HELLO MR CREAM TOP !                                   Ed Scoglietti


I had only been in Albuquerque for less than 24 hours and was all ready going to an established 30s dump! The plan was to hit Colonel Brad’s dump on the way back from the Denver Canvention but we got off to such a late start, we decided to go to Dan’s house, get a good night sleep and hit the dump on Sunday, where we would have all day to dig. Canvention was fun but nothing beats digging in a good 30s dump. Dan & Brad haven’t been back to the dump since that first day. We had a long 4-5 drive to get there. I couldn’t wait to go to the dump! We got to the dump around noon. Dan and Brad had really done a number on it. Their discard pile was huge – hundreds of PBR Exports and gold Buds. They had dug a shelf into the hillside about 30 feet long. Finding cans was much harder than I thought. I started in at one end and found a 1948 white/blue Meister Brau Beer flat top and a few mystery crowntainers. Dan said that the crowntainers were either Southern Selects or Eblings. It wasn’t long before Dan found an ABC Beer opening instructional (OI) flat top and a couple silver/gold Acme Ales. After an hour or so, I hadn’t found much so I grabbed my Gold Bug and started detecting the hillside where nobody had dug.

I got a real good signal and started digging. Out came Pabst Blue Ribbon Export OIs by the handfuls. I told Dan if these were anything else, they’d be killer. Condition was awesome! Finally a brand change…..an Acme Englishtown Ale IRTP from Los Angeles (the wood grain/keg can) – in nice shape too. I had just bought an indoor one at Denver but will keep the best dumper for my Dumped-It-Myself collection. Then a St Louis ABC Beer OI! Another a couple more Acme Ales. These beat the hell out of finding Steingirls! Dan comes over and starts digging next to me. More ABCs and wood grain Acmes. The keepers are really piling up.

Next, under a tire, I see a green can. It’s a CREAM TOP! First one I have found in 21 years. Who ever said these are "common"??? We are having a blast and then the thunderclouds roll in. Lightning is cracking all over the place and the thunder is very loud. We start to see lightning strikes near-by and we are in a dump full of metal. We had to leave even though there were still veins of cans to be dug.

I was able to go back to the dump another 3 or 4 times in a period of about 8 weeks. Each time, I would find at least one more Cream Top. Out of the hundreds of cans we dug out of the dump, we took home only 12 Cream Tops total. We stuck a fork in the dump after an afternoon of digging it with Brad, Dan, Mike Murphy & Scott Rollert from Colorado, Wyley Robinson from El Paso and myself. A big THANK YOU to Brad Flinders for allowing Dan & I to dig his dump. The "Buddy Rule" applied, so the times when Brad wasn’t digging with us, he still got an equal split.

Well, a couple weeks go by and I email an old digging buddy that I used to dig with in the 1980s in New Mexico: "Dancin’ Don Bruce!" Don emailed back and said he would be happy to go digging again. Our first trip was more recon but I did bring home a can for Dan’s shelf: a Budweiser "All Aluminum Can" flat top from Los Angeles. It was a weird can for me because every time I found this label, it was always a tab. We also found a few Canadian Ace Beer flat tops. We scouted a little more and went home. Don didn’t have a metal detector anymore but we found him a White’s 4900 for $100 on ebay. A perfect detector for scatter-dumping and pits. Since Don is retired, he went back out to the same area a few days later and did some digging. He brought home about a dozen cans including a couple Budweiser OIs. We talked again and made plans to go digging on the weekend – back to the Bud OI spot! But the weather report was that it was going to snow over Thanksgiving weekend. We had to go sooner. I had a half-day on Wednesday so that was the day.

This area was loaded with cans. Must have been an old dumping ground for a few nearby cabins (foundations). Don had found about 30-40 cans his previous outing, but only took home a dozen. First can I find is a red A-1 Beer FT. Don gets a strong signal and starts digging. He uncovers a white Falstaff FT from El Paso. Don is back into cans again and needs everything. I find a real nice Nehi Strawberry Soda FT. Don gets another signal and he says he has a can with "ELK" in the name. I could see the can was copper color from where I was at and I’m thinking, "Holy Cow – he dug a Black Eagle!" Don flips the can over to me and it’s a Manhattan Beer OI. The "ELK" he read was really the "EER" in Beer at the bottom of the can. Great! We have 30s cans. Time to go into mine-sweeper mode and cover every inch. The signals are about a foot or so apart and up to 2 feet down.

