Jim and "carlopeto" at the Miniature Bottle Show in St Louis
Jim Crawford is a well known collector from Cincinnati, Ohio. I met Jim at one of the MMBC's shows in St Louis, in 2004.
We had a good time together. Jim has been President of the Midwest Miniature Bottle Collectors Club two times.
He also acted as membership coordinator for the club for a long time. He took over after Tony Dobyn died,
until only two years ago.
One thing about Jim Crawford that many people don't know, is that he designs the labels for the Trade Show bottle
every year. Hidden talent!
Below you can read about Jim's collection, from his own words:
How long have you been collecting miniature liqueur bottles?
Jim: 39 years, since 1967
Amazing. Another long time collector in the US. Where and how did you start?
Jim: I used to work for Procter & Gamble. Started working for them precisely in 1967.
My job required 70% to 80% of my time traveling. I spent a big part of my life on airplanes.
In those days, the airlines used to give away 50 ml liquor bottles.
I found them cute, so I used to keep them and put them on a shelf in our house.
That's how it all started. The collection kept growing.
How many miniature bottles do you currently have?
Jim: Just under 8,000, all on display in my bottle room.
The condition was: "If I am going to collect them, I have to display them".
No point in keeping them in boxes.
Wow, to display them, you need space. How did you handle that?
Jim: 11 years ago, we bought a new house.
We hired an architect to design the new house, and gave him instructions about
being able to display my bottles.
The basement, which we call the terrace, became "Jim's Bottle Room"
The entire basement is dedicated to our collection.
I am very fortunate to have a wife who enjoys our collection as much as I do.
lick above: an old view of Jim's bottle room click above: Jim and his lovely wife Nancy in Las Vegas
Do you specialize in any specific kind?
Jim: My first priority is to get miniature liqueur bottles from as many countries as possible.
So far, 227 countries are represented in my collection.
Some countries/territorieshave been renamed or no longer exist:
People's Republic of Albania, Soviet Armenia, Soviet Azerbaijan, Czechoslovakia, British Guiana, People's Republic Bulgaria,
Soviet Dagestan, Danzig, Dutch West Indies, East Germany, Soviet Estonia, Hawaii (before statehood),Hong Kong (British),
Irish Free State, Soviet Lithuania, Macau (Portugal),Palestine, People's Republic of Poland, Rhodesia, Communist Romania,
Shanghai, Sikkim, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Trieste, Soviet Turkmenistan,Soviet Ukraine, Union of South Africa, USSR,
West Germany, Yugoslavia,People's Republic of Yugoslavia
I still need bottles from the following 10 countries (all of them either currently produce miniature liquor
bottles, or have produced them in the past):
Soviet Latvia (before 1990)
St. Christopher (the name of St Kitts before its independence)
above: click to see Jim's collection of one bottle from each country
That is really impressive.
Jim: I also collect the following types of mini bottles:
Tequilas (have about 800)
Non-Scotch whisky (Kentucky bourbon, Irish whisky, etc)
Unique Vodkas (have around 400)
Which are your favorite bottles?
Jim: I would mention 5 of my favorites:
Old Vat whisky from Angola Koryo Insamjougaex from North Korea Rock Island Vodka from Palau
Metropolitan Club Whisky from Cincinnati, Ohio Shady Lady Ranch (unique prototype for one of Dug's Brothel Decanters)
How would you describe yourself as a collector?
Jim: Crazy, passionate, and definitely obsessed. I will never stop.
Where do you find most of your bottles?
Jim: At local liquor stores near Cincinnati, Kentucky and Indiana
I buy very little on ebay
I have bought a number of collections, kept the ones I needed, and sold the rest
At the MMBC Show
Trading online with fellow collectors from all around the world
What advice would you like to give to other collectors?
Jim: Enjoy it !!!
Realize you are not the crazy one.
There's a lot of people doing it too.
Join a Club, get involved....
and you'll enjoy the hobby even more
You'll make friends!
above: click to see Jim's impressive bottle room today