Thrifting & Vintage

We’re Over the Moon with McCoy Pottery’s Apollo Capsule Decanter!

July 26, 2017

We were lucky to stumble upon this famous McCoy Pottery Apollo Capsule decanter while treasure hunting in Portland, OR. It has since been sold to a good home, but it’s such a cool piece we couldn’t resist sharing a little about it.

Vintage Apollo Whiskey Decanter Space Age Memorabilia

The Apollo Capsule decanter was commissioned to McCoy Pottery along with two others, the LEM (Landing Craft) and the Astronaut, to commemorate the Apollo program also known as Project Apollo.

Project Apollo Whiskey Decanters by McCoy Pottery

Photo Source: McCoy Pottery


Production History of Project Apollo Decanters

Each decanter was to be produced in limited quantities and the Apollo Capsule was the first in production of the series. While the Apollo Capsule was produced for two seasons, 1968-1969, the Astronaut -depicting Neil Armstrong using the Hasselblad space camera on the moon- was only produced for one season, 1970. The Astronaut was costly to make because of its gold-plated face so fewer were produced making it a very rare and highly sought after treasure. As it turns out apparently the LEM decanter was not released due to production problems.

If you turn this decanter over you will see the maker’s mark of authenticity stamped into the base.

Collectible Apollo Missile Decanter Makers Mark

Thomas W. Sims Distillery

Stanley Kentucky


Dec. 1968 – 1969

There appears to be little information available on the history of Thomas W. Sims Distillery, but what we do know is this decanter is a fantastic piece of Apollo-era memorabilia, and a definite collectible of world change.

Apollo Program: The Marketing Side

What you might not know is that Apollo memorabilia was integral to Project Apollo, and there was plenty of it being produced in a broad range. To really appreciate the importance and impact of the marketing side to the Apollo Program, CBC’s Terry O’Reilly described it best in his program, “Under the Influence“. I urge you to read through the 2-part series, Selling The Moon – Part I (scroll down through on this one to find it) and Selling The Moon – Part II. You will be treated to a wonderful insight into a monumental moment for mankind, and you will learn the significance behind Apollo memorabilia. Without it we might not have landed on the moon!

50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Since publishing this article a few years ago, we have reached the 50th anniversary of the successful Apollo 11 spaceflight mission. July 20, 2019 marks 50 years to the day that Apollo Lunar Module Eagle landed on the moon.

“The Eagle has landed.”

[Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969 20:17 UTC]

On July 21, 1969, just 39 minutes after the Eagle was landed, commander Neil Armstrong became the first man in history to set foot on the moon. Lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later.

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

[Neil Armstrong, July 21, 1969, 02:56 UTC]

Though it was Armstrong and Aldrin who stepped onto the moon, third astronaut Michael Collins, command module Columbia pilot, was part of the historical Apollo 11 spaceflight. It took a team to a make history that day, and Collins tells us first-hand what that means in his narration of Google’s July 19, 2019 Doodle animation. This Youtube video is just over 4 minutes long, and it is both moving and a privilege to listen to this world-changing feat described by one who was there.

Landing on the moon was half of the Apollo 11 mission, returning home safely was the other half. July 24, 2019 marks 50 years to the day that all three astronauts -Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong- landed safely back on planet earth…in the Pacific Ocean, but safely home on planet earth!

Mission accomplished.

If you have any comments to share, please do. I read them all and would love to hear from you!

Thank you for stopping by.

Audrey Would Vintage Home blog

Photographs © Audrey Would! Vintage Home unless otherwise indicated.

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  • Reply Dave Taffer February 20, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    I have an unopened/unbroken sealed decanter of the astronaut. Any idea on the value given that it has 50+ year whiskey in it?? It’s a little dusty, but other than that, I don’t think it has any flaws.

    • Reply Sheila Zeller February 28, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Dave,
      Thank you for reaching out. Wow! I’m so sorry, but I don’t have the expertise to identify a dollar value. From what I learned through the limited information I could access, the astronaut is not an easy find. I suspect that because the seal on your decanter is intact, your decanter is on the upper end for its value. That’s also assuming the decanter itself is free of any surface abrasions. I hope you can find someone who knows more about this!

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