Beer Can Values

e Beer Cans

Beer Cans: 1352
From 416 Breweries
Cans Updated on 04/05/2012
What is a Flat Top
Beer Can?
A can opener was required to open the first beer cans.

Early cans had opening instructions showing how to use a churchkey.

The pull tab beer can was invented in 1962.

Since early 1970 all beer cans have been pull tabs.
Today cans feature
stay on tabs.

Flat Top Beer Cans

There were two types of beer cans produced from 1935 to 1962, flat tops and cone tops. Cone top beer cans resembled bottles, while flat top beer cans were steel versions of the aluminum cans breweries produce today. Since the pulltab beer can was not invented until 1962, flat tops required a can opener (or churchkey) to enjoy the contents.

[ eBeercans.com has assigned the following three flat top classes:]


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Flat Top Cans: Opening Instructions

The earliest flat top beer cans included an instructional panel near the seam to show the beer drinker how to open the can of beer. Beer in cans was new in 1935 and not everyone was comfortable with the new container. Many 1935 to 1937 cans displayed a full length opener (or churchkey) with multiple instructional panels. During the late 1930's the opening instruction panels were reduced in size and featured an abbreviated can opener view. Cans featuring full length openers in general are more valuable than the short opener versions.

Opening instruction cans continued to be produced throughout the 1940's. Metal shortages during World War II and production stoppages of cans during that time most likely led to the end of the beer cans with opening instructions. A few breweries continued to produce OI cans until the mid-1950's.

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Flat Top Cans: IRTP

All beer containers sold from June 1935 to March 1950 required an IRTP statement. The Internal Revenue Tax Paid (IRTP) statement was required by the Internal Revenue Service and was present in many different forms: 1)Internal Revenue Tax Paid 2) Tax Paid at the Rate Prescribed by the Internal Revenue Law and 3) Withdrawn Free of Internal Revenue Tax for Exportation.

Although many IRTP cans also have opening instructions, they are mutually exclusive classes.

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Flat Top Cans: Non-IRTP

While some breweries used up old can stocks or delayed printing new cans after 1950,they were no longer required to show the IRTP statement after March 1st, 1950. At the expense of the smaller breweries national breweries (Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Pabst, etc.) became larger and by the time the pulltab beer can was invented in 1962 there were only a handful of small breweries operating compared to the 1930's and 1940's. Not all breweries changed to the pulltab beer can immediately, but over the next 10 years the flat top beer can became extinct.