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Collecting: Sour Cream Glasses

Martha Stewart Living, August 2011

Like the zippered cases given out at makeup counters today, these sour cream glasses were once "free gifts with purchase." Companies began selling food in keepsake glassware in the 1920s, but the concept took off after World War II, when Penn Maid and Breakstone offered sour cream in patterned tumblers. "Giveaways appealed to those who survived the Great Depression and the wars," Living collecting editor Fritz Karch says. These glasses evolved from graphic and ribbed designs in the 1950s to bright floral and pinwheel patterns in the 1960s and 1970s. These days, most cost less than $5 apiece. Bargains scored, you can fill up the glasses and drink to getting something for almost nothing.

Buying Tips

On eBay, a search for “sour cream glasses” will turn up dozens of designs. Because they’re plentiful, you can afford to be a critical shopper. Don’t bother buying glasses that are chipped or faded from stints in a dishwasher.

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