Looking to get your hands on the best vintage Jim Beam collector bottles? Our exhaustive guide to Jim Beams collector bottles can help you find exactly what you are looking for. After all, there’s no better way to celebrate as an avid lover of Jim Beam bottle.
Our guide helps you identify and pick the top best collector bottles on the market. So, whether you want to impress a crowd or complete your wet bar look, we have you covered.
Here’s a detailed guide, taking a deep dive into everything Jim Beam bottles – whether price, value or design.
Why Jim Beam Collector’s Bottles?
Jim Beam collector’s bottles are a great way for Jim Beam bourbon lovers to celebrate the brand and collect historical memorabilia. Jim Beam collector bottles are specialty decanters released annually to commemorate special occasions.
This can be anything from a famous or notable individual to a state holiday or sporting event. Jim Beam collector bottles are typically released by the International Jim Beam Bottle and Specialty Club (IJBBSC), comprising over 150 affiliations and more than 5,000 members worldwide.
The Jim Beam bottles started becoming more prominent on the market in the 70s. However, the origin of Jim Beam collector bottles can be traced to nearly 20 decades earlier. Collector bottlers came into the market due to the federal government act of the 1950s.
This law mandated distilleries and aging liquor-producing companies to pay taxes and levies on 8+ year-old products. To avoid these millions of dollar worth of taxes and levies, the Jim Beam brand decided to devise the collector bottles idea.
The purpose was to sell excess whiskey by packing it in special hand-painted ceramic bottles, known as decanters. As the whiskey brand picked up on sales and popularity in the 60s, they began to dish out these decanters.
The first bottles were dished out in the mid-50s. Between 1955 and 1992, the Jim Beam brand launched several of these collector bottles every year. By the late 60s, different collectors clubs were launched worldwide to collect the rare Jim Beam decanters.
Over time, the IJBBSC was launched and hosted conventions annually since the 1970s. By the mid-2000s, Jim Beam discontinued the production of these exclusive collector bottles. The bottles you find on marketplaces for sale are from the pre-mid 2000s era.
The primary reason for the discontinuation is that the majority of today’s generation doesn’t really set up recreation bars in the wet rooms. So, the need for decanters has significantly decreased. These collectors’ decanters are popularly sold to avid collectors today.
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Below, we’ve shared popular Jim Beam collectors to get your hands on.
12 Popular Jim Beam Collector Bottles
1. Jim Beam Black Royal Porcelain Decanter
Release date: 1955
Among the very first decanters to hit the market, the Jim Beam Black Royal Porcelain Decanter will cost you only $60. The Jet black bottle features accentuated gold details to complement any space in your bar.
The body’s glossy finish gives it a classy look complemented further by two original gold-trimmed foil labels. The soft angled sprout at the top of the bottle is covered by a tapered cylindrical white porcelain cork stopper.
2. 1964 First National Bank
Price: $1500 – 3000+
Release date: 1964
The 1964 First National Bank bottles are pretty exclusive Jim Beam collector bottles. With only 117 bottles in circulation, the bottles are amongst the highest valued. The reason why these collectors’ bottles come in limited numbers is that the 117 are the only bottles produced.
The bottles were originally dished out to the director of the bank during its 100th anniversary. The bottle is easily identified through its sky blue finish and planted with the bank’s gold insignia on the center.
3. Jim Beam Lombard Lilac Village
Release date: 1969
As the name suggests, the Jim Beam Lombard Lilac Village bottle was created as a celebratory decanter for Lombard Lilac Village based in Lombard Peoria, Centennial Decatur Springfield, Illinois. The bottle is adorned with a showy patchy lilac-colored look with raised green leaves and lilac flowers.
The complex blend of multi-colored hues gives the bottle an overall beautiful look. The bottle is then finished with lilac and blue tined cork.
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4. Paul Bunyan Minnesota Centennial Decanter
Release date: 1970
The Paul Bunyan Minnesota Centennial Jim Beam Whiskey Decanter was released to celebrate Paul Bunyan walking a blue ox. The decanter is representative of its centennial commemoration with 100 imprinted at the base of the decanter.
The decanter features a glazed finish with Paul Bunyan adorned in a blue and red outfit. The bottle measures about 11 inches tall and 7 inches wide.
