Thursday, November 29, 2007
Daryle Lambert: Hale to Ale - Collectible Beer Cans
Being that I am a teetotaler, I really haven't had the opportunity to collect beer cans much. But "there's money in them there cans," as we would say in the South.. The canning of beer started in 1934 by American Can Company and continues to be the most popular way to serve beer today. Storage, breakage, and the ability to cool it faster seems to be the reasons for the change from the glass bottles.
Where I'm from, most of the people that wanted to enjoy this type of beverage simply brewed it for themselves, but I guess in the cities, beer served this way was the rage. Until 1934, beer came in kegs or bottles.
Most cans back then, from 1934 till 1962, were made from steel, but later ones are aluminum. It has been amazing to me how the thickness of these cans have been reduced while still being strong enough to hold the drink.
The style of the beer cans has changed from what were called the cone top, to what is now called the flat top. The earlier cone top cans bring the largest rewards. The true collector tries to find cans that were opened from the bottom, but for the life of me, I can't understand why someone would have done this, but I guess they did.
Remember that condition is of upmost importance in collecting these cans. No dents, paint loss or rust can be on them, if they are the early ones. Beer bottles are also collectible, but I will leave that subject for another time.
There are people that, believe it or not, make their living today picking up beer cans on the side of the road. You may have seen them. As the price of aluminum increased, it made it profitable to collect these cans and sell them back to the processors. Did you know that in some state their is a return policy and you can return these cans for up to fifteen cents rebate? Just to throwing in a little trivia. Did you know that aluminum was more expensive than gold before the discovery of bauxite?
But let's talk about values. When collecting these cans, you will find that there were many bottlers, as they were known in the early years. The ones that carry the highest values are cans used by the least known of these companies back then. For example, a can by Edelweiss Beer Company might bring a few hundred dollars today. can you imagine what the person that drank it and paid only five cents for the can full of beer would think if you told him the can alone today would be worth maybe three hundred dollars? Another great can to own is the Storz Gold Crest Beer Company can.
Most of the older cans will still be found at garage sales, and when you pick them up for five or ten cent each, they will definitely make you happy when the final price is registered on your on line auction. By the way, when I was a kid, I would go the the ball games and pick up cold drink bottles and sell them back to the stores. That's where my spending money came from up until I was about fifteen years old. --Daryle
Today's picture is courtesy of Gene's Can Shop
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