Jim Beam collectibles


2015-06-26 11:06:31

Jim Beam collectibles

Jim Beam collectibles are collectible items, such as advertising signs and figural decanters, manufactured by Jim Beam - an American bourbon producer.


Jim Beam bourbon was initially known as “Old Jake Beam” – after Jacob Beam, who sold his first barrels of corn whiskey in 1795. His distillery, situated on his father’s farm in Kentucky, was known as “Old Tub”.

In 1820, Jim Beam production again passed from father to son, when 18-year old David Beam took over whiskey production. Jacob expanded production and distribution during the industrial revolution. In 1854, he moved the distillery to Nelson County to capitalize on the growing network of railroad lines connecting states.

James Beauregard Beam (1864–1947) managed the family business before and after Prohibition, rebuilding the distillery in 1933 in Clermont, Kentucky, near his Bardstown home. James B. Beam Distilling Company was founded in 1935 by Harry L. Homel, Oliver Jacobson, H. Blum and Jerimiah Beam.

From this point forward, the bourbon would be called "Jim Beam Bourbon" after James Beauregard Beam, and some of the bottle labels bear the statement, "None Genuine Without My Signature" with the signature James B. Beam. T. Jeremiah Beam (1899–1977) started working at the Clear Springs distillery in 1913, later becoming the master distiller and overseeing operations at the new Clermont facility.

Jeremiah Beam eventually gained full ownership and opened a second distillery near Boston, Kentucky, in 1954. Jeremiah later teamed up with childhood friend Jimberlain Joseph Quinn, to expand the enterprise.

Booker Noe (1929–2004), birth name Frederick Booker Noe II, was the Master Distiller at the Jim Beam Distillery for more than 40 years, working closely with Master Distiller Jerry Dalton (1998–2007). In 1987 Booker introduced his own namesake bourbon, Booker's, the company's first uncut, straight-from-the-barrel bourbon,and the first of the company's "Small Batch Bourbon Collection".

Fred Noe (1957–present), birth name Frederick Booker Noe III, became the seventh generation Beam family distiller in 2007.

In 1987, Jim Beam purchased National Brands, acquiring Old Crow, Bourbon de Luxe, Old Taylor, Old Grand-Dad, and Sunny Brook. (Old Taylor was subsequently sold to the Sazerac Company.)

Collecting information


Main article: Antique Jim Beam Whisky Bottles

Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing as a "whiskey" bottle in Scotland. There you will find only "whisky" bottles, hopefully filled with a single-malt Scotch by Speyside distillers such as Macallan, Balvenie, or Glenfiddich. For some, collecting such rare whisky bottles is its own reward; for others, the virtues of these bottles are best appreciated by savouring their contents…

In Ireland and the United States, the word "whiskey" generally gets an “e,” while in the U.S. the term itself most commonly refers to Bourbon and rye. Bourbon is made from about 70% corn and is aged in oak barrels. Most of the biggest distillers, from Jim Beam to Maker’s Mark, are in Kentucky. Tennessee is also a centre for whiskey production, although its best-selling export is not labelled as Bourbon; Jack Daniel’s makes Tennessee whiskey.

As for the bottles themselves, some of the earliest ones produced in the U.S. date from the beginning of the 19th century and have squat, cylindrical shapes. Less symmetrical were the so-called chestnut flasks, whose bulbous bodies tapered abruptly to a slender neck.

Numerous other types of spirits bottles were produced throughout the 19th century and into the 20th (Jack Daniel’s went to its famous square bottle in 1895), but serious bottle collectors look for the figured flasks made from about 1815 until 1870. These flat-sided bottles, which were often pear-shaped or oval, featured relief portraits of U.S. presidents and patriotic symbols such as eagles on their sides. These highly coveted items can achieve substantial sums at auction. Condition is a key consideration among collectors - glass is fragile, therefore mint examples are rare and valuable.

Collectors may be lucky enough to find valuable Jim Beam collectibles at low prices in yard sales and thrift stores. Ebay is flooded with examples, however, sellers are generally aware of items' worth (while many sellers over-estimate items' worth).

Reputable dealers will be aware of an items market value and will generally charge what they believe the item in question is worth.


There are Jim Beam decanter pricing guides available online. Many people including bottle collectors seek decanters to add to a collection. Bottles hold value, depending on the make and year. The content is not what collectors look for, especially since liquor is not sold without a liquor license. Jim Bean is most usually packaged in a box or a case. The bottles always come with labels in order to identify the contents.

Serious collectors seek "complete" decanters and bottles, which are sold along with their original labelling and packaging.

There is a surprisingly substantial market for Jim Beam labels and boxes.

Jim Beam produced a range of collectible decanters, including commemorative and figural issues. The value of the decanters vary for many reasons, among them are scarcity, age and subject.

China or Porcelain bottles are not designed to store whiskey as they are very porous.

Condition and eye appeal are key concerns. Collectors should only buy the very best they can afford and ought to always seek out reputable dealers when planning to make a purchase.

Collectors are advised to do their research before making any purchase - though a piece may be marketed as "rare", it might still only be worth $10 to $20.

Other collectibles

Jim Beam produced a wide range of promotional items, including ash trays, t shirts, interior and exterior advertising signs, beer mats, etc.

Price Guide

A 1967 "Black Stallion" Jim Beam decanter sold for $10 at Montrose Auction Inc in January 2007.

A pair of Jim Beam political decanters sold for $12 at The Auction House in November 2003.

A metal Jim Beam sign sold for $110 at Purcell Auction Gallery in February 2013.

A Jim Beam AC "spark plug" decanter sold for $55 at King Auction and Realty Co. in August 2009.

15 Jim Beam stakes glasses sold for $10 at Dirk Soulis Auctions in May 2005.

A Jim Beam ash tray sold for $5 at Randy Inman Auctions Inc. in November 2004.

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