"Anybody can brew beer, but only God can make rust!"

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Welcome to the RUSTYCANS web site, dedicated to providing information about beer can collecting in general as well as about my collection and collecting interests. I have designed this site to have as much information on collecting beer cans and the history of beer cans as possible--and I update rustycans continuously--so please check back often!


Work interfered with my updating this website starting during the pandemic so the site on been on a bit of a break. I retired in May 2023 and started adding new material in June 2024. I know I have some cool photos and things to add that people have sent me! In the meantime, I wrote a little blurb about my website design.

This site has several sections...

Collecting / Dumping / History / Cans of the Month

Trading / About Me / Press


Here you'll find information on clubs, collecting cans, fake cans you'll see on eBay, links to other useful sites, and other information about this great hobby.

Beware worthless "reproduction" or "novelty"  cans.

Selling a collection? In the DC/Maryland/Virginia area? EMAIL ME!


Beer cans are found everywhere, in dumps in the woods, in crawl spaces, in walls of houses being remodeled, in attics, under insulation.  If you have found a beer can, please contact me, I'd love to know about it!  EMAIL ME PLEASE!

Check my Dumping Page for more. In the meantime, take a look at my dumping story, some photos of dumping trips, and a page with advice on how to clean cans. I even have a few videos.


Since the first beer can was sold in Richmond, Virginia in 1935, they've undergone a lot of changes and a lot of brands that were once big sellers no longer exist.  The pages in this section contain some of the history of these obsolete cans and vanished breweries. I am also interested in the history of the Temperance Movement (especially in Virginia) and Prohibition, so you'll find some pages on those topics as well. Check my site map to see all the history pages!


My biography of DC brewer Christian Heurich was published in 2017. It's published by McFarland, an independent academic press. (Yes, it is peer-reviewed)

To order the book go to the Heurich House website and help support historical preservation AND read a pretty cool book.


Cans of the Month

Every month I feature a specific beer can or topic and tell you something about it.  I started in May 2003 and now have well over 150 different pages. There are a few months missing from 2015-2016 and in 2019-2020 because I was too busy with my books to write much else. I plan to restart in January 2024.

Selling a Collection?

Selling a collection? In the DC/Maryland/Virginia area? EMAIL ME!

Also check out my eBay store! Good cans at good prices!

About Me

A member of the Beer Can Collectors of America since 1977 (member #13056), I have been collecting beer cans since 1976 (with a long time out for graduate school and a new career).  I mainly collect flats, cone tops, and straight steel tab tops (all sizes) from the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. I also collect many of the 1950s sets and a few Micro cans from DC and Ohio.

A professional historian with a doctorate in American history, I am a retired associate professor of American History from Marymount University.   In my free time (ha!) I am also a member of a chapter of the Beer Can Collectors of American called the Rusty Bunch. We go out into the woods with metal detectors looking for dumps with old beer cans in them.  I am also a member of the American Breweriana Association for which I write a regular column on can collecting, and the National Association [of] Breweriana Advertising.

(links open new windows)


rustycans on hollywood hills.




"an awesomely informative website" *

Mentions of Rustycans.com (or of my collection) in the press, including blogs.  (links each open a new window)


Roanoke Times on Roanoke's Virginia Brewery. (February 15, 2021)

The Lowell (Mass) Sun: Article on the Harvard Brewery

Washington Speaks (blog) (June 2013)

Roll Call (the blog) (August 2013)

The Washington City Paper (a small mention) (August 2013)

The Brookston Beer Bulletin liked my history of the first pull tabs. (March 18, 2012)

Squirelfarts.com liked my Frank Jones pages, and posted some cool pics of their own.

Cited in the Roanoke (VA) Times (October 2, 2011) Thanks Bill for the head's up!

Mentioned (very nicely, thank you) on Wombat Nation! (March 14, 2010)

Mentioned on the NOVA-Antiques Blog (August 3, 2008)

Mentioned on the Box Vox blog (August 12, 2008)

As seen in the Baltimore Examiner, December 4, 2006

As heard on Beer Radio! February 11, 2006 Beer Radio

"Where did Ballantine Beer Go?"  Columbia News Service, February 2006.

"The Ale Trail" The Boston Phoenix, May 27, 2005.

The Washington Post, February 2004.

Total Pages (as of 20 December 2023): 250!

Please report any problems, broken links, etc. Thanks!


The Website Design

Yes, I know the design is really, REALLY out-of-date. I learned early HTML the old-fashioned way, typing it into Notepad, and still use a 20-year-old editor (Macromedia Dreamweaver 2004). Now that I am retired, I plan to update the design. No, I will not hire you to do it. Sorry. 1) I can't afford it, not if you're any good at least. 2) If someone else designs it, then I won't know enough to fix it or update it myself! Just be happy I always hated the "flash" command and only use different font sizes and colors for section headings.


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