought for decoration; bottles are preferred to be good in condition but of more value is the look and appeal of the item.
- Storage – often a more original and interesting idea than a piggy bank, many buyers like to put used bottles to work as places to store items. In particular tall bottles with slightly wider necks are used as coin banks and the like. For these buyers the size of the bottle is of particular importance, needing enough space to store items like coins without having to be frequently emptied.
When buying used whiskey bottles, the buyer should keep in mind at all times what exactly the bottle will be used for. For most buyers, purpose will decide the age and material of the whiskey bottle bought. Buyers using bottles to hold coins, for example, should opt for a less expensive and hardier bottle such as a modern glass one – as coins will scratch and would lower the value of an antique bottle. Buyers purchasing for collection or decoration have a wider range of options available to them, as items are unlikely to be handled or damaged.
Original vs. Reproduction
When looking at bottles from different periods of history, buyers may notice that some bottles are labelled as ‘reproduction’ bottles. This means that while a bottle is the exact same shape and design as the original – often antique – bottle, the company that produces the bottle has made a small run of replicas at a later date.
Whether the buyer wants an original or reproduction bottle is often decided by what exactly they want the bottle for, in terms of purpose. Those who wish to collect bottles, especially by age, will usually favour the original bottles as historical objects, since reproduction bottles will likely not be very old and therefore have no added value due to age. If buying for storage or decoration, many buyers choose reproduction bottles, as they tend to be newer and in better condition than older bottles.
Buying Used Whiskey Bottles on eBay
Now that the buyer has an idea of the various ways they can go about buying used whiskey bottles, they must then start to search eBay for the ideal bottle for their purpose. When searching eBay for used whiskey bottles, they buyer should keep in mind:
- Price – this will be the deciding factor for many buyers, and there are used whiskey bottles available on eBay at a range of prices. Buyers can use the search preferences to narrow down search results to within their budget, and with a large range of items available at both Auction and Buy It Now buyers have a great deal of flexibility when purchasing.
- Material – deciding on the material preferred, whether glass, stoneware or ceramic, is a good way of guiding the search and eliminating any results the buyer is not interested in. Buyers can use the search bar to indicate their personal choice of material.
- Age – the various ages of used whiskey bottles available mean that collectors of antiques can pick their preference from a huge range. They should bear in mind, however, that the older a bottle is the more costly it is likely to be.
- Local Sellers – buying used whiskey bottles from local sellers is an ideal way to keep prices down.
Should the buyer require any more assistance they should make sure to consult eBay’s Search Tips page for more guidance on how to get the perfect search result. And if they have any questions about any of the items they see listed they should not hesitate to Ask the Seller.
Used whiskey bottles can be used for many things, rather than just being consigned to the local bottle bin – they can become parts of extensive collections, interesting house decorations, or even as a unique storage option for coins. With this guide, buyers will be able to understand how to go about buying whiskey bottles by planning their search by theme or type.