There are a number of fake conetops that keep appearing on E-Bay. The most common two are the General Pulaski and the Milwaukee conetops. They were produced in the late 1970s in an effort to separate novice beer can collectors from their money. They are not "novelty items" or "collectibles." As a collector this really bothers me, because I enjoy this hobby and because I don't like seeing people get ripped off. To be fair, it's clear that some of the E-Bay sellers auctioning these cans do not know they are fake. But others probably do know and sell them anyway. At any rate...
THESE TWO CANS ARE ALWAYS FAKES!
The Pulaski conesI heard from their creator and this is what he told me...
I am the person who had these produced as an advertising gimmick. We had a plant in Pulaski, PA and gave the cans away for publicity. We made no effort to represent them as anything other than what they were. We purchased 5000 of them. One of our sales reps was the president of a beer collectors club in the mid-west. He had access to our inventory; I later found out that he had been selling them at flea markets, rather than giving them away to our customers and potential customers. Now you know the rest of the story!
Other cans which are neither rare nor valuable
Here are some other non-rare beer cans often advertised as "rare" on E-Bay or in antique malls. They are not rare, nor are they worth more than, maybe, a quarter. The same goes for World's Fair Beer, Bicentennial Cans, Andy's Beer, Olde Frothingslosh, Duffs from Australia, etc.
Billy Beers are also almost totally worthless. See my Billy Beer page for more details.
Reproductions & "Fantasy" Cans
WARNING: There are a couple of eBay sellers that are now selling "reproductions" of cans. BEWARE. These cans are worthless to most colelctor and are worthless. You can often get a decent real example for the same price these FAKES are getting on eBay. DON'T GET RIPPED OFF!
Other cans are sold as "fantasy" cans. In other words, they are made up labels that never existed, at least not on a real can. Below is a recent example of a fake can that was offered on eBay. These cans often appear on with disclaimers such as "I don't know anything about beer cans, but I found this one..." or "I am selling this for a friend/family member/etc." Don't get ripped off! It's not only fake, it's not even a good fake.
Error cans are NOT worth more, they are surprisingly common. See my error can page for more.
Some cans have been repainted or "touched-up" In the 1970s there was an ongoing debate about doing this. Does it help or hurt the value of a can? Is it kosher to trade a touch-up or repaired can? Generally, agreement was settled on a few general points.
- De-denting cans is fine and does not hurt their value so long as the bottom or lid were not removed. If done well it enhances a can's value.
- Adding new lids or bottoms to cans does not add value (except the can may look nicer) and it usually subtracts from a can's worth if you had to take the original top or bottom off first.
- Re-painting a can decreases its value.
- People who knowingly sell/trade repainted or re-lidded cans without telling you are not being honest.