Next I find a 50s Coors, a black Miller and then I find a Manhattan! I get another signal and…BASH! I hit a can with my shovel. Oh crap – I just creamed a Cream Top! But not so bad. I am overwhelmed with excitement! I am sad but happy at the same time. I get another signal about a foot away, but this time I am more careful. Out pops another Cream Top and this one is beautiful! Plus – it’s a different variation than the ones from Brad & Dan’s dump – this is the Manhattan variation while the others were the Whitewater-only variants. We work the area for a little while longer and find about a 6 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon Export Beer OIs. It’s getting dark and we have a couple hour drive to get back. Two Cream Tops in a couple of hours digging – not bad at all! We made plans to come back before the winter storms come and bury this place. It had to be soon and the plan was for me to take a half day off work on Thursday and go back. Snow was to arrive by that Friday.

Thursday finally comes and I meet Don at his house. This time, he drives. I felt pretty lucky to dig a couple of Cream Tops that there’s no way I’ll find more, but I should be able to find something else. We had both thought about this spot all week and formulated our own plans of attack, which were quite similar as we discuss the dump on the way there! First thing to do was to re-work the Manhattan/Cream Top spots. This area has lots of vegetation growing about. Basically we are working a hillside full of sticker bushes and thickets. The easy detectable spots have been done. Now it was time to start detecting in the hard spots. You can not swing the detector in the thickets. All you can do is stick the coil between the stalks of the bushes and small trees and hope for a signal. Then when you do get a "hit" (this is what we call a signal), you bushwhack your way to the spot and start digging. I found several Pabst Exports this way – scattered about 5 feet apart.

We were finding a few soda cans like Grape Nehi and a few early 50s cans like one-sided Coors and brown Falstaff flats. I get a good hit right up against a tree and start digging. It wasn’t long before I seen that familiar green paint…a Cream Top! The can is 2 feet down, pinned against the tree by 2 or 3 other roots. One root is against the top of the can, preventing me from pulling it out. I had to work the mud away from all surfaces of the can with my fingers. After about 15 minutes, I finally work the can free, but 68 years of hydraulic pressure was not kind to Mr. Cream Top. The can was crumbly on the face and fells to pieces. But it gave me hope to keep searching. It was time for lunch. We sat down and just relaxed for about 20 minutes or so. This is important to give yourself a rest and re-energize. I fired up the Gold Bug, walked 3 feet from where we just ate and got a good hit. A pretty nice red Lancer’s A-1 Beer flat top turns up. Beautiful!

I moved over about 100 feet to far end of the dump. I never checked here before. Got a good hit and started digging. Maybe 2 or 3 shovels later and out pops a can, but not before I tapped it with my shovel. Just a scratch but this was another Cream Top! All the cans are covered in mud and rust so you can never tell how well they will clean. I found a few more Pabsts and it was getting dark, so it was time to pack up and leave. Brought home another case of cans and we had a blast. Two more Cream Tops! Unbelievable! Couldn’t wait to go back but we would have to wait. It snowed the whole weekend.

A warm weather storm front from Mexico blew in and instead of snow, we got rain. This was good because it melted the snow and allowed us to get back into the "Honey-Hole" one more time. Were back at the spot and this time I change the direction was walk as detect. Now I am going 90 degrees across my old patterns and I am finding more cans out of an area that I thought was worked out. We find a couple more white Falstaffs, a striped Grand Prize Beer flat, a few more Coors. I found another Manhattan! Don is about 100 yards away and he finds a Manhattan. I find another one! And a few more 30s PBR Exports. Changing my search pattern has produced a bunch more cans. I also am running the Gold Bug deeper this time too. It’s not too long before I have another Cream Top! Looks just like the rest but I hit this one with the shovel again. Good thing I have a "Bramlette Bender"! You just can’t see what you digging or where exactly it is until it’s too late. Then I find Cream Top #6 ! Every time we come here, I find 2 Cream Tops.

After about an hour or so, things are slowing down. I decided it’s time to go back into the thickets. There a down tree covering a spot I never detected. I work the coil between all
the branches and I get another hit! I have to crawl in and hack away the dead branches just to start digging. This one is deep. It’s a Cone Top! It’s an ABC Beer from San Diego! With the Permit # even! This is the oldest can we have found here so far. We search this area and more for the next hour. We left for home with another case of cans for 3 hours work.

Our spot is now snowed under and it will be while before we can go back. It may sound easy for us to find cans but we are exhausted when we get back home. We also have had 3 outings (in other areas) where we brought little or no cans home. Research and hard work is the key to finding good cans. It is so fun just being outdoors. Sharing the excitement of finds with your buddies is the best. Another surprise about digging this spot is when I went to Don’s house to check out the cans he cleaned and put up on his shelf. He had a few gold Budweiser OIs and one of them looked a little funny…more of a metallic gold. Upon closer inspection, it an "Open Star" variation! Holy Cow! There’s cans out there, just begging to be found, cleaned up and put up on your shelves to be treasured, and just waiting for someone to dig them up! You’ll never know where your next score is lurking unless you Get Out and Dig!

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