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March 2009

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Collecting and caring for antique containers
Photographs By: 
Christopher Brown

Inspired to seek out some colorful tins of your own? First, get the scoop on collecting and caring for vintage and antique containers


Inspired to seek out some colorful tins of your own? First, get the scoop on collecting and caring for vintage and antique containersLook high and low:  • Flea markets and antique malls may yield pieces ranging from 50 cents to $14; however, collectible tins like our oyster bucket can cost as much as $70 or $80. If you’re serious about collecting, hit antiques stores in search of these more valuable wares. • Keep your eyes peeled at yard sales, where you’ll find the lowest prices—often, people don’t know how coveted their pieces are. Become an expert:  • Learn to tell the real from the reproduction. Old tins are often made of a heavier-gauge metal than their contemporary counterparts and will also not be as brightly colored. The inks used in earlier eras were not the super-bright versions of today, and aging generally causes further fading. • Study up. To learn more about collecting vintage tins, check out Advertising Tins: A Collector's Guide by Robert Opie. If you’re interested in contemporary tins, try Modern Collectible Tins: Identification & Values by Linda McPherson. Handle with care: • Preserve the colors of vintage and antique tins by storing them out of direct sunlight. • Never clean a tin with an abrasive cleaner and use soap only when absolutely necessary. It’s best to clean with a soft, lint-free cloth moistened with fresh water. After washing, wait 24 hours before putting a cover back onto a tin, as any moisture trapped inside can cause the container to rust.




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