How to Shop for Vintage Glasses

Whether you’re having a few friends over for pre-dinner drinks or hosting a full scale party, the perfect drink deserves the perfect glass. And if you really want to impress your guests, try serving them a drink in a beautiful vintage glass! They really just don’t make them like they used to anymore. Here are a few tips for how to shop for vintage glasses for your home collection in partnership with eBay!

How to Shop for Vintage Glassware / Oh So Beautiful Paper for eBay

Quintessential Shapes

It seems like cocktail glasses come in all shapes and sizes. But there are really only five key shapes that you need in your glassware cabinet: highball, lowball, cocktail,coupe, and flute.

A highball glass is tall and straight and perfect for summer drinks filled with lots of ice – like the classic Mojito. A lowball glass is your everyman glass and works for everything from the classic Old Fashioned to party-friendly Tiki recipes. Lowball glasses (also called rocks glasses) can be rounded or have straight sides. A cocktail glass (pictured above) is what you might think of as a classic Martini glass: a wide rim and angled sides that narrow to a slender stem. The coupe is a close cousin of the cocktail glass with a wide rim and rounded bowl. And a flute is the perfect way to enjoy champagne (and champagne cocktails) for special occasions!

How to Shop for Vintage Glassware: The Cocktail Glass

The classic cocktail glass / Photo Credit: Sweet Root Village for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Build Your Collection

The size of your glassware collection will depend on how often you entertain and your kitchen storage capacity. But I recommend trying to have at least 6-8 glasses in each of the main shape categories. Cocktail glasses and coupes are best for smaller gatherings, while highball and lowball glasses are perfect for backyard parties and larger get- togethers.

How to Shop for Vintage Glassware: The Highball

A colorful Highball

Color and Pattern

One of the best things about vintage glassware is the sheer variety of colors and patterns! Everything from floral motifs to fruit, silver rims to all-over gold, iridescent glass to frosted pastels. Don’t be afraid to pick something fun that reflects your personality – but stick to a consistent color palette so your collection looks cohesive.

How to Shop for Vintage Glassware: The Coupe

The Coupe

Crystal vs Glass

Leaded glass (aka crystal) was commonly used in glassware until the mid-twentieth century to both make the glass stronger (so they could make it thinner) and make it sparkle. But, despite what collectors might want you to think, when it boils down to it crystal isn’t any more special than non-leaded glass. Buy glassware because you love it, not because someone else tells you it’s fancy.

How to Shop for Vintage Glassware: The Flute

The Flute

Alternative Shapes

In addition to the five quintessential glass shapes, there are a few alternatives that you might consider for your collection. If you love beer, invest in a set of vintage Pilsner glasses. If you like to try different liqueurs, a set of small (1-2 ounce) cordial glasses might be right up your alley. Punch bowl and glass sets are great for large parties – you can make an entire bowl of punch and let your guests serve themselves all night! And when it comes to punch glasses, the smaller the better. The whole idea is that guests would drink from a small glass (3-4 ounces), making frequent trips back to the punch bowl where they could meet and mingle with other party guests. So fun!

How to Shop for Vintage Glassware: The Lowball

A rounded midcentury modern Lowball

I also pulled a few favorite vintage glassware selections from eBay in my Bottoms Up collection! So many gorgeous glasses!

This post was created in partnership with eBay. All content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make Oh So Beautiful Paper possible!