The SOB Beer Blog
Our rants about beer and beer culture.
Wait… How Much Did You Pay For That Beer Can?
10.02.2012 12:00 PM
The Dying Art of Can Collecting
At our cabin, we’ve got a collection of beer cans – on the ceiling (where else?!) that date back to the 1950s. We didn’t start it… but we sure as hell can’t finish it. No matter how trashy or kitschy it may be, it’s one of our favorite parts of the place.
It reminds us that, once upon a time, ancestors were here…
Rolling down the hill from the fire pit to the bathroom – drunk…
Falling asleep with their boots on before 10 p.m….
And bleeding their tipsy dry at Poker.
Yet, now I realize that this junk my husband’s relatives couldn’t part with could actually be our golden ticket!
10 Cans Worth Their Weight in Gold (literally!!!)
I just read that one can of Gibbons Bock Beer is expected to sell at auction for $50,000!!!
Collectors love old cone-top cans -- typically worth $40, although some -- like this one from Schmidt’s -- bid for $1,000…
And Rainier’s Royal Cone-top from the 1930s sold for $37,501 a few years ago…
Even Schlitz, which was mass-produced, will fetch $100…
There are WWII era cans made specially for troops serving overseas…
And there are flat-top cans from defunct breweries of old that’ll fetch $100 to over $1,000…
If you need a can-opener to crack a beer, you may be able to sell a mint-condition can for $1,000+…
There is beer “for men only” made from virtually indestructible cans, now worth $500…
And 007’s Beer Can sells for over $200 at auction if it’s in good condition…
Collectors just love “instructional” cans that sell anywhere from $40 to $1,000+…
And A Few False Alarms
Of course, it’s also possible to have awesome cans that are just worth $1 - $5 because they were so prized by collectors in the 60s, 70s and 80s, when beer can collecting was “the cat’s pajamas”…
*Helpful Hint: Look up the value of cans in your collection here at Brewiana Co.
The History of Can Collecting
Back in the glory days (1978), official “beer collector” membership hit a peak of 11,954. Back then, it was heavily promoted by newly formed collection clubs and it went the way of baseball card collecting. Today, that number is down to 3,570 – with the average collector about 59-years-old (practically on death’s doorstep!) and only 19 members under age 30.
Could It Be… A Beer Can Resurgence?
However, beer can collecting is said to be making a surge amongst the younger generations… and by “younger” I mean 10-year-olds. SERIOUSLY! Ten-year-old Randy Langenbach may be the youngest collector, with an assortment of 200 beer cans that he hangs onto because he “just likes how they look.” (Go, Little Man!)
According to the Wall Street Journal, The Brewery Collectibles Club of America planned an essay contest awarding free membership to youngsters who could best describe why they like hoarding cans!
One desperate can-hoarding parent admitted to the WSJ that he tried getting his 14-year-old daughter into the sport by giving her 20 cans featuring cute safari animal designs. He said he “doesn’t think girls are interested in beer at all” (HAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
(Pfft - I even got both of my little sisters on the beer train!)
Perhaps with all the microbreweries like Oskar Blues releasing beer ONLY in cans, a love for this cheap, accident-proof, and convenient container will come back among the younger generations. It will take a lot of breaking down the barriers of beer snobbery, I’ll admit… but it is plausible.
*Helpful Hint: Check out Container Wars – 5 Great Beers That Come In Cans.
Take A Moment To Appreciate A Beer Can Today!
So I say… visit your local beer store and admire a beer can today. (Send us a pic of your favorite one and perhaps we’ll feature it in a future blog!)
PS. In case you were wondering… Yes, there is a “Beer Can Appreciation Day” … It’s January 24th – which is the first day canned beer was sold in America (back in 1935.) So why not start planning your road trip to Pennsylvania to see the world’s largest beer can collection (currently up to 80,000+)?
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