When hundreds of beer cans showed up at Kenton Antique & Collectibles on North Denver Avenue something happened to me. As a recovering beer can collector it wasn’t the shakes or delirium tremens I felt, but a surge of nostalgia. So I had to know how Kenton Antiques & Collectibles owner Maureen “Mo” Bachmann got her hands on someone’s entire collection. “I didn’t find it, it found me,” Mo explained. She told the tale of a man who had been in the store and seen beer cans she’d had for sale and sensed that it might be a place where a beer can collection he and his father had shared, could find a temporary home. After asking Bachmann if she might be interested in taking a look at the collection, he presented her with three tall boxes and two giant garbage bags—around 600 cans and a trade arrangement for store credit was made.
“He was just hoping to replace something that took up a lot of space with things that took up less space,” Bachmann said. She emphasized that cans take up a lot of room adding the collection “looked like they’d been in those boxes in a garage for a couple of years.” That storage method required Bachmann to spend two days sorting and hand washing beer cans. She managed to put a shine on the older steel cans which cleaned up well.
Bachmann has been selling the cans. A kid began his beer can collection with cans from the store. Someone else bought some of the Iron City Pittsburgh sports team collectible cans for a friend. A gentleman completed his Schmidt’s outdoor can series that involved cans decorated with 28 different things you can do and see in the great outdoors presumably with a beer in your hand.
For me, I enjoyed the opportunity to look at beer cans again up close and personal and in living and some times faded color. My collection, accumulated in the 70’s was boxed up and eventually donated to a bar in Vienna, Virginia. Cans like Narragansett and Narragansett 96, (96 calories!) brought back memories of dragging my parents to package stores in the New England area. Other cans like Brown Derby and the Old Frothingslosh series remained as awe inspiring in their design as I had remembered. Brands jumped out at me with names like Tuborg, Swan and Ballentine–the beer my grandfather drank with the pull top can. There were others I’d never seen before like one of Mo’s favorites: The can commemorating the 1979 Bean and Bacon Days. There’s nothing like the Kenton Antique Store for being able to visit stuff without having to bring it all home.
Mo’s is always interested in considering people’s collectibles habit which makes it fun to chat with her about collections. “I had 53 typewriters when I moved (to Portland),” she said. “Now I’ve got four, and now I collect miniatures.” She theorizes that “you’re always going to replace one collection with another.” I was so busy talking about beer cans that I forgot to ask what happened to the other 49 typewriters.
Ever wanted to know what happens at a beer can convention? Here’s tons of footage from 2005.
From one collection to another:
How could I leave out a photo of Bean & Bacon Days?