5. Jim Beam Gilded Blue Tulip
Size: 757ml/25.6 fl. oz
Release date: 1973
The Jim Beam Gilded Blue Tulip features a unique bright blue color structure with three tulip flowers. Two of the tulips are yellow while the other one is yellow. the bottle measures about 12 inches tall and 6 inches wide to give you about 1/5 gallon in volume.
At the top, the bottle is fitted with a quarter-inch weeping gold baroque for a uniquely classy finish.
6. Jim Beam Illinois Momence Glad Festival Decanter
Size: 757 ml/25.6 fl. oz.
Release date: 1974
This bottle was released to celebrate the Illinois Momence Glad festival, America’s oldest drum and bugle competition. The festival also doubles as a huge flea market. This bottle is designed with vibrant illustrative colors to reflect the festival’s colorful ambiance and scenery.
The bottle’s shape is similar to a man’s torso and is molded with multiple floral designs for an elegant finish. The words “Home of The Momence Glad Festival” are painted on the right end of the bottle. Its thin length is representative of a traveling flask.
7. Jim Beam French Telephone Decanter
Size: 750ml/25.4 fl. oz
Release date: 1979
As the name suggests, the Jim Beam French Telephone Decanter resembles the shape of a vintage telephone popularized in the 1920s. The 750ml decanter was released in the late 70s and is the third edition of the Jim Beam vintage decanter telephone edition.
The 1928 French phone-designed decanter is filled with 100 months old Kentucky straight bourbon.
8. Jim Beam Circus Wagon Car Lions Decanter
Size: 800ml/27.1 fl. oz
Release date: 1979
The 1979 Jim Beam Circus Wagon Car Lions Decanter gives you an exceptional bang for your money. It maintains a prolific look that graces any setup, whether a bar or a man cave.
But, you will be most impressed with the porcelain carriage that functions as a whiskey decanter and the plastic circus wagon holder that supports it. The supportive structural design helps to improve the quality of the overall collector bottle.
The wagon decanter is also adorned with one large lion figure and two smaller ones on either side of the wagon. The blue and gold wagon with smaller white stars is also fitted with large red and white wheels at the rear and smaller wheels at the front.
The top of the wagon is fastened with a hard white screw on plastic caps where the bourbon is poured into. The overall wagon measures 8.25 inches high, 13.5 inches long, and 4-3/8 inches wide.
9. Jim Beam Whiskey Bottle
Size: 1.75L/59.2 fl. oz.
Release date: 1981
For a reasonable price of just $100, you can get your hands on the 1981 Jim Beam collector bottle. The whiskey bottle integrates a blend of signature cream and brown Jim Beam colors while a leather detail adorns the neck.
A brown-to-gold arched handle attached near the neck of the bottle makes it easier to carry it. The bottle is sealed shut by a wooden cork while an authentic Jim Beam stamp can be located at the base of the bottle.
10. Jim Beam Space Shuttle Decanter
Release date: 1986
A tribute to the Enterprise, the Jim Beam Space Decanter is an impressive piece. The decanter was created in 1986 and is shaped after NASA’s space shuttle, the Enterprise. The bottle features a pretty simple but accurate design, down to the details.
It integrates black-and-white details and is supported by an earth stand. The Jim Beam labeled earth stands is positioned near the tail of the shuttle.
11. Jim Beam Gold Semi 18-wheeler
Release date: 1991
Valued at about $3000 or more, the Jim Beam Gold Semi 18 Wheeler decanter is amongst the top-valued ones. So, if you are in the mood to splurge, this decanter piece is worth the investment. The decanter resembles a large deluxe diesel tractor fitted with a sleeper box and a 48-foot trailer.
Further, the diesel tractor model is designed with the cab and driver with illustrative details – it’s certainly a collector’s dream piece to add to their man cave.
12. Jim Beam Weeping Gold Decanter
Release date: 1991
The Jim Beam Weeping Gold Decanter is a collector’s bottle that comes in the form of a flower vase. The flower vase features a beautiful artistic exterior design that stands out decorated anywhere. It is outlined with pink floral details and attached with a golden handle for easy management.
A cork stopper at the top seals the bottle when you add bourbon in. On the other hand, the stand provides a well-balanced base.
