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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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..
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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