Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Politics of Acquisition

Ever wonder why that certain bottle, you just have to have, keeps winding up in someone else’s collection?
How come the fellow that collects the same category as you keeps putting keepers on his shelf while you have to settle for traders or bottles out of your category?
Have you ever found out a couple days, or even a couple of hours after a bottle you really needed was sold to someone you know without it being offered to you?
Been feeling like a bridesmaid and not a bride?

Well... don’t get all bent out of shape... You’re just a victim of “The Politics of Acquisition”
Yea, I know you’re thinking right now, has the old timer gone off his rocker. What the heck is he talking about?
We all know what the definition of politics used to be... it meant policy. That was then, now politics means money. You know... greenbacks, frog skins, the silver pick and whatever else you want to call it. And in the bottle world money talks and just being chummy or late on the draw with a potential seller walks!

Most collectors collect within certain limited self imposed guidelines. Western glob top whiskies, square western bitters, local medicines, colored soda’s, a mix of categories etc. and are content to pursue the bottles within those guidelines. Other collectors seem to want em’ all. These guys that “just have to have everything” are the driving force behind the price of mid range to high end bottles. More often than not, these collectors are willing to pay more for a bottle then other collectors.

When you consistently pay more for an item than other collectors you become a favored buyer or what us mountain folks would call “A TARGET”. A “favored buyer” always gets offered a bottle first... heck he’s the guy that’s likely to pay the most for the item and always gets the chance to pull the trigger first. The budget conscience collector, or guy that can’t make up his mind in a split second, always winds up at the bottom of the acquisition food chain.

What’s the cure for the favored buyer syndrome? You could step up and let the bottle community know you’re willing to pay more for certain bottles then the average collector. . We have seen these advertisements forever... “Paying top dollar”...”Willing to over pay for a particular bottle” and so on and so forth.

When it comes to collecting the more desirable bottles, and shoveling out more than an item is worth just to own it, I always think about what my amigo from Oregon says: “If you can’t run with the big dogs – stay on the porch with the pups”
For me, the view from up here on the porch is pretty nice!


  1. I also feel comfortable with porch sitting. I am not afraid to spend money for nice examples of bottles, coins, Winchesters, or any other item in my "needs" list, but I won't be intimidated or pressured by those who are willing to "pay more than it's worth" to obtain an item for their collection(s). I will not be involved in a ridiculous bidding war over something, either.

    Many of these over bidders are flash in the pan collectors who could care less about the history of their prize, and are only aware of it's perceived dollar value. There are a few who never attend shows, or share their collections, yet are willing to fork over any amount of cash to get what they want. Ask them about where the bottle came from, or what the company's name embossed on it means, and they give you a blank look. HUH!? All I know is that I paid X number of dollars and that's it. Sorry folks, collectors they are not. They are speculators, plain and simple.

    Now, back to my rocker on the porch.

  2. Little chahuaua(? cannot spell it)here...
    I completely agree Mike, now ask your self this. If someone offered you $100,000 for say...a green non crown Cutter, stupid as it would be...what would you do?????? Collector they might not be...

  3. I don't really mind people that overspend on bottles, but they just have to realize they're not going to get their money back. Investing in western glass is very risky. Yes there will always be SOMEONE around to buy the glass, but the culture (and sheer number of people)in the hobby for the past thirty years has been the driving force of collecting. Thirty years from now that culture will nearly be extinct....

  4. Wellllllll, Interesting Blog.....It could get Ugly here....As a Collector of Western Glass, any and all examples in any category, I am willing to trade or pay what I need for my Personal Shelf. That would be in the nature of Good or Colored Western Jamaica Gingers and of course Western Hall Bottles, and their Advertising. What Ever it Takes! Down here on the border, I get little chance at those types of bottles. Once in a while someone will offer me something, I usually if I like it just get it. All the other bottles, well, now days most of them I can't afford. I do have a strong interest in the Western Gold Rush and Western Wild and Wooly West. Most of my favorite books are on their History, and then to get something from that era is just Awesome! In the Auctions, in a few days I pretty much know what I am going to try for. I go and log on and everything is Sky High Gone, I throw a bid on ebay on an OK bottle, and somehow in a matter minutes its otta here, I don't want to say shill bidding, I'm just saying........the Bottle Shows have been Good lately for me, I have been able to afford to make it up North and pick up a few goodies for my shelf, Great Fun. At Auburn 09, I got a few items, but, I had Great Fun just walking around and fondling glass and talking with me Amigo's I hardly get to see anymore. I guess we all want "That Bottle", some of that stuff I would be afraid to own, might never get back what you paid for it, sooo you better like it. I offered a guy $500.00 for an actual Blue W in a Circle Jake, he laughed, that was probably the only chance to even gaze upon one of those much less own it....Soooo, what should I have offered for it? I guess if you have a lotta money, your gonna have a lot of bottles. If you have little money, your going to have maybe some bottles that mean a little more to you, I am speaking for myself of course. Senior Ricardo, I am still enjoying the Gems of our last trade, Mucho Gracious. Dr.Barnes

  5. Also My Friends, Remember, this stuff, these bottles we Collect, they are Trash! Someone threw them away with the garbage, Trash! I find that kinda Humorous. DB

  6. DB, they were trash, but, as the old saying goes, they are our treasure.

    ME, a local collector has offered me STUPID money for my three "Sacramento Kings" whiskey bottles, but he can't have 'em for any amount. He's one of the aforementioned "investment collectors" and has no bloody idea where they came from, or how difficult they were to come by. To folks like him it's only money. Sorry, but "homie" don't play that.