"Gentlemen Start Your Collections..."
... Indianapolis 500 Glasses

Byline: Brian Callahan

The Indianapolis 500 is an automobile race that has been run each May since 1911. Many collectible drinking glasses have been distributed during the Indy 500. They have been made and distributed by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, souvenir vendors, gas stations, hotels and private companies.

The official glasses have been made since the early 50's. These glasses were given as favors to friends of the track management. The glass shows the Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo in black with a winners list on the reverse. The glasses were made in various sizes, with a gold rim, and the same size glass was often used for a later year. All glasses were tumblers until the 80's and 90's when footed goblets and large mugs were made. The 60's and 70's years are the most available, followed by the 80's, 90's and 50's. The glasses are frankly a little dull, with no pictures or interest ing graphics, just the logo and winners' list. Each glass has the signature of the track owner, in the early years Tony Hulman and Wilbur Shaw, then just Tony Hulman, and now the Hulman family.

The next most common glasses are the 3 blue color Libbey glasses from 1971, 72 and 73. Each has a winners' list on the back, with the 73 glass having a picture of Mark Donahue, the 1972 winner. These were probably a gas station premium and are easily found in the Indianapolis area.

Several hotels have distributed 500 glasses, one per year, since the early 1980's. I have one Essex House glass from 1981, and Hilton Hotel glasses from 1980 through 1992. These glasses are among the most attractive as they show the prior year's winner and car, with a winner's list on the back. Hard to find, and easily faded.

An early set is the frosted wooden handled mug set. The mugs were put out as a set together, although each has one winner from the 50's on it. I do not know the exact number of the set. Avail able, often high priced.

Dozens of souvenir glasses have been issued over the years. The glasses with company logos often have the exact date of the race and usually no winners' list. Many of these were from company picnics, hospitality suites, etc. The Mayor's Breakfast is the first event of the 500 Festival, and there are 3 different glasses from the early 70's, one with Early Times and another with Old Forester logos. A super early glass is the 1952 Farmer's Pride Jelly glass. It shows a 500 roadster on the front, and an abbreviated winners' list of 1947-51. The race was not held during WWII. Another interesting glass is the tall flared footed 1951 glass. It shows the Pagoda in green and black, with the winners list scattered at angles throughout the glass (like the 50's Derby glass). If a driver won more than one race he is listed only once, but with the winning years.

Prices on these glasses range from $2 to $20 in the Indianapolis area, with many glasses offered at high prices. The most common are the blue Libbeys 70's, the Parnelli Jones 1967, and the ordinary souvenir glasses from the 60's, 70's without company logos. The company glasses are harder to find, but less attractive. The hardest to find and most attractive are the early 50's glasses, the hotel glasses and festivals.

Indianapolis 500 glasses - comprehensive listing

(NWL means no winners list on the glass)

INDIANAPOLIS 500 - official - 1951 (or earlier) through 1993.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 - blue Libbey 70's

1971 - 1971 blue

1972 - 1972 blue

1973 - Donahue 1972 winner pictured

INDIANAPOLIS 500 - hotel glasses - unknown number, one per year.

ESSEX - 1981

HILTON- 1980 through 1992

INDIANAPOLIS 500 - frosted mug,wood handle,unknown number in set, issued together

1953 Bill Vuckovich 128.740 mph Fuel Injection Special;

1959 Roger Ward 135.857 mph Leader Card 500 Roadster

INDIANAPOLIS 500 - non official - glass tumblers unless noted.

PENSKE RACING 1989 etched Penske 500 winners and National champs on back.

THE OVENMASTER Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Winners 1985

INTERAMERICAN Indianapolis 500 May 27, 1984 (roly poly, no winners list)

SHELL Indianapolis 500 May 29 1983/Come to Shell for Answers large mug. (NWL)

BILLS AD SPECIALTIES Indianapols 500 1981 (roly poly, NWL)

AUTOPRO Indianapolis 500 1978 smoke glass (NWL)

USAC National Champions 1978 - Sprint, Stock, Indy, Midget, Dirt Track, Mini Indy

MONROE smoke small Rookies 1976 Rookie of the year/1976 Rookies (NWL)

RODEWAY INNS 1974 blue souvenir smoke/white letters 1973

ASHLAND/VALVOLINE 1973 Indianapolis 500 (NWL) Indianapolis 500 in black, car in checkered square, white mug Achor Hocking NWL "500"festival in black, red car, blue girl - (NWL, no date, 60's?)

NHRA Division 3 Land of the Winners - North Central Region red/blue

MAYOR'S BREAKFAST 1970 small pedestal "Indy - where it's at!"


OLD FORESTER BOURBON "Indy's Buzz'n" w. bees MAYOR'S BREAKFAST May 4, 1968

Parnelli Jones 1967 special souvenir - souvenir red letters on tall frost 1967 - frosted pedestal red car 1964 -tall flared ftd car/pagoda 1951 scattered winners list (drivers listed once)

Souvenir/red race car/500/Indianapolis Speedway (red) PAXTON'S ESQUIRE GRILLE (NWL)

500 Mile Memorial Day Race Indianapolis Speedway 1952 (winners list 1947-51) ... (Farmers' Pride Apple Blackberry Jelly - Hulman & Company)



This site was last updated 02/20/10