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December 22, 2012 10:50 AM   Subscribe

How do I go about finding the re-sale value of bottles of whiskey / bourbon? My father has a fair number of old whiskey and bourbon bottles he has picked up over his years of travelling. He wants to find out if they are worth anything, or if he should just drink them? One of the bottles he's got us this one? Is it actually worth that much on the private market? How would he go about selling it? Ebay?
posted by lloyder to Food & Drink (6 answers total)
My father-in-law has been collecting bottles for decades...he's a member of many antique bottle clubs and as a result gets very specific newsletters on the topic from a few different sources. When he sells something valuable, he gets the best price from a fellow collector. My advice is to scour the Internets, you can find very very specific bottle collectors, everything from Jumbo Peanut Butter to White House Vinegar to Seagram's bottles/jars. Most of those forums will have contact info and you can then submit detailed info and photos of your father's collection. You'll get an honest evaluation of their worth and also possible bites by folks interested in purchasing them.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:01 AM on December 22, 2012

Selling alcohol across state lines may be problematic. (Selling across international borders is even worse.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:05 AM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

ebay's policy on alcohol says you can't sell them there.
posted by acorncup at 11:15 AM on December 22, 2012

Are we talking empty or full and unopened?

Assuming the latter: check out auction houses. You will NOT realize top retail value. In fact, you might get ten cents on the dollar/pound/euro. On the other hand getting anything much closer to the perceived retail would require finding the most motivated buyer for each individual bottle, which would take you tons of effort, if it could be done at all.

I would recommend drinking the stuff. Then, sell on Ebay those bottles that seem to have collectible value as bottles, like the decanter-type ones.
posted by beagle at 12:17 PM on December 22, 2012

Drink them. I am reminded of the wine cellar exchange from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels:

Steve Martin: You got a lot of wine to drink.
Michael Caine: They're too valuable to drink.
SM: So you sell them?
MC: Never, they mean too much to me.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:50 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, unlike wine, whiskey doesn't improve in the bottle. So he might have some rare bottles in there (ie, something that was particularly special when bottled, that you can't get anymore) but a 40-year-old whiskey from today is going to be in better condition than a 40-year-old whiskey from a couple of decades ago.
posted by mendel at 3:33 PM on December 23, 2012

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