For example, Olympia cans show a copyright date from well before Prohibition.

This does not mean that the can is from that year (a mistake I've seen on e Bay) but only that the label design was copyrighted then. If you see a can with "Copyright 1946" on it, then you know it does not date earlier than that.

While there are a number of really good reference books available on advertising tins, most collectors deciding to concentrate solely on older tins eventually gravitate to copies of David Zimmerman's to find a wealth of information on the topic.

These books are now out of print, but are worth the effort to locate via used book sellers.

Dating tins isn't difficult to do, though it may involve some of your time.

This process can turn out to be both fun and personally rewarding.

At some time, tin collectors want to know something about the history behind their tins or more often, how old they are.

Most of the time, the tin will not have a date marked anywhere on it, and that's where some detective work on your part is required.

Wouldnt it be great if early beer cans had a born on date like so many cans do today?

Unfortunately, they dont, so you have to look for other hints.

The coloring method used on packaging in the 1890s usually consisted of black and one other color, while four-color lithography wasn't used on tins until around 1930.

And, perhaps most interestingly, in 1906 the Food and Drug Administration eliminated the often-entertaining claims of cures and remedies used on packaging.

No, the life of a tin collector doesn't revolve around advertising slogans and the associated cliches.