Whiskey Evalutions FAQ
1. I just want to see how much $$ I can get for my whiskey. Can't you help me?
If you're simply looking to sell collectible whiskey, we may be able to put you in touch with an auctioneer or a collector who can make an offer, depending where you live and what you've got. See this page for those curious about selling collectible whiskey if you have not already submitted an inquiry.
2. Why can't you just email me back a simple, quick answer to how much my bottle is worth?
See our FAQ about determining vintage liquor value. Valuation is complicated and there's usually not a straightforward answer. When we do offer an appraisal of an historic bottle, that's an educated estimate based on our expertise and experience in the field, and it requires a detailed explanation to the owner about how we arrived at that estimate. Those explanations are different for every bottle.
Imagine if we were to just quote our offhand opinion of “market prices” for every bottle submitted. Consider the messes we’d get into, with people on the buying end complaining we’re estimating values too high, and people on the selling end complaining the opposite. People would accuse us of trying to set or even manipulate the market, which is not something we have any interest in. Nor the superpowers to accomplish.
On the other hand, if a collector is interested in your bottle, that's different. They know what they're comfortable offering, and will be happy to tell you. They have an incentive to give your property the close attention it needs and to correspond directly with you.
3. Why aren't you able to appraise my bottle?
Most of the evaluations the Society performs are on museum-quality pieces and they consume a large part of our efforts.
A full evaluation takes a good deal of time and effort to prepare and write. It often involves in-depth research, consulting historical and academic sources, as well as conferring with other collectors and experts for their opinions. In addition, for our response to make sense, we need to take time to educate the owner about the collectibles market as it relates to their individual bottle. Especially with American whiskies (bourbon, rye, etc), that's a grey area in a true "grey market." Many sales are private, unknown except to buyer and seller. Valuation is complicated and there's usually not a straightforward answer. Even for bottles we're familiar with (which is most), we still have to inspect the photos, ascertain condition, and confer with the owner for additional information... it just takes a lot of time.
We'll do our best to try to accommodate you. Please remember, we don't make any money off this and we're a not-for-profit group.
4. Why do you do provide this service at all?
We know it's rare these days to provide free information and services, but it's fun for us, and sometimes we get to feel like the Indiana Jones of Whiskey. It's amazing to recieve high-definition photos of forgotten relics -- and then to be able to piece together the significance of the bottles, when and where they were sold, and the actual people who made the whiskey in them. Prohibition-era and Pre-Prohibition bottles can be especially fascinating.
5. Who is the LA Whiskey Society and how did you gain all this knowledge?