How to Identify an Antique Shot Glass

By Patti Richards
Antique shot glasses can be distinuished by a maker's mark or an original design.

A shot glass is a glass with thick sides that is used to hold about one ounce of liquid. They are typically used for drinking some type of alcohol all in one “shot.” Most shot glasses are short and wide, but some are tall and thin. Shot glasses come in metal, glass, ceramic and plastic. Antique shot glasses are worth more than newer shot glasses, but typically only when there is some mark or design that distinguishes them from a newer model of the same glass.

To determine whether your shot glass is newer or an antique, look for differences in color. The more modern shot glass of the same design as an antique shot glass may reveal a difference use in color. Older glasses tend to use multicolor designs whereas newer models may use only a single color because single color glasses are cheaper to produce.

Feel for differences in weight. Older shot glasses tend to be heavier on the bottom than newer designs and the weight is mostly concentrated in the base where the glass is thickest. New shot glasses have a more consistent weight throughout the glass and the bottom of the glass is usually the same thickness as the sides.

Find the maker's mark on the bottom of the shot glass to identify glasses produced by companies known to produce glass during different time periods. The maker’s mark typically has a distinct shape that identifies the company. Some companies also incorporate their initials into the maker's mark and combine them with a shape.

Tip

Purchase an antique guide to help you identify the year your shot glass was produced by noting specific details such as shape, design and maker's mark.

About the Author

Patti Richards has been a writer since 1990. She writes children’s books and articles on parenting, women's health and education. Her credits include San Diego Family Magazine, Metro Parent Magazine, Boys' Quest Magazine and many others. Richards has a Bachelor of Science in English/secondary education from Welch College.