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by Mike Reilly

  1.      Collectors generally look for information about the tins they have, wanting to learn more about how the tins were made, how old a tin is, and acquire knowledge of the brand name and manufacturer.

  2.        One of the best sources of information is your local library. Look under the collectibles or hobbies section or use the card catalog to find what the library has. Many libraries are switching to a computerized card catalog, and if you don't feel comfortable about using it, most reference librarians will gladly help you.

  3.      Don't be discouraged if your library doesn't have the book(s) you want. Some libraries are connected to a state-wide inter-library loan system. This means that your library can request a book for you from other library locations. This can also be done on a nation-wide search as well. I've gotten books from California and Kentucky.

  4.        Something else to consider - a book may not have been written yet on your subject. This is good and bad for the collector. The bad news is there's usually a price guide to go along with it and you'll pay higher prices for the items you collect, but that's progress and the price you pay for information.

  5.        Also check out your local antique shops. Many of the larger ones have a book section. Even if they have this, they probably won't carry every book printed, so check other shops, go to shows and fleamarkets (in the U.K. they're called "fairs"), and be sure to ask dealers if they know of books available.

  6.        Subscribing to newsletters on tins or joining a local/national club helps too. I've written about the three I know of but there are other clubs devoted strictly to certain brands, such as Coke collectibles.

  7.      One source of books I've used several times is L-W BOOK SALES. They sell books on antiques and collectibles at greatly reduced prices. Only thing is, you have to buy a minimum of six books to get their wholesale price. This doesn't mean you have to buy six of the same book title. They have a wide variety and if you can't find six that you want, maybe a friend will order some with you. You can email them at - [email protected] or call 1-800-777-6450 to request their latest catalog. They're very prompt about sending out your order and accept Visa & Mastercard.

  8.        DON'T pass up the opportunity to read books on tins you don't collect. Why? Because many of them contain general or specific information that may pertain to your collecting interest. And don't forget the books printed on general line antiques such as Kovel's, Miller's, Warman's, etc. These can also be found at your library and usually contain a section on metal ware, tins, or brand name items, etc.

  9.      Books on a particular brand/manufacturer don't always cover the subject completely. This is especially true when it comes to pictures, illustrations, and listings..

  10.        Even if several books have been written, not all information may still be accounted for. So don't be surprised to find a tin not listed. And this "unknown" that you have, may or may not be a rarity. Perhaps it was just overlooked, then again it might be worth something, but then you know that this depends on the market for the tin.

  11.        You may have to go to other "specialty" collector books to find info you need. Such books might be written on Campbell's, Coke, Pepsi or Planter's Peanuts. Did you know that Planter's sold chips in a tin?

  12.        Many of the books written cover "antique" tins. That is they usually don't go much beyond the 1950's. Few books cover modern or contemporary tins, except again for some of the specialty books.

  13.      If you collect local brand tins, one of your best sources of information is the county or state historical society where the manufacturer/distributor operated. They may have a information "file" already started if the business concern was a prominent one. They or your local library may also have "City Directories" (like an early phone book) that list residents and businesses. Some have special business listings, so you may have to look under such headings as "Tins", "Grocer", "Food", etc. You may be able to determine when a business began, if it moved, was bought by someone, who the owners were, etc. Some of them also advertised in these directories, so you may be able to date your tin from an early advertisement.

  14.      The local library (or historical society) may have the community newspaper(s) on microfilm. Some, where help has been available, have started/maintained an index to these reels of info. Ask the librarian. These old newspapers may reveal valuable facts about your tins through the ads or news articles.

  15.        Talking or writing to people with like interests is one of the best ways of learning more about your collection. I know of a group that formed a "Pen Pal" club several years ago and have helped one another out with additions to their collections. They've also developed friendships along the way.

  16.      One last thing about getting information. There exists local and/or state antique bottle/glassware clubs that might include people who collect advertising items in their membership. You may have already attended one of their annual shows. Just remember that joining a club, like subscribing to a newsletter, has to be a two way street effort. You have to participate in some way to reap the benefits. The simplest article, inquiry reply, or ad could stimulate further discussion and involvement.



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Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)