My name is Gary Graham. My wife, Joy, and I live , along with our Miniature Schnauzer Zelda, in the Northern Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia USA.
Winchester, Virginia is about one hour from Washington, DC.
My wife and I retired from positions in community colleges in 2000 & we devote much time to travel, theatre, reading & collecting.
How did you get started collecting?
We have been very enthusiastic about antiques and collectibles for 40 years. Items from the Art Deco era were always favorites but the prices for these items continued to increase. One day at an antique market, I noticed an especially attractive cocktail shaker (a Chase shaker, I believe) with all its Deco characteristics. I also noticed the very affordable price. From that day I concentrated on developing a collection of vintage cocktail shakers. Of course, the collecting enthusiasm was increased by my love of martinis and manhattans. When Stephen Visakay’s book (Vintage Bar Ware) was published it seems that thousands of collectors became interested in cocktail shakers. By then I had over 300 shakers & enjoyed watching the prices go up.
How many shakers do you have and how do you store them?
We probably own about 300 cocktail shakers & they are displayed in our office and dining room and, unfortunately, some have to be stored in our basement, garage and storage unit.
Which is the oldest and which did you buy last?
I bought a Heisey rooster head cocktail shaker in Baltimore, Maryland in 1978 and it is still on display in my collection. My most recent purchase was a green cut-to-clear glass cocktail shaker.
Which is your favorite shaker and why? And do you have one with a personal story?
My favorite shaker is the small aeroplane traveling bar/cocktail shaker set that was made in Germany in the 1920’s. This set is extremely rare and the one I own has its original leather carrying case in the shape of an airplane hangar.
I have a James Bond-type case that carries a bottle of Plymouth Gin (my favorite), small bottle of martini-Rossi dry vermouth, a cocktail shaker, two glasses & a container for olives. It goes with me wherever I travel and my traveling companions have come to expect very dry, very cold martinis at 5:00 p.m. wherever we are.