How to Value Ski Country Indian Whiskey Decanters

By Cynthia Smith

Ski Country whiskey decanters are esteemed more as works of art than containers for alcohol, and are collectible. The subject of Native American figures as decanters began in 1974 and continued until 1983, ending with the Dancer series designed by Barbara Foss. The decanters were whiskey containers of 4/5 size with matching miniatures. There are approximately 29 different decanters including two sets of six. Ski Country released them in limited quantities and locations, which has contributed to their value.

Authenticate your decanter by any printed name or number found with or on the item. When you first acquired the collectible item, a certificate of authenticity should have been included with it. Among the information it lists is a number designating how many castings of a certain design were done. The piece itself also is numbered. One decanter -- Lookout Indian -- is one of 2,400 pieces made. The number 56/2400, for example, means yours was the 56th decanter cast from that mold.

Identify which Indian series piece you have. Many of the decanters are dancing Indians. Dancers of the Southwest is a set of 6 pieces and was valued at $406.00, in 2010. Single pieces with "Dancer" as the second word of the title numbered 10 in all. One of these, Eagle Dancer, was valued at $259.00, also in 2010.

Price guides can help you determine which pieces have the most value. According to Ski Country's own price list, miniature-sized decanters are just as collectible as the 4/5 size, but are not priced as high. As of 2010, mini decanters range from $30 to $138 for single pieces, and one set of 6 was worth $254. (Ref #1)

Check the piece for any imperfections. Cracks, chips and repairs almost always lower the price of a collectible ceramic. Signs of wear can bring down the price, but a lot depends on the piece's rarity. A buyer may overlook faded colors, and even a repair, if it's a difficult to find piece that completes a set or collection. Keeping the decanters completely intact further enhances their value. Great Spirit, which is a horse and rider, has leather reins, while Warrior with Hatchet has string reins. Warrior with Lance comes with a removable, wooden lance. Lookout Indian comes with a wooden bow. If these are missing, the value decreases.

Keep a log with information regarding each of your Ski Country Indian whiskey decanters. You may want to note if the decanter had limited distribution. Wolf Dancer, Falcon Dancer, Eagle Dancer and Antelope Dancer 4/5 size decanters were only released in Arizona. Fewer of the mini-sized were limited in this way.

Limited number editions are noteworthy as well, but do not necessarily indicate higher value. Both Warrior with Hatchet and Warrior with Lance were limited to 900 copies, but Eagle Dancer, with 6,180 copies, is more valuable. End of the Trail had 3,600 copies made and, in 2010, is worth only about 10 dollars more than Eagle Dancer.

Using phone bids, two buyers at auction can significantly drive up the price of an item.

Determining the value of a Ski Country Indian whiskey decanter gives you an estimate of what a collector or dealer will pay to obtain it. Values increase with scarcity and desirability. Values decrease when flaws are present. If sold at auction, values can go higher than estimated depending on how many participants are interested in a specific decanter. Conversely, if there is little interest, the selling price can end up being less than the estimated value.

Things Needed

  • Certificate of authenticity
  • Ski Country Indian whiskey decanter
  • Paper and pencil

Tip

It is important to keep the certificate of authenticity of a collectible for future verification. Having one enhances its value.

About the Author

Obtained Nursing degree followed by Registered Nurse license in 1984. Have held several positions in long term and intermediate care, acute care and home health with much of this experience in leadership roles. Years of management and staff education give me a solid basis of nursing expertise and medical knowledge. In addition, conducting in-services and community health education forums involves public speaking, an ability I have utilized scores of times.