Vintage Cocktail Shakers: Savvy Tips On How to Build A Collection

By: Amanda Gates of AB HOME Interiors

Instant Style that’s Affordable

Vintage cocktail shakers are a great way to add immediate style to your bar, and are a fun item to look for and collect. They are also very fun to incorporate into your decor. Many of them have sharp lines, energetic pops of color,and a spirited history. For those interested in collecting and thinking this sort of thing is out of your price range, not to worry. Many sets are available in the $150-$300 price range.

Commonly found Styles:

[accordion title=”The skyscraper”]

Deemed the skyscraper for their unique sleek shapes, iconic asymmetrical spout and staggering height. Drink up!


[accordion title=”The Zeppelin”]

he Zeppelin Cocktail shaker was introduced in 1928 with a nickel plated body and gold inserts. The zeppelin originally contained the following: four cups, one funnel, one strainer with juicer, cap and body, nose cone, decanter, tail and cover for sugar, cup & cover for dried fruit, muddler, and finally a cork screw.


The zeppelin comes in many shapes, but always holds true to its iconic silver bullet style. It is hard to find one with its complete contents, so if you find one in its entirety buy it up!



Tips for Collecting

Design-Look for whimsical and clever designs. The Zeppelin, a lighthouse, or a women’s leg are most valued amongst collectors. Anything with unusual shape and style

Manufacturers-Chase, International Silver, and Revere are known for their silver-plating. If you prefer a glass look for shakers, check Cambridge Glass, Hawkes Glass company or Hazel Atlas( known for their cobalt blue glass).

Pricing-Styles that were mass produced bear a lower price tag for collectors. These pieces can be picked up for less than $200 while rarer finds by designers like Geddes or Russel Wright can run into the thousands. (like a $23K price tag for a lighthouse shaker)

What to Avoid

Avoid pieces with dents, scratches and flakes. Major damage will lower the value and will not appreciate in value.

Examine a glass shaker closely for any major chips, cracks or scratches

Color-The more brilliant the color the higher the value. Look for bright, clear colors for glass. For instance cobalt blue was the hardest to produce and therefore commands the highest price tag.

Reproductions-Be sure the piece you are buying is authentic. Get to know the shakers you love. Learn their history and do your homework before you purchase. Most shakers have patent numbers, manufacturer inscriptions or stamps.

Where to Buy

Having an afternoon toddy was a favorite past time of many Americans during the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s. It was considered an entertaining essential for all get-together’s. For this reason the cocktail shaker is fairly easy to find. Antique malls, flea markets, swap meets and places like Ebay, and are excellent online resources. And you will never have more fun than looking for one, and when you find a set that sings to you, you’ll be hooked!

Get more of Amanda’s style tips on her blog. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Other Posts from Amanda:
Home Design – 4 Quick Tips to Perk Up Your Budget 
3 Secrets to a Better Night’s Sleep
Style Your Bookshelves Like A Pro
Bring Unused Space to Life


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Andrea has always loved the written word. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Masters in Creative Writing, both from Belmont University. Both sides of her family have lived in Williamson County for generations, so writing for Williamson Source is the perfect fit. She loves to hear stories of what Williamson County was like when her parents and grandparents were young and to write about this ever evolving county is truly special for her.