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COM: February 2013

A Small "Closet" Collection


Rather than a single can this month, let's look at one of the joys of collecting, the small "closet" collection. What's a "closet collection"? The term has two meanings. First, it can refer to a collection belonging to an active collector who does not go to breweriana shows or belong to any collector's clubs. This type of closet collector picks up cans on eBay, through dumping, or finding them in flea markets or antique stores, but he doesn't participate in the hobby with other collectors.

This month's COM is a different kind of closet collection. It's a collection that was put together years ago and then stored away. The collector often didn't even consider themselves a "collector." They just set aside some cans for one reason or another. They were souvenirs of a trip, or they thought the cans looked interesting, or the cans were emptied at a party. Whatever the reason, the cans were saved and set aside, but the collection grew little if at all over the years. It's often a very random assortment of cans, which can be one of its charms.

These types of collections can be real treasure troves. Some very rare cans have turned up in these random closet collections. Going through these collections a lot of fun hoping that a rare can will be tucked away with the common ones!

A friend recently gave me the collection featured here. He and his wife are thinning out a lifetime of possessions from their home of many decades and when they heard I collected beer cans they asked if I wanted the husband's collection. In the late 1950s he had put some colorful cans up on a shelf in the basement. There were also a few foreign cans from the 1960s from the couple's honeymoon in Greece. My wife and I went over to their house one evening to visit and to see the collection. The cans were neatly stacked on a shelf in the basement and I was thrilled to go through them. I decided to make them my COM so I could show this type of small collection as a reminder to people that even a small collection can be well worth saving!

Here are the cans, and a few notes about them. A lot of them have Virginia tax stamps, but there are a lot of mid-western brands as well that must have come from my friend's trips around the country for his job with the US Geological Survey.


The first group has some of my favorites. The Big Mac was an earlier COM and I had been looking for a nicer one! The Esslinger Quizzie can was the first can I saw on my friend's shelf and my heart leapt when I saw it. Valley Forge and Rams Head were both very big sellers in DC in the 1950s, as were Gunther and National Bohemian. I collect all four brands, and all four were either upgrades or variations I needed! The Goebel from Michigan is apparently a somewhat hard-to-find variation with a blue "Goebel" instead of "Goebel" in black letters.


The Tudor and the 7/11 are both from Norfolk and the latter was perhaps the best can of the lot in terms of scarcity. The Stubs is from West Germany.


These are the only US pulltabs. None are that old, and they're not rare. The Prinz cans are from Alaska. These were obviously late additions to the collection.


Ah, some nice foreign cans, all pulltabs. The Castle is from Swaziland. The bikini girl can at the end is a scarce and very popular can from Greece. I would like to keep it. My wife is less enthused.


There were also a couple bottles mixed in, a pre-prohibiton malt bottle and a White House champaign bottle from the 1980s.

This was a great collection to go through and I added some very nice cans to my shelf. A HUGE Thank You to my friends for thinking of me!

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