A Few Facts About Tin Collectables

For ages, food suppliers and other commercial enterprises have used packaging to market themselves. In yesteryear, food processors sold their edibles in tin containers to guarantee the consumer a fresh product. These containers were colorfully designed and featured the company brand. Tins like these were used for various types of food products, such as cookies, crackers, candies and soup. Soon after, many industries followed suit, and it wasn’t long before you could buy almost any type of goods in a tin container. Over the years, these tins became popular collectibles.

Top quality antique tins can cost a good deal of money. However, for a person keen on starting a tin collection, it doesn’t have to be expensive. The amateur collector should seek out tin containers made in the 1950’s. Something that was made at that time is already halfway to “antique” status, and therefore is a good choice. To be considered an actual antique tin however, it has to be at least 100 years old or earlier.

When it comes to pricing tins, 3 factors are taken into consideration: branding, condition and availability. For example, top soda pop makes have always been expensive, with some of their antique trays costing hundreds of dollars. This is because of the famous name, and the fact that they were made in limited quantities. Tins that were mass-produced, like some of the old coffee cans, are not expensive and are easy to find. You can pretty much get them at any garage sale or flea market.

If you are serious about tin collecting, then you first need to decide whether you wish to focus on one product or many. Also, do you want to collect vintage tins or will a nice reproduction suffice? Once you make your decision, it’s a good idea to pick up a guide that lists a variety of well-established tins and their present market price. This way, you can assess the value of any tin collectable that might interest you. Let’s briefly review some of the main guidelines for tin collecting.


To be worth the purchase, an aged tin shouldn’t be dented; the pictures should be clear and any writing legible. The paint should not be chipped or scratched. A dirty container can be cleaned by letting it soak in warm water with a bit of soap. It is not wise to scrub an aged tin or use anything rough like a scouring pad to clean it. Furthermore, do not use bleach!


This is where your guide pays off. Analyze it and learn the various brand names. For instance, Uneeda Biscuit was the forerunner to Nabisco, one of the world’s largest cookie manufacturers. A tin acquisition like this could be quite valuable. Also, tins that were sold as a seasonal promotion or in celebration of a company’s anniversary are worth buying.


Basically, the rule of thumb in this case is that if a tin can was mass-produced, then it won’t have as much value. While a tin that was sold in limited quantities and had a brand name, might sell for quite a bit of money.

Is it Real or a Reproduction?

Back when the tin craze first began, copies of collectible tins began to spring up everywhere. The number one soda pop company, of course was the first to be copied; and since the quality was very good, some individuals were duped into purchasing them for the cost of an original. Once again, this is where your research or guide can be put to good use.

Collecting aged or antique tins is an enjoyable activity and can add an interesting touch to your home decor. As long as you familiarize yourself with the guidelines, it should be easy for you to find some great bargains. For more information on the subject we welcome you to visit our online store, Fine Tin Collectables.