Beer Breweriana - Beer Memorabilia

You may have heard the saying of 'cash in the attic' but what about cash in the garage or cash in the garden shed. If you ever get around to sorting out any of those places and come across an old Budweiser can, a Coors beer bottle complete with label or even the tops that came off of those bottles, whatever you do, do not throw them out as they may be worth more than you think.

Beer Breweriana or the collecting of beer memorabilia has become big business and items such as old beer cans, Budweiser beer bottles, bottle labels and even tops are selling for top dollar on internet auction sites and in live auction houses. Anything that you can think of that has been used to either contain beer or advertise it is now considered a potential work of art by breweriana collectors. As with any collectible any item is only worth what someone is willing to pay. And these days, if you have several pieces, you might have enough to finance a college education.

Perhaps you have done a bit of travelling and have picked up some of those German beer steins during your travels around Europe. Contemporary ones will bring a few dollars, if they are unique. If it turns out they have been sitting in the back room for a few decades, you could be looking at a self financed vacation.

Beer coasters are one item of breweriana that can go for anywhere between a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, depending upon age and provenance. Provenance is a term used in the art world to indicate the history of a work or antique. With a good recorded history, the more authentic the item which in turn will result in a higher the value subject to all other things being equal.

If you have been lucky enough to come across an 18th century German beer mug from Bavaria, you would obviously have a genuine antique on your hands. But even much more recent items are able to garner a good return. For instance, a Stein from Nazi era Bavaria brought in over $1000 at a recent auction.

Of course, to go along with all this activity, there are dozens of websites and even an 'official' publication called the American Breweriana Journal. It is quite possible that other countries may have their own 'official' magazines but Americans are particularly fond of producing a niche publication to satisfy every conceivable taste.

On the internet, blogs, forums and even affiliate marketing websites have gotten into the act. The wires are simply buzzing with talk about a vintage Budweiser poster or the newest find in Guinness bottle tops.

Indeed, it is hard not to agree that all the excitement is justified. Even an ordinary tin tray you could purchase for a dollar at the local discount store, goes for $10 to $20 when it is emblazoned with an artistic design for Stegmaier or Yuengling. The latter is advertised as America's Oldest Brewery and features a scene of puppies from the company's 1907 calendar.

As with any collectibles or antique market, the bottom could drop out of the beer breweriana market at any time. The art market sees regular, wide swings in price as artists come into and go out of fashion.

But considering how popular beer has been for centuries, and how antiques tend to increase in value with age, you might just find a good investment by cleaning out your grandfather's garage or garden shed after all.