How to Grade Beer Cans
Grading beer cans is the most important aspect of the beer can hobby today. Advanced collectors are very particular about the conditon of the cans they add to their collection. The hobby is similar to collecting baseball cards, comic books, coins and other collectibles.
Pristine beer cans will always be the most valuable.The slightest flaws detract from the value of a beer can and the severity of the flaws dictates the value of any can. Off grade beer cans containing rust, scratches, dents, etc. are more common and less sought after by collectors. Old beer cans in mint condition are much scarcer and highly prized by advanced collectors.
There is a general beer can grading sytem used by all serious beer can collectors. It has been established over the past 30 years and is well known throughout the beer can collecting hobby. It is based on grading the cans on a scale of 1 to 5 with plus(+) and minus(-) values added for precision. A grade 1 can is clean while a grade 5 can is very rusty. Below is the grading scale and how it corresponds to the value of any old beer can.
Beer Can Grading System
Grade 1+ : Pristine. Absolutely no flaws. Very few cans survive this way.
Grade A1+ : A mint example. Very small handling imperfections.
Grade 1 : A near mint example. More noticable flaws.
Grade 1- : Noticable minor flaws to include scratches, small dents, etc.
Grade 2+ : Flaws begin to include light rust.
Grade 2 : An outside can. Light rust and other minor flaws.
Grade 2- : Obvious flaws. One side may be better than the other.
Grade 3+ : Heavy rust and other damage. Still displayable.
Grade 3 : Multiple flaws. Needs to be upgraded.
Grade 3- : Heavy damage. May have holes or fading.
Grade 4 : Label 50% unreadable. Filler can until replaced.
Grade 5 : Label 75% or more gone. Major damage.
Beer Can Values
Grade 1+ : Highly sought after. Over 100% value
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Grade A1+ : Hard to upgrade. 100% value
Grade 1 : Majority of clean cans. 75% value
Grade 1- : Low grade indoor can. 50 to 60% value
Grade 2 : Lowest grade indoor can. 30 to 50% value
Grade 3 : Outside can. 10 to 30% value
Grade 4 : Low grade outdoor can. 5 to 10% value
Grade 5 : Lowest grade outdoor can. Up to 5% value.
Beer Can Scarcity Scale
- These ratings are based on the existence of any beer can in pristine condition.
- Ten distinct number values and corresponding phrases have been assigned.
- The desirability for offgrade examples has also been considered.
- The scale is meant as a guide to establish any beer cans current market value and is open to interpretation.
[ The above scale is for reference only and is unique to this author. ]