Changing Trends in Collecting
There are fashions in breweriana, as in any other activity. New products come out, then seem to age into respectability as collectable items. At the Denver CANvention, publication of a new BCCA book, The Standard Reference of Tab Top Cans, gave these more modern cans a boost.
The tab top can, the universal style from 1963 to 1992, lies within living memory for anyone old enough to drink beer—perhaps one reason they were taken for granted until recently. But the collectors worked on the BCCA-funded book devoted eight years to photographing an example of every tab top made, over 7,300 in all. The book became a collaborative effort of the collectors’ network, with BCCA chapters notified when one of the authors would be in their area, and which tab tops they were still searching for.
The result is a comprehensive record of thirty years of one type of technology, from the early designs that could cut the drinker’s lip, to the easy-to-use but environmentally damaging ring top, to the stay tab that remained attached to the can. The book has led to an up-tick in interest and club membership.
So, this begs the question, what mundane daily item that we use today will inspire future collectors to spend their money, excavate latrines or travel the country to compile a catalogue? The proliferation of microbreweries and brewpubs in the past 20 years means that the selection of breweriana is probably bigger than it’s ever been in this country. An enthusiast could concentrate on, say, the modern beer bottles of California micros, or the coasters of Colorado brewpubs and have a demanding collecting task ahead. Or, given the recent growth in the number of micro-canneries, it’s a good bet that some can collectors have already put aside mint examples, in hopes that Dale’s Pale Ale will be tomorrow’s Clipper Pale.
It’s impossible to say which items will come to have historic and monetary value in the years ahead, but when you pull your next beer out of the refrigerator, consider rinsing the empty and tucking it away in your attic. A collector in the future might thank you.