Buying old dusty bottles of whiskey
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    Auction Finds

    Odd and curious shapes of wine and liquor bottles

    That’s my bottle, I thought as I approached one of two tables at the auction house filled to the brim with all sorts of wine and liquor bottles. It was in the shape of an island man wearing a sunshine-bright yellow plastic hat, his features outlined in brilliant colors against amber glass. The bottle was a standout among the commonly shaped wine bottles surrounding it, except for the one that wore a corset.

    My bottle at home – which I picked up at another auction – was missing dabs of paint, and it was empty. I wondered if this new bottle was empty, too, so I picked it up and lightly flipped it up and down. I could see the movement of the rum through the dark glass. It was full and appeared to have never been opened.

    That was the case for most of the bottles on the tables. They still had their paper wrappings and corks on the top. Someone (or more than one person) seemed to have spent a pretty penny for stuff that won’t bring in any more than a few bucks or more.

    Old Oak Rum with a Limbo drummer, from Trinidad in the West Indies.

    Old Oak Rum with a Limbo drummer, from Trinidad in the West Indies.

    Bottles of wine and liquor show up pretty often at auctions, and they go quickly – even those that are open. I suspect that most of the stuff, opened or not, would be consumed. One of this auction house’s owners had assumed in a preview video that people would pour out the contents and save the bottles.

    After examining the Old Oak Rum bottle, I started looking more closely at the others on the table, and saw that it was not the only figural bottle (figurals are in the shapes of animals, people, buildings, etc). There were others in various shapes, and would be considered collectibles. Take a look at this mid-19th century Imperial Levee bottle that sold for up to $2,340 at several auctions.

    Here are the more interesting bottles from the auction and their labels:

    Piper-Heidsieck champagne in a red pleather lace-up corset designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, who also created the famous Madonna cone-shaped corset in 1990.

    Piper-Heidsieck champagne in a red pleather lace-up corset designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, who also created the famous Madonna cone-shaped corset in 1990.

     

    Inca Pisco brandy, whose bottle is in the shape of an Inca male’s face. Made in South America.

    Inca Pisco brandy, whose bottle is in the shape of an Inca male’s face. Made in South America.

     

    CN Tower La Tour Canadian whiskey. Bottle in the shape of the CN tower, an observation tower in downtown Toronto. The whiskey was first sold in 1971, a year before the project was official. It was completed in 1976.

    CN Tower La Tour Canadian whiskey. Bottle in the shape of the CN tower, an observation tower in downtown Toronto.

     

    An Italian wine in a bottle with a twirling pattern.

    An Italian wine in a bottle with a twirling pattern.

     

    Triune wines from Ironstone Vineyards in California, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.

    Triune wines from Ironstone Vineyards in California: merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.

     

    Munchen Escorial Grun Liquor with an illustrated map of Munich.

    Munchen Escorial Grun Liquor with an illustrated map of Munich.

     

    Rhum Depaz of St. Pierre, Martinique.

    Rhum Depaz of St. Pierre, Martinique.

     

    Segura Viudas wine, which bears the metal crest of the Segura Viudas family of Spain.

    Segura Viudas wine, which bears the metal crest of the Segura Viudas family of Spain.

     

    Violin-shaped Simcha Liqueur bottle, with dancers and musicians and a musical staff. Simcha means “joy” in Hebrew.

    Violin-shaped Simcha Liqueur bottle, with dancers and musicians and a musical staff. Simcha means “joy” in Hebrew.

     

    There's nothing odd about these shapes; I liked the color of the contents.

    There’s nothing odd about these shapes; I liked the color of the contents.

     

    A table of wine and liquor waiting to be sold at auction.

    A table of wine and liquor waiting to be sold at auction.

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