Hand-designed wild-west whiskey bottles need a home

Marty Halpern sez, "Help me find a home for my father's (he passed away in 1998, my mother passed away this past October) hand-designed Wild West whiskey bottle collection. By 'hand-designed' I mean my father designed the bottles himself. The home would hopefully be in Southern California to avoid packing and shipping these 30-odd full-size (and breakable) whiskey bottles."

So, as I said, there are about thirty of the individual, full-size bottles, and I need to find a home for them. If I can find the right home, I would be more than happy to "donate" the entire set. I have already contacted Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, but their representative informed me that they already have so many items in storage that they are being forced to dispose of them. I have also contacted the Anaheim Historical Society and the Orange County Archives -- all to no avail. I am hoping to find a home for these in Southern California to avoid packing and shipping them outside the area, which would be very expensive (a minimum of eleven boxes at least), with no guarantee that every bottle would survive the journey.

If you can think of a resource, an organization, an individual, etc. in the Southern Cal area who might be interested, please do have them contact me, and/or post a comment below. There are already offers on my parents' house so I may only have a few weeks at most to relocate these decanters. They are all up for adoption, but I'd like to keep all the children together (at least those that are still left2) if at all possible.

Wild West Show Closing Down.... (Thanks, Marty!)


  1. Let me be the first to offer to take them… so long as they’re filled w/ fine whiskey.

  2. Our guest bedroom is western themed, they’d look awesome in there.  But I’m in Texas :(  

  3. What does “hand-designed” mean in this context?  It sounds like his father designed the bottles and they were made somewhere for use by Lionstone Whiskey.  Isn’t everything “hand-designed” at some level?

    Take them to Pawn Stars… you’ll find out how much they’re really worth to someone else.  Just be prepared for your sentimental value to be much higher than what anyone will pay for it.

  4. cellowcgw: Sorry, but all of the decanters are empty. I wouldn’t want to be guilty of trafficking in liquor!

    mrkahuna: By “hand-designed” I’m referring to the fact that each bottle was personally designed by my father after extensive research; once the molds were manufactured, he then did the colors, etc. Some of these decanters required a dozen iterations until he felt they were perfect. They were not assembly-line/factory designed. And I have no illusions as to the value (or lack there of) of these bottles; they were highly collectible in the ’70s and ’80s but those times are long gone.

    Zelda Lin, Syd, and Lobster: Thanks, especially, for the museum suggestions. I’ve already contacted the Autry National Center (formerly the Gene Autry Museum) and the Southwest Museum in LA is next on my list.

    Cheers, all, and thanks again.
    Marty Halpern

    1. i do not live in california unfortunately, nor do i know anyone who would be willing to pick them up for me.  however, my husband would be delighted to put them in his history collection of old western items.  i hope you find a good home for them as they are a part of history and desrve a place of honor.

  5. I also don’t live in California, but I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to add the set on the left to my home collection of old western items. I’d be more than happy to pay for shipping if you’re interested!! They’re so beautiful and they would definitely be on display and in a happy home!

  6. Marty, thanks for the explanation.  I had a hard time reading the scanned newspaper article.  I bet there’s a place that’s interested, it’s just hard finding them.  Do you have any of your fathers working prototypes or tools that they could display with them?

    That said, there’s a whole generation of craft that is about to be lost which is really sad.

  7. Actually, I just discovered that the Southwest Museum in LA is now part of the Autry National Center; still awaiting a response from them….

    Mrkahuna: As I searched through my parents’ house and storage shed in the backyard I hoped to find maybe some original drawings or other such material related to the Lionstone decanters, but no such luck. Maybe the drawings, etc. became the property of Lionstone; I have no idea.  I know when my father passed away, my mother and sister (who also resided in SoCal, just 15 minutes away) dumped a *lot* of stuff, so who can say; I wasn’t around at the time. Aside from the bottles themselves and the two photos with the “Gunsmoke” cast, all I found was a framed certificate from the State of Kentucky and signed by both the Governor and Secretary of State, dated September 19, 1977, commissioning the “Honorable Al Halpern, Anaheim, California” a “Kentucky Colonel” with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities, there of….  At the time, Lionstone Distilleries was located in Kentucky, as was the Jim Beam company, for whom my father also did design work.

    Thanks for your kind words.
    – marty

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