Other China Decanter Bottle Makers

Other China Decanter Bottle Makers

I love getting letters that start out something like this: “I recently inherited a collection of Jim Beam bottles from my late grandfather’s estate. Could you please help me with the values of these bottles? I have a Beam Wild Turkey…”

Jim Beam was so successful in their marketing of decanter bottles that many people think they were the only company that produced such decanters. I’ll have to admit that when I first started collecting, I thought the same thing. As mentioned in a previous column, identifying the bottle can be the best part of collecting. Decanter bottles are considered “Modern Bottles” as they were made, for the most part, in the
last half of the 20th century. The traditional whiskey bottles that we’ve been able to buy off the shelf at our local liquor store for a hundred years are considered “Old Bottles”. Modern decanter bottles are made of glass, porcelain or china. China is the most expensive to produce and is usually far more attractive than a clear or
colored glass bottle. This is what sets them apart and makes them of interest to collect.

In this article I’m going to talk about some of the other companies that got into the business of making china decanter bottles. There are so many of them that it’s hard to know where to start so I won’t try to list them all. I’m not even sure anyone knows how many companies there are. When I look through a bottle guide, I find hundreds
of different companies listed. Let’s take it alphabetically and just hit on the major manufacturers:

AESTHETIC (ASI): There were about 26 different bottles made by this company between 1978 and 1984. They are really nice looking bottles with lots of detail and were all limited production decanters,
therefore commanding higher and more consistent values. They made a lot of car bottles, the most famous being the “Ice Cream Truck”. This bottle was made in 1980 and is a 1912 Model T Ford delivery truck. It is ivory colored with black metal fenders and white rubber tires, with a spare tire mounted on the side. The sign on the back of the truck reads “ICE CREAM & SARSAPRILLA”. The polished brass grill and windshield frame complete with lanterns
really makes for a great looking decanter. It was available with a display platform.

In 1979 ASI also made a 1903 Cadillac that was available in blue or white, then a gold one in 1980. The Gold Cadillac with a white pin stripe lists for $1500.00! Also included in the series were other cars such as a 1914 Chevrolet, Model T Ford telephone truck (made in 1980) as well as a gold one on a platform which also lists for
$1500.00. There was a 1910 Oldsmobile, and a 1908 Stanley Steamer.

ASI also made a series of bottles that commemorated Bing Crosby’s annual golf tournaments from 1978 to 1984. Because the ASI decanters were limited in production and weren’t manufactured until the late 70’s, their values have been consistent. The ASI decanters range in value form $25.00 to $1500.00.

BALLANTINE: Nine different decanters, all rather common. Values range from $4.00 to $25.00.

BEEFEATER: Only two decanters, Tower Guard and Yeoman Guard, $40.00 and $30.00 respectively.

BISCHOFF: Eighty-three different decanters made between 1950 and 1970. Even though this is a company that started early, their values are moderate but consistent. They range from $8.00 to $55.00.

BOLS: Twenty-one listings for Bols decanters. One of the most interesting decanters is the one called the “Ballerina”. It is a clear glass decanter with a dancing lass and a music box base. It’s a pretty bottle but not expensive; value is $20.00. There are two higher priced bottles in their collection. The “Dutch Lady” valued at $150.00 and the “Uncle Sam” at $175.00. The other bottles range from $12.00
to $85.00.

BROOKS (EZRA): Brooks is next to Beam when it comes to quantities of decanters made. The earliest Brooks bottle I found was made in 1964 and lists for $12.00. It is listed as “Glass-Decanter”.
Brooks continued making decanters up until 1984. The last bottle they made is called the “Salt Lake City” and it lists for $31.00. Brooks copied Beam in many of their decanters but they never enjoyed the popularity
that Beam enjoyed for so many years. The highest priced Brooks bottle was their 1983 “Indy Racer” called the “Gold STP”. It lists for $131.00.

CABIN STILL: Thirty different listings; common bottles for the most part. One of their most interesting and collectable was a set of “Hillbilly” decanters. There were six different bottles depicting a hillbilly with a gun and another one fishing. They first produced them in 1954 and again in 1969. They come in different sizes and are common with the exception of the “Fishing” hillbilly. It lists for $77.00 and
the one gallon “hillbilly with gun” $393.00.

