“Official Price Guide to Collectibles”
Harry L. Rinker

Factory processed food revolutionized life in the second half of the nineteenth century. Although it would be several decades before the majority of the food that constituted an American’s daily diet would be “store bought”and not “fresh,” factory processed food was eagerly embraced by most Americans. The number of factory processed food products was limited initially. Manufacturers quickly realized that packaging was the key to sales and the development of brand loyalty.

The evolution of processed food also corresponded to the golden age of American lithography. The country store’s shelves were lined with brightly colored lithographed paper and tin packages. Unlike their historical antecedents whose shelves contained several dozen of each item, few country store collectors have more than one example of a product on their shelves. Cost is the prohibiting factor. Although condition and scarcity are two important value considerations, the pizzazz of the piece is the most critical value element. Many packages contain images that cross over into other collecting categories, e.g., a movie star collector is as strong or stronger a competitor than a country store collector for a Jackie Coogan Peanut Butter pail.

References: Al Bergevin, Drugstore Tins and Their Prices, Wallace–Homestead, Krause Publications, 1990; Al Bergevin, Food and Drink Containers and Their Prices, Wallace–Homestead, 1978; Al Bergevin, Tobacco Tins and Their Prices, Wallace– Homestead, 1986; Douglas Congdon–Martin, Tobacco Tins: A Collector’s Guide, Schiffer Publishing, 1992; Fred Dodge, Antique Tins: Identification and Values, Collector Books, 1995, 1997 value update; M. J. Franklin, British Biscuit Tins 1868–1939: An Aspect of Decorative Packaging, Schiffer Publishing, 1979; Vivian and Jim Karsnitz, Oyster Cans, Schiffer Publishing, 1993; Robert and Harriet Swedberg, Tins ‘N Bins, Wallace–Homestead, 1985; David Zimmerman, The Encyclopedia of Advertising Tins: Smalls & Samples, published by author, 1994.

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