Since human beings learned about the creation of alcohol, its copious consumption has permeated all societies and hierarchies in the civilised world. There are many different kinds of alcohol, one of the most popular, well-respected and iconic of which is whiskey. Whiskey has been the drink of choice for many cultures, but it is not just the drink which has iconic status. Bottles are an immensely popular collector’s items, foremost amongst which are whiskey bottles, owing to their uniquely stylish designs.
Collecting whiskey bottles can be an immensely rewarding hobby. However, knowing where to start presents one of the biggest challenges. It is the intention of this guide to provide information about what to strive for in a collection of whiskey bottles, why buying in bulk is a good idea, and why the auctioning website eBay is a great place from which to purchase them.
The History of Whiskey Bottles
The bottle is a rigid container which sports a neck and a mouth, which are narrower than the body itself. Bottles are the most common global means of containing liquids, and archaeologists have found examples of bottles from history dating back to prehistoric times, made from clay. Today, bottles are made from glass, a tradition started thousands of years ago in pre-roman times. Due to the near limitless variations in shape and design, the low cost, and the high aesthetic value, bottles make excellent collector’s items.
Whiskey is a potent alcoholic spirit, distilled from fermented grain mash, and consumed by many different cultures worldwide. It is culturally significant and well loved, its name being a derivative of the old Gaelic word for “water of life”. Whiskey, too has been in production for thousands of years, and has spread across the world as the cultures from which it comes expanded.
Bottles have, then, in all probability, been used to hold whiskey for thousands of years. This means that a collector of whiskey bottles will have a wide variety of historical periods and locales from which to begin to acquire their collection. However, many collections will focus on modern whiskey bottles, due to their widespread availability, and their cultural relevance.
Why Collect Whiskey Bottles?
There are several reasons to collect whiskey bottles. These are as follows:
- A love of Whiskey – for those who love whiskey, a large collection of bottles can represent a diversity and sophistication of taste, as well as an awareness of the different types and qualities of whiskeys made by one distillery or another. Further, a love of the drink is likely to translate into a love of the bottles.
- The Joy of Collecting – there are few things that can provide as much satisfaction and joy as the act of starting and expanding a collection. It is an end in its own right, becoming a source of personal pride and great enjoyment.
- Easy to Acquire – there are a huge number of fascinating and elegant whiskey bottle designs, which are available at a low price due to their widespread nature and ease of production. This means that building a diverse and sizeable collection is possible within a short time scale and on a small budget.
- Added Value – as with any collection, after enough time has passed the object of collection becomes rarer, and thus more valuable. A large collection of older bottles, owned for long enough and kept in good enough condition, can increase in value.
- Aesthetic Value – a collection of whiskey bottles, when put on display, can be a nice thing at which to look, which is a worthwhile thing in its own right.
These are but a few reasons to partake in the excellent hobby of collecting whiskey bottles.
The Whiskey Bottle
This section of the guide will look at the various features of whiskey bottles which might provide points of interest for collectors. The features examined are:
Whilst the size of a bottle may not be a point of great interest in its own right, it can provide a good unifying theme for a collection; bottles all of the same size have a sort of link. It can also be a good way of categorising a collection, as it provides useful and pre-defined groupings. Common sizes of whiskey bottle include 750ml, 1l and 1.5l, though in truth the size is dependant on the manufacturer, and can vary wildly.
Glass can be manufactured in many different colours, including brown, green and colourless (transparent). Colour can suffice as a theme for, or a means of categorising, a collection of whiskey bottles.
Preference in shape is a very subjective matter. Each brand of whiskey will tend to have their own trademarked bottle design, in an attempt to gain brand recognition and win over prospective customers. Many of these bottles are beautiful masterpieces of modern design and glass making. Perhaps the most distinctive and identifiable shape of bottle is the blockish, angular Jack Daniels whiskey bottle, though there are many others with almost equal renown.
Whiskey is made all across the world. A collector may have a particular interest in whiskey bottles from a particular location. Whiskey centres that have attained worldwide recognition for their distilleries include Scotland, Ireland and the United States of America.
Whiskey is made by different companies, or brands. These brands will each produce different bottles, often updating their design. Brand is another excellent way to either theme or categorise a collection.
Why Buy in Bulk?
There are numerous reasons to buy collectable whiskey bottles in bulk. These are detailed in the list below:
- Cost Effectiveness – it is a fundamental principle of trade capital that buying in bulk is a more appealing prospect for both parties involved in the transaction, and as such brings down the overall cost on both sides.
- Speed of Amalgamation – buying multiple whiskey bottles at a time is a great way to expand a collection fast; since more bottles are being acquired in a shorter amount of time, the collection grows larger more quickly too. It also means that starting a collection is a simple matter, as a large enough acquisition can act as a sort of jump-start for a novice collector.
- Diversity – buying in bulk can create instant diversity in a whiskey bottle collection, making the collection feel more authentic and valuable.
How to Buy Collectable Whiskey Bottles in Bulk on eBay
The popular consumer auctioning website eBay makes a great place from which to purchase collectable whiskey bottles. It combines an excellent range of products with a carefully and thoughtfully designed user interface, to create the ultimate in consumer friendly online space.
Navigating to the appropriate part of the website is an easy matter, thanks to eBay’s well thought out design. Start at the eBay homepage. From here, look to the left part of the page, where there is a list of the main categories of products available on eBay. From this list, Collectables & Antiques should next be selected. This relocates the user to the relevant page.
Another list of sub-categories can be found in the left margin of this page. Choose the Collectables heading, followed by the Bottles/pots sub-category. Next, select the Whiskey option from the list of bottle types, again found at the left of the page. Finally, select the show only filtering option, and tick the listed as lots button. This will ensure that only bulk items are displayed. For those with a very clear idea of what they are looking for, the search bar can provide a quicker and simpler means of getting around the website.
Once the item listings are displaying a relevant selection of items, the search can be refined further using the filtering options located in the left-hand margin of the screen. These include price, condition and location amongst others. There are also two different format options. These are “auction”, which allows the user to bid on the items, and “buy it now”, which offer a fixed-value transaction.
The item listings consist of thumbnail images and small amounts of crucial text data about the item. Clicking on either the thumbnail or the name will link to the item’s own page, where all the details and specifications about the product can be found, alongside more images and seller information (such as ratings and feedback), allowing users to make a thoroughly informed choice before they buy. Sellers can also be contacted directly with questions using the “ask the seller” feature, found near the bottom of this page.
These various helpful customisation options, along with the excellent selection of products, are what make eBay the truly optimal online shopping experience it is, particularly, in this case, when it comes to buying collectable whiskey bottles in bulk.
Whiskey is one of the most culturally iconic beverages in the history of mankind. Often, the bottles in which it is stored help contribute to that iconic feel. Collecting whiskey bottles is a fantastic, rewarding hobby. This guide intended to look in some detail at the merits of collecting these bottles. There are many reasons to do so, including:
- A love of whiskey
- The joy of collecting
- Easy to acquire
- Added value
- Aesthetic value
The online auctioning platform, eBay, is an excellent place to shop for collectable whiskey bottles, due to its practicality, superb selection, and easy-to-use interface.