Jim Beam Collector Bottles: Buyer’s Guide
Here’s how you can easily choose the ideal collector bottler bottle;
Determining The Worth
The worth of a collector bottler is determined by its condition. Remember, some bottles can be traced back to the 60s. So, over time, they may have some damage. The damage on your bottle may play a role in the total worth.
For example, a decanter with a missing handle or label will not cost you the same as one that is intact. Further, most options will come in a case or box. So, you want to observe the packaging to ensure it is pristine as well.
Note: The prices we have shared above are guiding prices for bottles in pristine condition.
Authenticate The Bottle
You should also authenticate the bottle to ensure you purchase a real collector bottle. After all, vintage Jim Beam bottles can be very demanding, making it easy to fall prey to counterfeit or fake bottles.
The first thing to do, as part of the authentication process, is to cross-check the label. Make sure the bottle has a label and that you can clearly read its name and how much whiskey it can carry. The next step is to identify the actual bottle through its identifying marks.
These include an embossing at the base of the bottle which confirms it’s a product of the Jim Beam Company. Most bottles are also dated at the bottom in a 2-digit dating format. Further, you can also identify the bottle based on its celebratory purpose.
Common celebratory categories of Jim Beam collector bottles include national holidays, clubs and conventions, casinos, Regal China, sports, states, wheels, executive centennial, and political, to name a few.
Note: If you research the particular Jim Beam collector bottles you want, you can always find adequate information that describes the bottle’s physical features. You can always use this information to cross-check the bottle and ensure it’s an authentic one.
Learn How To Date Them
The most common Jim Beam collector bottles you’ll find on the market were released in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Mt bottles produced in each decade usually have one distinctively common feature.
For example, in the mid-60s to 80s, Jim Beam produced the Beam Collectors Editions – the longest-running collection. The bottles from this collection were released between 1966 and 1986.
Each year, the bottles were released under a particular edition heading – so it’s pretty easy to identify a bottle from each year if you know the title.
Observe the Bottle’s Condition
As mentioned before, the bottle’s condition plays an important role in determining its value. So, a cracked or broken bottle or one with parts missing instantly depreciates in value. When choosing a decanter, make sure it is in pristine condition to enjoy its exclusive value.
Similarly, when keeping one, make sure you protect it and avoid any damage. After all, for a true collector, it’s about the bottle rather than the contents of the bottle (in this case, bourbon).
The Design is Important
Unbeknownst to many people, the design of your collector bottle is also important. The more unique and unusual the bottle looks, the higher its value. Regular bottle designs don’t fetch as much.
For example, the wheels series like the 18-wheeler can fetch up to $3000. On the other hand, the regular-looking earlier models, even though older, have a meager price range of only $40 to $100.
What Jim Beam Bottle Is Worth The Most?
The most expensive Jim Beam collector bottle is the Jim Beam Gold Semi 18 Wheeler decanter which can cost up to $3000. Another high-value decanter is the 1964 Fist National Bottle, which can equally fetch as high as $3000.
Do Jim Beam Bottles Have Any Value?
Jim Beam bottles certainly have great value, especially to avid collectors. But, the bottles you own determine their value. For example, some bottles are valued as low as $40 while some get a higher price tag of up to $3000. Evidently, the latter has more value.
How Do You Date A Jim Beam Bottle?
The name of the Jim Beam bottle you are looking at is enough to help you date it. Jim Beam produces these bottles annually based on different celebrations and themes. So, it’s easy to trace the release date of the bottle based on the theme and title of its release.
How Long Will Jim Beam Last Unopened?
Unopened, Jim Beam will last indefinitely as it has no set shelf life. On the other hand, opened Jim Beam will last a year or two before going bad. Opening the bottle allows air to enter which oxidizes the bourbon. Over time, the bourbon begins to lose its color and flavor.
Jim Beam collector bottles are the ultimate prize to any avid bourbon bottle collector. With a range of these decanters available on the market, collecting the bottles can get quite exciting. If you are just starting on the collector’s journey, our guide can be an excellent reference point.
Either way, before you embark on this journey, there are key takeaways to keep in mind when dealing with Jim Beam decanters. First, make sure you keep the bottles safe. These collectors’ decanters are very fragile and instantly lose value when broken, damaged, or lose even the smallest part.
Even a chip can reduce the value. So, always handle them with care. Plus, to prolong the longevity of your decanter, empty its contents. After all, collecting this memorabilia is about the bottle and not the contents!