are my old beer cans valuable

This unique looking beer can is a cone top due to the spout on the top.  Pictured to the left are 3 types – high profile, low profile, and J-spout, respectively.  This style can has a bottle cap.  Cone top beer can production was from 1935 until 1960.  They are highly collectible because of their age and unique shape.  In mint condition the value ranges from $75 – $1000+.  A few phony cone tops exist but they have no value such as Milwaukee Brand and General Pulaski.

This style can is similar to a cone top that has a spout.  Like the cone top these cans have a bottle cap.  This type of beer can was in production from 1945 until the mid 50’s.  In mint condition the value ranges from $85 to $1000+.  This style can usually does not have the same demand as a cone top or flat top as most are not very graphic and lack color.


This type of beer can pre-date pull tabs and required the use of a can opener to open them.  Flat top beer can production was from 1935 until the late 60’s.  The rarity ranges from very common to rare with values ranging from $5 to $1000+.  Cans with the “Internal Revenue Tax Paid” statement are more valuable than those without this statement.  Their production was prior to 1951.  The most desirable flat top are instructionals and depict how to open the can as show below.


These cans have an illustration showing how to open the can.  Beer manufacturers included instructions on beer cans since it was not self-explanatory how to them.  As the public became more familiar with beer cans they no longer needed the instructions.  Their production started in 1935.  For the most part instructions were dropped in the late 40’s, however a few brands continued to display instructions until the early 50’s.  These cans appeal to collectors due to their age and the graphic nature of the instructions.  In mint condition these cans are worth $75 to $1000+.


A pull tab has a ring or tab that you pull to open the can.  Pull tabs also referred to as pop tops were first introduced in 1962.  The earlier versions are called zip tabs and were produced until 1965.  The photo to the far left depicts the typical pull tab beer can from the 1970’s.  Due to recycling laws “Dispose of Properly” and “Please Don’t Litter” were added to pull tab lines during the early 70’s.  The other lid shows what this style lid looks like.  

In general pull tabs have little value. This is especially true on pull tabs produced after 1969.  If the beer can has a gray versus shiny metallic bottom then the can was probably manufactured after 1969.  We put together a list of better pull tabs you can access by clicking HERE.  If the beer can is not on the list then the can likely has a value of about $1.00.  Almost all aluminum cans have no collectible value.  It is not uncommon to find pull tabs that are mistake cans (ie missing a color). Pull tab cans typically have little value but ones produced prior to 1969 can be worth from $5 to several hundreds of dollars.


This style can was introduce in 1962 and manufactured until 1965.  Zip tabs were the first generation of pull tabs.  Don’t mistake a common pull tab for a zip tab.  The photo depicts 1 variation of the zip tab.  There are a couple things to consider when identifying a zip tab.  On the lid it will have a slogan imprinted that says something like “Lift tab and pull”.  If the slogan says “Lift ring and pull” it is NOT a zip tab. The distinction is between the word tab and ring.  Also zip tabs are constructed of steel and have a shiny bottom instead of a dull gray bottom. Collectors like zip tabs because of the short manufacturing period.  In mint condition these cans range in value from $10 to $1000+.  The can is more valuable if opened from the bottom with the tab and zip tab intact.


Condition has a critical impact on the value of cans.  To better understand the impact of condition please check out our article, “Why is Beer Can Condition Important”.  Let us know if you have any old beer cans that you believe are valuable.  For more information on selling click here.