Old Friends, New cans, New Friends, Old cans
It’s been a busy summer for me. Not only did I make the trips described below but also made a run to the Sizzle and Sweat show in Little Rock, a 24 hour round trip road trip. Then later this month, it’s off to dig Apaches with Robert Haskett and then the A-1 chapter 30th anniversary show.
A couple of weeks before the Roadrunner chapter show in Albuquerque at the end of May, I drove up to Denver to see John Smoller. I was on my way to Fort Collins for the Rush to the Rockies show. It was the first time in 3 years that I’ve been there and long overdue. It’s more of a breweriana show than a can show but its one of the bigger shows in the west. The thing is though, if you are a can guy, there’s not a whole lot of competition for the cans that are there. I saw tons of quality breweriana. Besides all the cool beer items, they make sure that there’s plenty of beer and plenty to eat. I did pass though on the trip to go eat some Rocky Mountain oysters! While room to rooming, John came across a friend of his that had 5 or 6 totes full of flat tops. This guy was not a can guy. A friend of his had to leave town in a hurry and asked if he could store the cans in his attic. Sure, no problem, well that was 15 years ago and he never heard from the guy since. So every once in a while he pulls some totes down out of the attic and sells them. Most cans were around $5-10 each. Knowing John likes set cans, He goes, "Hey John, I got some set cans for you", he gets about 10 grade 1 Rainier Jubs, all for $10! Then John finds a decent example of a Storz Farmer can in there also for $5. I see John transporting these cans to his room. "I ask him where did you get those?", he says," follow me" and we go back to his buddy’s room. I found about a dozen cans I needed including the tough Grand Prize USBC 74-17. It has the slogan "Light Bright, Just Right" (similar to the Glacier from Pacific). Every time I tried to bid on it on Ebay, I’d get sniped. This is another aspect of why shows are so fun, you can just "BUY IT NOW! Another can I got was a nice Blue Sebewaing, not a real tough can but really cool graphics in grade 1 and again for $5. There was also an indoor Sternewirth Beer King in there as well for $10! Another Rusty Buncher at the show who I met for the first time was Steve Thompson. He has some really nice Walters ale cans, the best ones I’ve ever seen. He had some that were cleaned with oxylic acid and some that were cleaned with citric acid. The ones clean with citric were very brittle as it had eaten away at the inside of the cans as well. Another case for using oxylic acid. I picked up a Walters ale can from Steve and evened up with him when he came down to our Roadrunner chapter show.
In June, Brad Flinders from Taos, New Mexico had located a few places that were prime to find some old cans. Scott Zeibell and I drove up there from Albuquerque and Brad had some places all lined up and ready to go. Scott is a newbie and was dying to go digging again. He was a collector in the early to mid 70s and had just since started up again. I tell Scott to be at my place at 6:00 am sharp. Well now its like 6:45 and I’m wondering where the hell he is. A car shows up in my driveway and its Scott’s wife driving. I was expecting Scott to drive that day in his new Ford pick-up. It seems Scott had company over the night before and really pounded down the beers. She pulled over and dumped Scott out on the curb and was gone. He had a serious hang-over. It was surprising he even made it at all. But I’m sure he isn’t the first to start off a dump trip still sloshed from the night before! Its still a 2 hour drive to where we are supposed to hook up with Brad and Scott is not looking very well at all. We meet Brad about 3o miles south of Taos and plan to dump our way into town. For those of you not familiar with Taos, New Mexico it is a high mountain resort area in the northern part of the state. Famous for its ski area where 80% of the runs are expert trails. The surrounding area is awesome to look at. It has an old town plaza/tourist trap area as well. High profile jet set celebrities have discovered it and been moving in driving up all the land prices. It’s always been a great place to find older beer cans. Rusty Bunchers Scott Rollert and Mike Murphy used to drive down from Colorado Springs a couple times a summer just to dump there. He said lets take the back road into town. I never knew there was a back way into Taos, so off we go. First stop was an old dirt road with trash down both sides of it. Man, people are such pigs! We found a few cans but nothing to take home. It was here that Scott looked really pale and really feeling the effects from the night before. We drove down a little ways but decided to head for greener pastures. Next stop was a place Brad had found while horseback riding. It contained a bunch of early Budweiser and Pabst instructional cans and the first Coors cans. The cans didn’t hold up too well, but we boxed a bunch of them hoping they would clean up some. It was still fun to dig cans from the 30’s. We then tried to find the remains of the infamous Cream Top dump. We were in the right area and may have walked right over it as a great deal of time has past since it was first found…almost 20 years ago! Brad had got directions of the dump from Scott Rollert. The foundation that Scott had described was there but no remains or even a scrap of a Cream Top could be seen. We only found a 60s-70s dump so we moved on. Brad took us to numerous dumps sites around the town of Taos. One dump produced some very rare Colt 45 zips from Oklahoma City. We took those and a bunch of cool soda bottles as well, the sodas weren’t too old but they were so clean we had to take them. Brad really liked a Dippity Doo bottle we found. Next we headed North down the old highway. Brad had a former co-worker that lived out in the hills and told Brad there were old rusty cans all over their property. We had a difficult time trying to find the right spot for his cell phone to work so he could contact his buddy to let him know we were in the area. We then pulled into a small town along the highway. One of the first sites we see is a killer old tavern. We are all thinking, man, it’ld be nice to look around in there. As it turns out, across the highway was the property of Brad’s friend. As we proceeded down his driveway, we could see cone tops littered all over the place. It was about at this time Scott finally starting to feel human again and the hangover was wearing off. Cone tops will do that for ya! After talking to Brad’s friend, he said have a go at it and get all the cans you want. There were trash piles all over the place, mostly piles of rusted beer cans. The cones were Country Clubs and Meulebachs (was I back in Missouri?), and even some KB’s ,the flats tops were Pabst, Buds, Schlitz from the fifties with a sprinkling of Glueks Stite 8 ouncers, Jet Malt Liquor 16oz, Tivolis , Walters , Acmes, and even some Brewers Best. Man, if we could have only found this place about 15 years ago. I even picked up a Bud Zip from Los Angeles, not anything special but a new can for the shelf. This was very similar to the same type of stuff that was in the famous Pecos dump. We still took home about 3 or 4 dozens cans from the 1000s that were there. As it turned out, the tavern across the street belong to the grandfather of Brads friend. He took us over there and introduced us. He was a World War 2 vet and had some cool stories. He said that there was a room under his old house that they used as a secret bar during prohibition but at that time it was un-accessiable to us. He did give us permission to go in the tavern and look around but informed us, it was now a workshop and storage area. He was right, it was full of junk, but no beer stuff anywhere. We even looked in the attic and his friend stated he’s never been up there. After securing a ladder, it was soon found to be clean as a whistle. After that we loaded up and made plans for a return trip later this summer to go further down the highway. We knew this is a good area to find old cans and we have to get back soon. None of the cans were IRTP so there had to be an older dumping ground around there somewhere.
If it wasn’t for Ebay, I probally would have not met Brad Flinders as soon as I did. He is a BCCA member so chances are I would have met him sooner or later. When I first went over to his place, he lived on the back side of the mountain and only about 30 minutes away. He now lives 2 and 1/2 hours north in Taos. Scott Ziebell ,I certainly would have not met since he isn’t a BCCA member although he does live in Albuquerque. We all met from Ebay. Scott (foxhead400cans) was buying cans from Brad (1930s-cans) and I noticed that Brad was from New Mexico and the rest is history. Its good to get out with some new buds wheather we find the mother lode or not…
Happy Dumping Dan Scoglietti