Chester Brewery: (Dec/2011) Located at 2400 West 2nd St. Chester, PA and opened in 1898. After Repeal, notwithstanding its small size, the brewery was notable for having colorful and graphically well-designed labels for its Chester Pilsner "The Beer That Makes Friends" and Silver Dime brands in cans. Will Anderson found in 1949, the brewery's sales were split 47% draught, 49% bottled, and 4% canned. The brewery went out of business around 1954 - another of the c175 breweries that stopped operating during a seven year interval after 1948, when the domestic brewing industry was sharply contracting.
----- The Chester Pilsner quart and the 12oz Chester J spout next to it were in a Pottstown, PA collection, which were kept full until 1972 when the cans were bottom opened. The other 12oz J spout was obtained by Dick Caughey in the 1980's from a Philadelphia "find". The quart size is the rarest Chester can with the 12oz sizes being fairly scarce in on-grade condition, but have been dumped occasionally, including at least one example of the quart. The Chester Brewery photo was taken by Ernie Oest (BCCA #108) shortly before the brewery closed, on one of the driving vacations he took with his wife collecting cans and taking pictures of breweries. Among Ernie's many experiences from his time collecting cans, in 1973 he related to Bob Myers that when visiting the Chester Brewery, he picked up a case of the Chester crowntainers but due to their car being crowded at the time, mailed the cans back home. However that box never arrived and was one of two boxes he mailed over his collecting career that were lost by the Post Office - the other being a box with a group of Pacific Brewing cans bought on a later trip to Oakland.
----- Silver Dime Beer: Currently only seven Silver Dime J spouts are known and were located in two "finds":
--- a 1978 "find" of six cans. Based upon information from several persons who have had the cans, Tom Cibula and a second collector were visiting a bar in the "Polish" area of Chester, PA (the West End, or near/to the NW, of the brewery). They were told "some beer cans are in the basement", which turned out to be six Silver Dime J spouts. The basement was damp and "J spout" specialist Marc Tracy has described these cans as "leakers" due to their missing varying amounts of the silver/red lines going around the labels. A couple of the cans are "1-ish" but most are lower grades. Don Fink, a long time Pennsylvania collector, first saw these six cans during a Schmidt's Chapter meeting at the Schmidt's Brewery. From the late 1970's-90's, Silver Dime J spouts were held by several active cone collectors such as Dick Caughey who temporarily had at least one of the cans, getting it at a Downingtown Show shortly after the cans were found; along with Dave Peck, Jeff Smith, Chet Bartol, Bob McCoy, and John Holmes. Starting around 2001, a number of these Silver Dime J spouts began being sold on EBay. The Silver Dime example pictured above, has been described by the "second" collector who made the original "find", as the second best condition Silver Dime found.
---In late 2007, a 7th Silver Dime can became known to collectors and was bought by Dan Baker and John Kretschmer, along with other cans, from a plumber who many years earlier had been working at a Chester housing project, opening up bathroom walls to replace pipes. During that work, the plumber had kept the beer cans found in the walls - 1 Silver Dime; 6 Wolf cones; 4 Kaier's J spouts, plus a number of lesser cones; and a group of flat top cans from Neuweiler's and Scheidt breweries.
---A possible Silver Dime crowntainer?:
Bill Christensen, former BCCA #33 who ran his family's coin dealing business after his father died in the 1980's, told several collectors he had a can that connected with his interest in coins - a Silver Dime crowntainer. However, apparently few (if any) collectors actually have seen the can or a picture.
(As a footnote on Bill, per BCCA publications, he started collecting when a teenager in 1954; was active for many years in the BCCA organization; and his beer can collection had been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of Bill's beer cans reportedly are pictured at the website beercanman.com under "other neat stuff", but as the pictures were not directly from Bill Christensen, no ownership name is given. Among the rarer cans shown are Apache; Pilser's Bock; many Krueger and Krueger's cans, which were Bill's specialty; plus dozens of little-seen English cones. Bill gained many of these English cones in the 1970's from Richard Dolphin who lived in Somerset, England and was an active beer can dealer/publisher of beer can books during the 1970'a and early 1980's.
Since the early 1990's, Bill had told visiting collectors that his collection was in storage and he only kept a few cans to show at his home in Madison, New Jersey. Bill died 10/3/08, after having had cancer for a number years. Several beer can collectors who had known Bill since the 1970's had been staying in touch, but during the years of his illness, said Bill hadn't commented much on the beer can subject. (One of these collectors also had several dinners at Bill's mother's home in Madison where one of the dining highlights was being offered caviar.) Then when Bill died, to the great surprise of these collectors, Bill's family members said that they didn't know what happened to most of Bill's beer cans, including all the rarer ones, as only some lower-end cans had been found.
The conclusion of several collectors who had known Bill many years, is that apparently Bill may have stopped paying storage fees around 2002-3, losing interest in his beer can collection as he began living with a serious illness. However, unfortunately Bill didn't tell other collectors, or apparently, any of his family members who could have covered the storage costs. As a contrast, Bill's large collection of toy soldiers, mostly inherited from his grandfather, was publicly sold.
The end result as of December, 2011: over 3 years after Bill died, uncertainty continues among most collectors regarding what happened to Bill's major beer can collection. Were his cans in storage lost due to non-payment of rent? - then were salvaged by someone who hasn't announced publicly acquiring the collection? or was the can collection discarded to a dump? )
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