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Vintage Cocktail Shakers

Author: Dana Bos
Issue: November, 2007, Page 50

Author Stephen Visakay shares helpful tips for selecting collectible cocktail shakers:
What to Look For
• Design: Clever designs, such as shakers in the form of a zeppelin, golf bag, lighthouse or a woman’s leg, are most valued by collectors. Penguins, teapots and fire extinguishers are other popular shapes.
• Manufacturers: If you desire a silver-plated shaker, some brands to look for are International Silver Co., Revere, Chase, and Manning Bowman. If glass interests you, shakers by Cambridge Glass Co. and Hawkes Glass Co. are in high demand today. 
• Cost: Mass-produced styles can be purchased for under $100, while rarer finds by designers like Norman Bel Geddes or Russel Wright run in the thousands.

What to Avoid

• Dents, scratches and flakes: Any major damage will lower the value and the visual appeal of a shaker, and most damaged pieces will not appreciate in value over time. 
• Chips: Examine a glass cocktail shaker closely, running your finger over the rim and bottom edge. A chip can reduce the value by 30 percent or more.
• Dull color: When buying colored glass, the more brilliant the hue, the higher its value. “Look for bright, clear colors in the glass,” states Visakay. Cobalt-blue glass was difficult to make and thus commands the highest prices.  
• Reproductions: Be sure you’re buying an authentic piece. Get to know the types of shakers produced by major vintage manufacturers.

Where to find it
• Antiques stores and flea markets: Experts consulted say that because cocktail shakers once were common in many American homes, vintage styles often can be fairly easy to track down. Try antique malls such as Antique Trove in both Scottsdale and Roseville, Calif., as well as Scottsdale Marketplace in Paradise Valley, Ariz., and Antique Gatherings in Phoenix.
• Online: Good deals can be found on eBay, say collectors. Specialty sites such as and carry a broad selection, too.

Photo by: David B. Moore

Bakelite cocktail shakers
Photo by: David B. Moore

Some vintage cocktail shakers came as sets that stored various bar tools. Included in this zeppelin model are shot glasses, measuring spoons and a corkscrew.
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