How many old beer cans have you downed, crushed, and tossed into the trash over the years?
Too many I bet, and that’s without thinking about your old man’s trash that you took out as a kid – or the vintage beer cans he took out for your grandpa.
What will shock you is that some vintage cans do have value. Some can even be worth several thousand dollars!
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Look away now, as these are the most valuable vintage beer cans today:
5. Gunther’s Beer, Flat Top Can, $5,000 to $10,000
This old can had to be #5 on our list despite having the same dollar maximum estimate as #4. Here’s what makes this can special:
- Made in 1935 by the American Can Co. and is in pristine condition.
- This is the first design for the label, and part of an alleged prototype run of the can.
- It comes complete with the original permit, and a patent-pending statement with provenance connecting it to the Jim Plant Collection.
- The label comes complete with instructions, which is incredibly rare.
- Not to mention, the can has factory flaws which make it even more desirable.
All the above, plus the simple clean styling from the Gunther Brewing Co. really does make this breweriana collectible stand out.
Find out more about this beer can on the Live Auctioneers website.
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4. New Yorker Beer, Flat Top Can, $10,000
Made by the American Can Co. back in and around 1940, a vintage beer can like this has an estimated value of $5,000 to $10,000. Don’t believe us, that was the estimate at auction.
According to the auction, this is considered the “Holy Grail”, with only slight, indoor damage to its beautiful retro breweriana steel canvas branding.
It comes complete with a vanity lid, and might just be, in this condition, one of a kind. And yet, it only just makes this Top-5…
3. Rheingold Pale Double Block, Flat Top Can, $8,000 to $20,000
This super rare beer can is the first on this list to have an estimated top-end value of more than $10,000. And with some going for as much as $20,000, it has to have some very unique attributes that make it desirable and collectible:
First, it was manufactured in 1937 by the American Can Co., for Liebmann Breweries Inc., of New York.
However, what makes it super valuable is that it is an early example, in fantastic condition. No color fading, no surface dents, and only a few slight handling marks.
With only a few of these old beer cans known to exist, most of which are in fixed collections, the opportunity to own something so scarce makes this one of the most desirable breweriana collectibles on the market.
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2. Tally-Ho Ale, Cone Top Can, $7,500 to $25,000
The first can on this list not manufactured by the American Can Co. is this Tally-Ho Ale can. Brewed by the City Brewing Corporation, in New York, between 1936 and 1940:
This old can is in excellent condition, with colors that pop and a smooth surface – two very important factors when considering an old beer can’s value.
What adds to the estimated value of this vintage can is the inclusion of its original gold finish. Simply put, this Tally-Ho Ale can is rare, and one for serious collectors. Find out more about this beer can on the auction site now.
1. Apache Export, Cone Top Can, $10,000 to $30,000
FACT: The Arizona Brewing Co.’s Apache Export is the true Holy Grail of vintage beer cans.
Manufactured by the Continental Can Co. in the late 1930s, this example has so many positives that it will likely remain the most valuable vintage can ever (not to mention an increase in value with age).
From its Native American Apache Indian graphics to the gold-black metallic design. This is the ultimate can to covet for breweriana collectors. Plus, what gives this beer can extra cherries on top are:
- Provenance to the Wall Gilbert collection.
- The spout still has most of its original gold finish.
- The bottom is inscribed ‘701’ which likely means it has even more limited-edition value.
Simply put, this old beer can is super rare, ridiculously scarce, and clearly very valuable.
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What To Look For In Old Beer Cans?
Every collector starts somewhere, and if old beer cans have piqued your Nerdable interests, that’s fantastic.
When looking out for old beer cans, this is what you need to remember:
- The value of vintage beer cans varies from nothing to thousands of dollars.
- Most pull tabs from the 1970s or later have little monetary value. This is due to the beer can hobby becoming popular in the early 70s
- On the flip side, cone tops and flat-top beer cans from the 1970s still hold a little value.
So target pre-1970 beer cans if you’re looking to build a collection.
Alternatively, do as my daughter is, collect for fun, and build a wall out of Monster (canned energy drinks). It sounds weird, but limited-edition cans might have value in 20-30 years.