Beer Can Repair Tell Tale Signs

Beer Can Repair Tell Tale Signs

Types of Fakes:

  • Foil and Paper Labels.  Many are legit, but if pixelated it is likely fake.
  • Fantasty Cans – aka ditto cans.  Some are plastic wrapped, others are ink transfers.
  • Wrong style top – i.e. converting a flat top to a zip tab.
  • Cans are cut down to a smaller size – i.e. a 16oz can cut down to a 12oz can.  Mule ML is the most common example.
  • Repainted or touched up cans.  There are airbrushed examples that are difficult to detect.  Black lights are used to identify touched up areas.
  • Reproductions – State Fair, 007s, and Jordan cans are known reproductions.


Inspecting a Can for Can Repair:

  • Check the height by putting the can next to a can you know is the correct height.  Make sure the cans are on a flat surface.  Slowly spin the can around, checking the height against the original can.
  • While spinning the can next to an original can make sure it does not tilt.
  • Check for wobble.  This is normal on 30s and 40s cans, but is unusual for later cans.
  • Lightly hold the can by the rim between your thumb and forefinger.  Slowly spin while moving the can up and down to see if there is any unevenness, ridges, ripples, or a lumpy feel to the rim.
  • Hold the can up to the light at different angles to see if there are any ripples left by dent removal tools.
  • Look for gear marks above/below the rims as well as any scour marks approximately 1″ under/above rim.  These are indications that the original lid was previously removed.
  • Examine the inside ridge of the rims looking for unusual rounding or marks left by a lidding chuck.
  • Does the can feel heavy?  This may be an indication it has had a top/bottom inserted into the can.
  • Does the top lid look sunken in?  This is a sign that the lid was not present when the can was filled and pressurized.
  • Does the edge of the can flare out near the lid?  If so, the can was likely a drinking cup.
  • Look for pinch marks on the rim at the seam.  This is not unusual for 30s and 40s can, but is unusual for later cans.
  • Inspect the seam to verify the can is not rolled.  Most rolled cans will not have any notches and often lack the solder present on original cans.  Some rolled cans have seams that appear off-centered.
  • Look for any gaps between the side of the can and lid edge.  A gap indicates that the new lid was not tightly rolled on.
  • Compare the top lid to the bottom looking for difference in aging and color.  Mismatched colors or aging may be an indication of lid replacement.
  • Is the style of lids consistent with the age of the can, missing a tax stamp on cans that normally have them, or have canning codes on both lids?
  • Are the can opener holes consistent with the age of the can?  Sometimes collectors punch newly lidded cans to make them appear as if they were opened.


Common Myths:

  • Small dings near the rims is an indication that the can has a new lid.  Usually dents are removed when can is lidded.  These small dents likely developed as the can went down the canning line.
  • Mismatched lids – on steel cans, breweries received the can with one lid attached.  Many breweries did not care if the lid applied during the filling process matched.  Maier and Hammonton cans are notorious for using different style and color lids on the same can.
  • Fluted cans are rolled – not always true.  This can be verified by looking at the seam.
  • If the can is short it has a new lid – It is not uncommon for 30s and 40s cans to be a little short, but usually not more than 1/2 lid.  Early versions of Croft, Kings, and Ruppert cans are often short.
  • Canning codes on the top lid.  Canning codes are usually on the bottom lid, but sometimes were stamped on the top lid.  However, there should not be a canning code on both the top and bottom.
  • Air sealed cans have been re-lidded.  Many of these are original display cans.
  • Lids pinched near the seam are re-lidded.  Not unusual on OIs, low pros, and j-spouts.