Since the invention of the beer bottle there have been beer openers, and antique bottle openers are a prize collectible in many collectors across the US and around the world. One of the world’s biggest collections of beer bottle openers is held by John Stanley of North Carolina. Stanley also runs a club called Just For Openers, which has over 250 members worldwide.
Bottle openers were first introduced in 1894, when they put the first caps on bottles. The first bottle opener was patented by William Painter of Baltimore Maryland. There are over 3000 different kinds of openers possible.
Kinds of bottle openers:
There are a variety of popular kinds of bottle openers available, but perhaps the most popular collectible beer bottle opener is the flat figural. This opener was made from 1919 to 1920 and so is associated with Prohibition. Although these were not used only for beer, these bottle openers had a distinct design – flat, as the name implies – molded into a figure (also implied), with a cut edge that allowed you to open a bottle with it. These would often have a hole in the top where they could be attached to a key chain.
Another popular type of opener is the Swiss army knife type, which may be simplified into an opener with a corskscrew attached with perhaps a cutting edge of some sort. You can still find many openers where there is a square hole, used to turn on the old gas carbide switch used in headlights.
Find collectible bottle openers now:
|Beer classifieds on eBay|
Rheingold Beer Flat Stainless Steel Bottle Opene New York
$4.75 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 2m
Open Here Cast Iron Wall Mount Bottle Opener
Time Remaining: 2d 15h 10m
Buy It Now for only: $3.75
Vintage Enamel Ornate Bottle Opener
$5.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2h 15m
Possibly the most popular company producing bottle openers was Vaughn, in Chicago, Illinois. They made many different styles of openers that create unique vintage and collectible properties for the beer bottle opener collector. Many of the early manufacturers would stamp their name and a serial number on the opener. Originally, there were about 20 to 30 companies in the United States engaged in the manufacture of beer bottle openers.
Anheuser Busch is likely the brewery that is most popular among beer bottle opener collectibles as they made a wide variety of openers, allowing people to create a unique collection all based around one brand.
Beer bottle openers are closely associated with corkscrews which are also highly collectible. While an opener collection can begin with some very cheap bottle openers, there are many rare and collectible vintage bottle openers that can run in to hundreds – even thousands - of dollars. Cast iron, brass, nickel and silver openers are among the most durable and collectible openers and thus the most popular.
Today eBay and sites like beerclassfieds.com are the main source for people finding beer bottle opener collectibles.
You can learn more about John Stanley’s bottle openers club at Just for Openers.