Perone Beer

Perone Beer quart cone top beer can, $51,500 (£40,685) at Morean Auctions.

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A world auction record was set for a vintage beer can with the $51,500 (£40,685) final bid for a Perone Beer quart cone top can at Morean Auctions.

Described as the only known example, the can jumped from a $25 start to $37,000 during the auction in Massachusetts on February 25 and kept heading skyward (to reach $62,830 including buyer’s premium).

Perone was a brand of Otto Erlanger Brewing Co of Philadelphia, and the can dated to the 1940s, when the cone top format was dominant.

Auctioneer Dan Morean described it as “a Grail can for many a quart and Pennsylvania collector”.

History of beer

In the long history of beer, the can is a relative newcomer. The first canned beer came with the end of Prohibition in the US – the shiny new light-weight packaging used by Krueger’s in Richmond, Virgina, to market a pasteurised beverage from January 1935.

British ales were more problematic. Reacting with tin in a cold climate, the result was a metallic taste. It was not until the Felinfoel Brewery in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, came up with the idea of coating the inside of the cans with an inert wax that the taste challenge was met.

As demonstrated by a sale held by Peter Francis in Carmarthen, Wales, in October 2018, Felinfoel cans are valuable collectors’ items. Despite obvious condition issues, a group of three early examples sold at £1300 (plus 24% buyer’s premium). The buyer was the Felinfoel Brewery itself, keen to add them to its museum.