CANADIAN MIST: Only made one decanter in 1969. It’s a Canadian “Mountie” with red jacket, black pants and high brown boots; nice looking bottle. You can have the entire set of (one) Canadian Mist decanter for $17.00.

CYRUS NOBLE: From 1970 to 1980, Cyrus Noble jumped on the decanter band wagon. They made 52 different decanters, including minis. (Minis are a smaller version of the large decanter). There are
many collectors who specialize in C.N. bottles. They are of good quality, limited production and therefore command higher prices across the board. Lots of animals, birds, and western figures. The lowest priced bottle is one they called “Oklahoma Dancers” made in 1978. It lists for $30.00. The highest value was a set of four bottles made in 1971. When the four decanters are placed together they make up a bar room scene. The set was only made in mini and lists for $266.00. Most of the Cyrus Noble decanters are in the $30.00 to $80.00 range.

DEWER: Dewer only made three decanters, but all three were limited editions and carry high prices. The three were; Mountie-Bust $673.00, Mr. Micaweber $104.00, and Tony Weller Pitcher $125.00. (More about pitchers later).

DICKEL: Seven bottles were made by Dickel. Probably the most common or most recognizable were the glass “Powder Horn” and the glass “Golf Club”. The powder horn was made in a mini, a pint,
quart, half gallon and gallon. They were clear amber glass with a wooden stopper at the end of the horn attached to the bottle with a leather strap. The half gallon bottle lists for $89.00 and, like the gallon, is rather hard to find. The others list for $10.00.

DOUBLE SPRINGS: Double Springs is one of my favorite decanter companies. I wish I had more of them. As near as I can tell, they started making decanters in 1964 with a bottle they called “Kentucky Derby.” It was issued with a cocktail glass. The set lists for $12.00. Because I enjoy collecting cars, I find Double Springs to be interesting. They made several car decanters in the 70’s. These included the 1927 Bentley
($45.00), 1913 Buick ($75.00), 1913 Cadillac ($35.00), 1937 Cord ($34.00), 1931 Duesenberg ($30.00), Excalibur Phaeton ($22.00), 1940 Ford ($41.00), 1936 Mercedes ($40.00), 1911 Mercer ($44.00), 1915 Pierce Arrow ($50.00),
1912 Rolls Royce ($49.00), 1909 Stanley Steamer ($38.00), and 1919 Stutz Bearcat ($39.00). Unlike Beam and many other companies that made cars, the Double Springs bottles were all one piece. The wheels were part of the bottle and made of china. These are great looking bottles and great investments at today’s prices.

FAMOUS FIRST: Another one of my favorites. Over fifty different decanters were made from 1969 to 1983, most all have fairly high values and have shown a constant trend upwards over the years.
Famous First decanters are a true work of art even though they are all of the high gloss china. They made many bottles under the heading of Transportation. Cars, planes, and ships as well as many antique household items such as old time phonographs, telephones, scales and coffee grinders. Most all were limited edition decanters and some even were numbered. My favorites from this company are the ships. The “Yacht America” is one of the most beautiful decanters ever made. It’s a majestic two mast sailing ship, slicing through blue seas with sails full and colored flags whipping in the wind. There were three sizes made, a mini, a 17” and a 24”. The value is indicative of most of the Famous First decanters, mini $30.00, 17” $70.00 and the 24” $178.00.

Other interesting decanters made by Famous First are the 1930 Bugatti Royale $309.00, Duesenberg 50th anniv. $245.00, Lotus Indy Racer #2 $110.00, P51 Mustang Plane $113.00, Spirit of St. Louis $125.00, and the China Clipper $129.00. Famous First is a company I can highly recommend for the collector who is looking for something a little different in collectable decanters. I wish I had them all.

Enough for now. This will be the first of several more articles about decanters other than Jim Beam. In my next column, we’ll take a look at Garnier, Grenadier, Hoffman, Italian Wines, Jack Daniels, and Lewis & Clark. In future columns we will cover Lionstone, McCormick, Mitcher, Mike Wayne, OBR, Old Bardstown, Old Common Wealth, Old Crow, Pancho Villa, Seagrams, Ski Country, and Wild Turkey.

Other Columns
Bottles 101
Determining Values
Collecting Decanters for Investment

Jim Beam Collectors Edition Decanters
Other China Decanter Bottle Makers

Jim Beam Related
Jim Beam Overview