When breweries started to make flat top steel beer cans in the mid-twentieth century, the industry had not yet developed pull tabs to open them. We are all familiar with the solution to this problem today, but at that time it was not obvious to consumers. How to open these newfangled cans?
Many cans from that era featured opening instructions printed on the side of the can, much like the vintage Manhattan beer can pictured at right. It show the proper use of a Canco double ended bottle and can opener, with one end designed to pierce a flat top can and the other designed to remove the cap from a beer bottle or cone top beer can.
These instructional antique beer cans are highly sought after by collectors today, selling for an average price of around $140 in the past few months on eBay, with a sell-through rate of nearly 60%. That is almost triple the average price for vintage flat top beer cans, with double the average sell-through rate for that category of can.