"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
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
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
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
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
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
MAYOR'S BREAKFAST 1970 small pedestal "Indy - where
EARLY TIMES BOURBON "Indy turns on" MAYOR'S BREAKFAST
May 3, 1969
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)