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Error Cans

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...

pointing hand. THESE TWO CANS ARE ALWAYS FAKES!

fake cone.
fake cone.

The Pulaski cones

I 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.

 

Duff beer.
JR Beer.
MASH Can.
Pretty much every other aluminum can with a UPC symbol on its side belongs here.  They are common, even if the beer isn't made anymore.

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.

fake can.

 

Error Cans

Error cans are NOT worth more, they are surprisingly common.  See my error can page for more.

Error cans.
  • An upside down Schlitz, found by a neighbor in the early 1970s and given to me.
  • An upside down Fitzgerald cone from the 1940s.
  • A blank label can from the 1970s.

Repaints

     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.
    
       Beware of repainted cans when dealing on E-Bay.  Most sellers will tell you if a can has been repainted or touched up, but a few will only say the can is "off grade" or "OG."  "Off grade" is supposed to mean it is damaged, i.e. it has some rust or at least a ding or scratch or two. It is not supposed to mean it was repainted.

 

 
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