EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 87 - January 19, 2003 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 6

Collector's Corner: Old Beer Cans on eBay Turn Some Heads

By Lou DiDona

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If you haven't been paying attention to the prices being paid for older beer cans on eBay, get out from under that rock. Recently, a highly sought after Clipper Pale flat (or punch top) beer can from Grace Bros. Brewing Co., of Santa Rosa, California, sold at auction on eBay for a whopping $19,300. And before that, a Boston Light Conetop beer can brought over $17,000. Yes, beer can collecting is for real, and it is a serious hobby with fanatical collectors.

Now, some of you may ask, who in their right mind is crazy enough to spend that kind of money. Funny you should mention this, as there is a club with a whole bunch of people who will give you a million reasons why, called the BCCA. In the early days, the BCCA was totally against selling cans. But as the hobby grew in popularity, especially in the early- to mid-1970's, prices for hard-to-find Flat Top and Conetop style cans (you know, they look like an oil can, with a spout) started to rise. This was just around the time I caught the bug, but I was just a kid and had no money for expensive cans. For those who were able to, it was a wise investment.

With the emergence of eBay and online auctions came a whole new avenue to find and buy better cans, and also a whole new clientele. People emerged who were willing to spend a couple of thousand dollars on cans considered "Investment Grade." For some folks, this may seem like nonsense, but, in reality, there are many beer cans out there that are worth more than their weight in gold.

Here are a few tips and words of advice for who think they may have a rare beer can.

A) Billy Beer and JR Beer Cans are NOT rare, but more like a novelty item

B) Cans with loads of rust or scratches are not desirable, so don't start digging up the back yard or local dump. Remember the three C's (Condition, Condition, Condition). There is a group of people called the Rusty Bunch that go after these rusty specimens, we can save that story for another time.

C) Any cans produced in the 1970s or 80s are, for the most part, extremely low in value and very abundant. If you are looking for the latest beer can price guide, try the BCCA's new Guide to United States Beer Cans. More information can be found at their Web site, http://www.BCCA.com.

As always, supply versus demand will always determine the final value. So, check out those attic crawl spaces, drop ceilings, and closet spaces. There are still a quite a few cans that, if found, could surpass these mind-boggling prices. That old metal can, once holding liquid bread, could be a down payment on a new house!


About the author:

Lou DiDona was founder of BeerAuctions.com and is a full-time Internet Sales and Marketing professional. He has been selling online since 1997 and has 26 years of experience in Americana collectibles, specializing in Breweriana advertising and Beer Cans. Lou is also involved in auction site design and consultation. He resides in Pennsylvannia, loves music, fishing and winter sports, and is a part time Disc Jockey on the weekends. eBay ID beer_auctions; email: info @ beerauctions.com; eBay Store: http://digbig.com/4bebd


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