Vintage Swizzle Sticks
Vintage swizzle sticks are small sticks that are commonly used to stir mixed drinks.
History & Description
Although they first appeared in bars in the 1880s, the term was not introduced until 1933. The first part of the name originates from the Rum Swizzle, a Caribbean cocktail comprising of rum, fruit juice and grenadine.
Because they are synonymous with cocktails and alcoholic beverages, they are an ideal advertising medium for companies such Coca Cola, Bacardi, Jack Daniels and Gordon’s Gin. Other items advertise cigarettes, restaurants, casinos, discos and even air or cruise companies. Although typically made of plastic, many of the more elaborate and expensive examples are made of glass or Bakelite.
Guide for collectors
Records show that items made by early-twentieth century glass companies like R. Lalique and Tiffany & Co. achieve the highest prices and can sell for thousands of dollars at auction. The sets of twelve Barr champagne cocktail swizzle sticks in silk-lined Moroccan leather boxes, made by Rene Lalique, circa 1931, are particularly sought after by collectors.
Vintage swizzle sticks are frequently advertised on eBay. However, the most important and valuable examples are typically sold through both national and international auction houses.
Notable auction sales
On November 1st 2003 at Rago Arts & Auction Centre in Lambertville, New Jersey, a R. Lalique set of twelve Barr frosted glass champagne cocktail swizzle sticks, circa 1931, realised a price of $6,000.
On November 17th 2006 at Rago Arts & Auction Centre in Lambertville, New Jersey, a R. Lalique set of twelve Barr frosted glass champagne cocktail swizzle sticks, circa 1931, realised a price of $5,500.
On November 6th 2004 at Rago Arts & Auction Centre, a R. Lalique set of twelve Barr frosted glass champagne cocktail swizzle sticks, circa 1931, realised a price of $4,250.
On March 27th 2008 at Kodner Galleries Inc. in Dania Beach, Florida, a Tiffany & Co. set of 14karat yellow gold and carved ivory swizzle sticks, circa early-twentieth century, realised a price of $1,800.
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