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It’s a Brewer’s Market

by DanBorsey (01/09/08).
Antique corkscrew
Rheingold sign
Vintage beer sign

Like anything else made by man, BEER has a diverse and interesting history, rife for academic study. Those old tin cans in the basement could be worth polishing up and checking out. That metal Pabst Blue Ribbon sign and the funny, corkscrew souvenir grandpa bought for grandma on their honeymoon – these are valued pieces of Breweriana!

From bottle tops to keg tap knobs, beer paraphernalia is on fire. Antique and vintage bottles, pilsner glasses, crates – even letterheads and foam scrapers can be valued at hundreds of dollars today. Original signs and lithographs in good condition are in high demand – beer art is serious business!

The list continues – coasters, matchbooks, labels – one cone top can from a brewery in Rochester New York circa 1940 recently sold for $3,500. An original flat top can from 1935 is currently priced at $7,000!

What’s valued in breweriana varies. Items can be categorized by brewery, state, region or country. Some collectors of coasters, for example, specialize only in sports-related coasters or those issued during a specific time period. WWII or pre-prohibition coasters are really popular.

Some breweriana have minor variations that make them valuable. A Rheingold coaster with “Brewers for over 115 years” printed along the edge is a find, for example. This coaster was printed for six years until it hit “Brewers for over 121 years.” Most serious collectors would scramble to find all the different variations.

Sets of beer cans, full or empty, are a hot item – flat top or cone top – and bottles, mini bottles, and bottle tops are on fire. Life magazine advertisements, foreign or rare labels, and lit signs are rare gems for collectors worldwide. That neon Budweiser sign circa 1960 can be quite valuable in today’s market – where it really is a brewer’s market!

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