Breweriana and beer cans at Morphy’s



2015-06-26 11:20:58

Breweriana and beer cans at Morphy’s

16 Aug 2012, 10:47 GMT+01

Another fantastic collection hits the block at Morphy Auctions this September 21st – 22nd, as the Adolf Grenke assortment of breweriana and vintage beer cans is put up for sale.

Grenke, a former plastics industry executive and president of an elevator company, began collecting beer cans in 1972. He became known as a connoisseur, who would pay the price for the rarest cans, yet rarely drank beer himself. He was known as a condition collector, finding the best of all known examples, and therefore many items in his collection have been used for reference works.

The now 4,000 piece strong collection will be sold over a two-day event, without a single reserve. This includes 500 antique and vintage beer cans, some of which are expected to exceed $50,000 each.

Among the most highly anticipated are a rare Apache Export beer can from Arizona, featuring Native American imagery. It is one of only five or six extant examples, and is valued at $25,000-$35,000. Grenke himself also favours a Peter Hand Meister Brau can. During World War II, Meister Brau sent their beer overseas to US soldiers, and this is the only known survivor. It is estimated to sell for $12,000-$18,000.

Other highlights include a single known example of a Gibbons Bock low-profile cone-top can, valued at $30,000-$50,000, a National Bohemian can at $20,000-$45,000 and a Rheingold Pale Double Bock Beer flat-top beer can at $14,000-$24,000, among others.

Expert Dan Morean of considers this ‘the first major beer can collection to be auctioned other than on eBay.

In addition, a selection of advertising signs, artwork and promotional items are offered. A wonderful collection of 19th and early 20th century signs are included, such as a gold-framed 1886 Bock Beer Maid lithograph with two real cheques from the brewery, valued at $15,000-$25,000. An Anheuser-Busch Bock Beer elves and ram lithograph is estimated to fetch $25,000-$45,000.

One fantastic sign advertising Chicago Bock Beer pictures two rams in suits sharing a mug of beer, valued at $12,000-$18,000. A selection of the highly prized Gillco illuminating reverse-on-glass porcelain enameled signs are also available.

The finest known collection of 200 pre-Prohibition beer glasses Illinois cities with brewery names and beer types acid-etched onto fine, thin, delicate glass is testament to Grenke’s remarkable ability to amass examples that have often been otherwise lost to time.


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