Bulger's Beat: Proof is in bottle for 1 Jack Daniel's collector - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Proof is in the bottle for one Jack Daniel's collector

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SHELBYVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It's all about Jack for one retired Bedford County couple. But Bobby and Betty Spence aren't drinking Jack Daniel's whiskey. They're collecting it.

Their home is just a few miles from Lynchburg and the distillery in an area where it's easy to take pride in the legacy of Jack Daniel.

But Bobby Spence's expensive hobby started 12 years ago without Betty Spence's OK.

"I thought it was worth some money," Bobby Spence said.

"The first thing he brought in was this stand-up of Mr. Jack," Betty Spence said.

"I said, 'I'll give you $50 for it,' and [my wife] said, 'What!' But there happened to be an antique dealer here at the time, and he said, 'I'll give you $100 for it right now,' and she's never said nothing since," Bobby Spence said, smiling.

The collection started growing as they scoped auctions and antique shops, always on the lookout for old bottles still sealed.

"A true collector never opens his bottles, and I've never opened one," Bobby Spence said.

Investment-wise, if you think the retired dairy farmer is wasting his time, his wife says do some research.

"They'd know otherwise, very quickly, very quickly," Betty Spence said.

In fact, a jug from 1860 fetched thousands of dollars.

It's all a bit of retirement fun, and that's 100-proof.

But, get this: Bobby Spence said back in his whiskey-drinking days, Jack Daniel's was never his brand of choice. He says he was an Early Times man, but, in his words, you just don't make any money collecting Early Times memorabilia.

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