Pour a Tall One: Collecting Antique Beer Memorabilia

Impress your friends at your next get together with your collection of beer memorabilia. There are numerous things that you can collect related to the beer industry. Choosing several in each category will allow you to create an impressive unique collection of beer breweriana perfect for that man cave.

Beer Cans

The American Can Company produced the first beer in cans in Richmond, Virginia, in 1935. The beer was canned for Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company who chose Richmond as its location because it was located far enough away from the company’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, that company executives feared little reprisal if the product was a failure. Cone top cans were some of the first ones made and are highly collectible.

Beer Steins

The first beer steins were made along the Rhine river in Germany in the mid-1700s. These steins were made of stone and are highly collectible Many steins were imported into the United States from Germany in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Before making a purchase, flip the stein over to see if it says “made in Germany.” Carved steins featuring old folk tales or German patriotic motifs usually are the most prized by collectors.

Beer Trays

The Tuscarora Advertising Company of Coshocton, Ohio, made the first beer tray in 1895. The most collectible beer trays feature a copyright date on the lower rim. Many collectors of beer trays focus on those produced for their local area. While most circular beer trays measure 12 to 14 inches, smaller trays called tip trays are highly prized. Additionally, much larger beer trays called chargers are also prized by collectors.

Beer Signs

Many local breweries fought to keep their name in front of the public by using porcelain beer signs in the early 1900s. Most of these signs were made by Baltimore Enamel and Novelty Company along with the Burdick Sign Company of Chicago. Most featured intricate graphics printed using lithographic techniques. Some collectors specialize in collecting tin signs. They can be very hard to located in pristine condition as many ended up donated to scrap-metal drives during World War II. Motorized Scenorama signs made for Hamm’s beer are one of the most collectible beer signs in the world.

Beer Openers

William Painter invented the first bottle opener in 1892 near Baltimore, Maryland. The first openers often were key shaped with the opener on one end and a hole on the other end designed to open gas-powered Prest-o-lite valves on automobile headlights. Many distillers offered complimentary beer openers bearing company advertising to their customers. Look for the manufacturer’s name stamped in the metal before buying antique beer openers. Those made by Vaughn of Chicago and Williamson of Newark, New Jersey, are particularly collectible.

Novelty Items

Distillers often rewarded their salesforce with novelty items for doing a great job. These items often bore the company’s advertising. Anheuser-Busch’s combination corkscrew opener and pocketknife was given to salesmen by Adolphus Busch himself.

Summer is the perfect time to go to a Prestige estate sale in Richmond, Virginia if you are starting a collection. We welcome new buyers to all our sales, and we are always glad to answer any questions.

Contact us:

Prestige Estate Services
3126 W. Cary Street, #112
Richmond, VA 23221-3504