We went down / Lit up the shack
July 11, 2018 9:09 AM   Subscribe

They Meet Up in Motels Across America…to Trade Old Beer Cans: "We’re at the Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Park Inn by Radisson. Collectors from around the United States have gathered to trade, buy and sell beer cans at the annual Spring Thaw Brewery Collectibles Show — also referred to as 'Spring Thaw,' 'Canvention,' or 'Crownvention' — crown being slang for a beer bottle cap." posted by mandolin conspiracy (7 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks. I love things like this.
posted by freakazoid at 9:16 AM on July 11, 2018

Years and years ago I bought somebody's entire beer can collection - we're talking over 500 cans - at a garage sale for $20. They were just too cool to pass up. I moved them five or six times across several states, always thinking "I'll do something with them someday," but of course I never did. I eventually sold them to someone at one of my own garage sales, for $20. It's the ciiiircle of liiiiiiife.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 10:43 AM on July 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

Welp gotta say that location is not something I ever expected to see above the fold on an fpp.

We get so many weird conferences in that area.
posted by sio42 at 11:59 AM on July 11, 2018

I'm fond of this Flickr album of lovingly-photographed beer cans, especially the very generic "LIGHT BEER" ones.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:41 PM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

This reminds me of an old friend from junior high school day, Neal. He was into beer can collecting back in the seventies before we were old enough to drink (legally). I think he had a couple of cone tops as well some old steel cans you had to open with a church key. Mainly he had a lot of regional beer cans like Ballantine that weren’t particularly rare but were unusual for Augusta Georgia. I also seem to remember that if he got a potentially collectible can that was unopened the value was higher if you opened it from the bottom (again with a church key) and left the pull tab intact. Of course he had some Billy Beer, as did everybody else, including my beer drinking but not collecting father, which is why they aren’t worth anything. I wonder whatever became of him; his family moved to Las Vegas about 1979 and I got o phone call or two but haven’t heard from him since. I wonder if he still has his beer cans.
posted by TedW at 1:19 PM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was one of those kids in the mid to late 80s collecting beer cans. I was interested in the designs and variety (and it was an early manifestation of a lifelong interest in vernacular graphics and print ephemera), and since this was around the time of the United States Bicentennial there were all kinds of commemorative can designs to collect too!

I wasn't interested in beer, in fact it always smelled weird to me; I was way too young to drink and had no interest in starting. However, my parents didn't drink alcohol, and we lived in Pennsylvania, where alcohol distribution laws made it incredibly challenging to casually buy beer; you could buy a six-pack at some bars, if you wanted to pay bar prices; otherwise beer was only available from distributors, an entire case at a time. So acquiring cans was pretty daunting, and I can remember hiking railroad tracks and traversing river gorges to forage for cans around the high schoolers' makeout spots.

After I grew up and moved out, my parents saved all those cans for decades, carefully boxing them up and storing them in the attic. Earlier this year I finally retrieved and sorted them. They're a snapshot of a particular time now, and I plan to set out a couple at a time for display, because I still find the graphics more interesting in some ways than modern beer packaging -- even though I'll concede that these days the designs (and, definitely, the contents) are altogether much more adventurous and frequently better-executed.
posted by ardgedee at 7:07 PM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m here specifically to shoutout to anyone else who read the weird little middle-grade book Harvey the Beer Can King as a kid in the 80s.
posted by clavicle at 8:34 PM on July 11, 2018

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