The 2018 Kentucky Derby glass is now available, and we thought you might like to know a bit about the history of the Number 1 Kentucky Derby souvenir.
Back in the 1930’s, Churchill downs set their tables with water glasses, but they were so popular as souvenirs that they disappeared. Ultimately customers were able to buy the glasses for .25 each.
Since its 1938 inception, the Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glass has grown in popularity and is often viewed as the leading Kentucky Derby collectible. As with many items, the value of a Kentucky Derby glass is based in its rarity. From 1938 through 1952 less than 100,000 Kentucky Derby glasses were annually produced. In 1966, the production numbers rose to 250,000, shortly followed by an increase to 400,000 for the 100th running of the race in 1974. In 1985 the production run hit to 500,000 and today it stands at 700,000.
Interestingly enough, until 1974, only Churchill Downs sold Derby glasses, making the limited supply the perfect collectible. After 1974, retail outlets, like A Taste of Kentucky, began selling the glasses in honor of the 100th Derby.
In 1939, the Libbey Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio was contracted to create the glasses in color, which made them more attractive for mint julep sales. Reportedly the initial sales increased threefold. Since that time, Libbey of Toledo, Ohio has manufactured nearly all of the Kentucky Derby Mint Julep glasses.
Over the years some modifications have occurred. In 1940-1941, over apparent concern for broken glass found on the racetrack grounds, aluminum tumblers were employed. During the war years 1942-1943-1944, aluminum was at a premium, as a replacement glass, the Beetleware Company produced a ceramic-type tumbler of various colors.
There have been many different designs on the glasses over the years, generally the Twin Spires, the name Kentucky Derby and winning racehorses have been featured. The Kentucky Oaks received its first ever glass in 2005 as the Libbey Company produced a limited order of 7,200. Today this roll has now grown to 50,000.
This collector glass has the 2018 Kentucky Derby logo on the front and every Derby winner since 1875 around the back.
Vintage Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks glasses may not always be in stock. Please allow a few extra days for fulfillment.
Want to add to your collection? Just call us at 800-444-0552 or look on this site.