Collecting Vintage Barware – Reyne Haines

December 4th, 2009 by

Dual-Fuel-Cocktail-ShakerTo many, “shaken, not stirred” summons memories of Sean Connery, European models and exotic beaches. To collectors of antique barware, it means a whole lot more.
Vintage barware is a hot collecting field. Collectors comb antique shops and flea markets looking high and low for the next piece to add to their collection. Some enthusiasts covet certain makers, while others search for certain designs. Barware also comes in a variety of mediums such as chrome, silver, glass, plastic—and even wood. With such a broad array of merchandise to collect, it offers price points to fit any budget.

Cocktail hour has been a favorite pastime for many years—long before HBO’s Sex and the City made the Cosmopolitan chic, again. Martinis first came into fashion in the 1920s, and though the shaken martini is the signature of 007, the martini shaker was in fact invented in America (and perhaps the martini, too). Shakers not only came in numerous mediums, but they also began to take fanciful shapes beyond the standard shaker concept. Before long, cocktail shakers appeared in the form of bowling pins, penguins, airplanes, skyscrapers and other icons from the era.

Of course, you can’t have shakers without accoutrements: swizzle sticks, corkscrews, cocktail trays, ice buckets, martini glasses…

There are national collectors clubs for bar ware enthusiasts, online discussion groups and dealers that specialize in nothing else. You can find examples from years-gone-by in private collections, and also in important museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. There are books dedicated to the subject and auction houses offering some of the rarest pieces.

Should you decide this collectible is for you, a few things to consider:

Look for mint condition pieces only. If the chrome has tarnished, leave it behind. Don’t accept chipped plastic handles or knobs… and certainly walk past cracked glassware.

If a piece is missing a lid, a knob, or a partner piece, you should wait for a complete set. Finding the missing part is often hopeless.

These items are usually not dishwasher or microwave safe. Washing by hand and towel drying is the best way to maintain your vintage barware.

There are numerous reference books on collecting barware at our local bookstore. I highly suggest buying one. This will give you an idea of who made it and when—and if there are reproductions that can fool you, and how to spot them. Most books come with price guides to give you an idea of what to pay.

Collectible barware also makes a great gift for that special someone in your life, or a soon-to-be bride and groom. Not only do they make great conversation pieces, but they also offer function.


6 Responses to “Collecting Vintage Barware – Reyne Haines”

  1. Reyne Haines Says:

    Hi Joya – I write about things I am inspired by, things that relate to what is
    happening in the business, or just things I like. I happen to like a good
    martini and that inspired me to write about collecting barware ;-)

  2. Reyne Haines Says:

    Thanks Marty! I appreciate that!

  3. Reyne Haines Says:

    Patio – Thank you. I love to be inspired also.
    I am hoping my blogs will inspire people to tell me more about
    their collecting passions as well.

    I love hearing about unique finds, great collection stories and
    other aspects of decorating and collecting!

    I have a number of blogs I’ve written here. I add 2 new
    blogs a month. Bookmark the site and stop back often!

  4. Reyne Haines Says:

    I hope you all will join my latest blog post…Picking with Reyne – Vol 1
    This will be a weekly blog that follows me, and other members
    on their journeys in the world of “picking” antiques and collectibles.

    I look forward to hearing about your favorite finds, your favorite haunts
    and what you think will become the next hot collectible!

    If you go to the main page for articles

    On the right hand side of the screen you will see “Picking with Reyne”
    Click there and join in!


  5. Reyne Haines Says:

    Randy – Great to have you here.
    I’m a Stickley fan, have been for years. It has been 25-30 yrs since you bought
    these items. (you are talking about turn of the century Stickley and not the new
    stuff being made right?)

    I’d say take a look at recent auction sales to get an idea of what you should pay.

    If you need more help, let me know.


  6. vintage antique Says:

    Truly enough,to collectors of antique barware, it means a whole lot more to them. Everyone has their own type of things or something to be treasured and collected, but for some, barwares are of fun to be collected. Ive been a fan of blogs that have shown superb information or extraordinary thoughts to be given or to be shared with its readers. And this blog really caught my attention. Thanks for sharing.

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