Dear Old Guy;
My husband picked up this old beer can at a yard sale last summer and was wondering if it is worth anything. He is thinking of starting a collection to display in our bar in the basement and wants to know if you have any advice.
Mary Persaud, Brantford, Ont.
There are lots of beer can collectors all over Canada and the U.S. and many attend “canventions” in both countries.
There are beer can clubs, newsletters, price guides and beer can collector shows as well. Many items connected with breweriana are also collectable, like beer trays, beer advertising, beer signs and even beer calendars.
Your husband’s can is from The Falstaff Brewing Corporation in the United States and was produced in the 1970s. It is worth about five dollars in good condition. Beer can collectors will focus on certain brands, manufacturers or design themes. Both Labatt’s and Molson’s in Canada had several different series of collectable cans depicting history, sporting events, teams and even the Olympics.
The most valuable cans are the “cone tops” which were produced from the mid-1930s until World War II. These cans sell well into the hundreds of dollars depending on condition, unlike most collectable cans which can be picked up for a few dollars. Unfortunately, some cone tops are being reproduced. Apparently, STP engine treatment can tops are being added to older cans and sold as original cone tops.
True collectors desire only clean, dent free, unscratched cans. Most collections consist of empty cans that have been opened from the bottom so that the “pull tab” or “pop top” remains intact. Having to choose between starting a beer can collection or a stamp collection wouldn’t be too difficult for me. I would rather sample different cans of beer than lick stamps.
Thanks for your question.
The Old Guy
*This Old Guy column is reprinted from 2009, issue 85