The Art Crawl Caper
I was playing on the computer one Wednesday evening, when at 9pm the phone rang, too lazy to answer it, I just tried to listen to the message. My son heard it and said its Brad, I'm thinking Brad Flinders until I replayed the message. Some different Brad on there who said he was doing some wiring and came across a bunch of cone tops in an old crawlspace. The message cut out just as he stated the last digit on his phone number, lucky for me I have caller ID. I immediately called him back and he explained to me that he had seen my article in the Albuquerque Journal. That article on my collection was over 4 years ago! He told me this crawlspace was under his mother-in-law's art gallery in Old Town Albuquerque. Also she was moving her shop and tomorrow would be the only and last day possible to get in there. He said to meet him there at 11am when she opened up. He also said to bring flashlights, gloves and coveralls.
Wow, now I can't sleep, a whole crawlspace full of conetops, could be anything! I knew I was going to take the day off but also knew it would be no fun to do myself. I called my good dumping buddy Brad xxxxxx who's only a 2-hour drive away to join me the next day. Initially he wasn't home, but I left plenty of messages telling him to call me ASAP. He got back to me about 10pm and I said cancel all your appointments and take the day off, we got beer cans to uncover!
I couldn't get to sleep, finally did around 1:30 am and woke up at 4am just too excited about the cans. I had to go to work for just a few minutes to check email and let them know I wouldn't be coming in for the day! Before that, I went to the building where the cans were. He had given me the address and I found the building easily and saw that it was a decent size and old. OK recon done now time to eat. I went and had a nice leisurely breakfast since I had 3 hours to kill. Brad wouldn't be arriving in town until 10am so I had to occupy my time somehow. Went to Wal-Mart and got some good size flashlights.
Brad showed up a tad early so we walked around the building to get a better look at it. The lady showed up pretty much on time and we introduced ourselves, made a little small talk and she showed us right to the entrance of the crawlspace. With a little help I climbed up on in and Brad said before you disturb anything, take some pictures. Which I did, and seen here with the article. Peering in with the flashlights we could see Ebling cones and Schlitz flat tops. That would be the rule of the day. It was cramped quarters, no more than 2 ½ feet of headroom, so I would grab a can and toss it back to Brad who then placed it in the box. Within the first 2 minutes in there I found an A-1 OI can, AWESOME! There's got to be more!?
It must have been about 20 minutes and I told Brad that I'd fall back and let him lead as it was my turn to catch the cans as he was tossing them back. I also thought it would be a good time to take the first haul back outside to the truck. You never knew when someone could change their mind. Certainly if she saw how much fun we were having, she could have. But she was too busy running the art gallery.
Once I got back from the truck, Brad had piles of cans all over that crawlspace. He said the military taught him pretty good to crawl on his elbows! I handed up some more boxes and away we went boxing up the booty. We found a half a box the Eblings came in and even a Drewrys ale 12-pack cardboard can box with a New Mexico malt tax stamp on the box but alas no Drewrys cans. In there we also some quart beer bottles, Blackhawk, Budweiser , Acme party size , numerous whisky bottles and lots of broken glass. The lady mentioned cockroaches in there but we never did see them. Brad did see a bunch of Black Widows but wrong time of year for them to be active.
The most numerous can in there was the Ebling conetops (105) follow by the Schlitz (55) flat tops,3 different ( kiss of the hops IRTP, the reg IRTP and non-IRTP). 8 Hamms sunburst cans were found including 4 in a paper bag like they were thrown there yesterday. After that everything else was onesy-twosy. We found 2 different Blatz (one IRTP), Pabst (IRTP), black Miller non-IRTP, 2 Walters IRTP, 2 Acmes Los Angeles IRTP,1 Canadian Ace and only one non-IRTP Coors! Woo hoooo! (I can't tell you how sick and tired we are of 1950-60s era Coors flat tops!). What lacked in rarity we certainly made up in quantity and condition as mostly everything we took out of there was grade 1. Never did find another A-1 OI, which we talked about finding before we went in there, so I gave Brad my old shelf can since he didn't have one at all. Brad made a nice gesture ,upon leaving, he bought one of the art lady's paintings for his wife (killing 2 birds with one stone!). We thanked her profusely and left. We spent 3 hours cleaning all the cans and very few needed an acid bath. We split the booty there and now Brad could be home in time for dinner.
So we have the original Brad to thank for calling me when he did, a day later and we would never have easy access into the building. Amazing that he had saved the article for 4 years and knew where it was to find my phone number. Also most Wednesday nights, I shoot pool and am not home, it was a fluke I was home that evening. So timing was everything with this caper.
Brad and I got talking afterwards and believe that this was probably trash left in the crawlspace when the building was first erected. It's our belief that there are other cans in the crawlspaces of the 2 other businesses in the building as well. We are pursuing a strategy to convince the current owners to let in do a crawl in theirs (maybe that's where more A-1s and the Drewrys ale cans are??!!) Stay tuned for part 2??????
Until next time
Good Luck Dumping
Dan Scoglietti and Brad Flinders