Shopping Collectibles: Vintage Oyster Cans

 Who knew?
Definitely not me....
 On one of my usual daily diversions, 
to take my mind off the things that are making me a complete nut job....
I go "cyber antiquing"
It's fun to search out an interesting item 
or an idea that might be the new hottest collectable.
 Cyber-shopping is fun because you don't need to buy anything 
you can just window shop...
from the chair in your office 
or kitchen!

I know!

 There are so many unique and one of a kind things that might be wacky or different and can be found in unlikely spots all over the United States...
using the internet.
 I typically look for things that no one seems to be collecting...or at least that is what I thought in this case...but was I ever wrong!

Oyster tins....yes sir.... they are so collectible!
Prices seem to start around $20 dollars for a pint sized tin, that can be readily found, to over $1000 for a rare gallon sized tin in excellent condition.

What is appealing about these is the variety of colors and wonderful graphics.

Intact lids add to the value.  
The bucket above was listed for $1250!
Bail handels also seem to fetch a higher price
I hate to even say this I hear "Pottery Barn Catalog"?
These would work in so many different settings...a seaside cottage or a cabin maybe?

Lots of red white and blue...very American

These must have been packed for use by restaurants 
because who could use a gallon of raw oysters....?

What is even more interesting is how many different brands there are....
there is probably not an oyster left on the east coast!

I bought a few of these little pint sized cans from a really fun shop called 

The green one above,
when I last checked it on Ebay
had 7 bids and was up around $250...
who knew these were so collectable?! 

The big gallon sized beauties would look so beautiful filled with fresh flowers 
or some herbs in the kitchen
I should probably buy this one and use it as a bank to put money in
 I can start an oyster can collection!

What would you do with these?
Are you a collector?

Love to hear your ideas....



Thank you for all of the advice on floor staining....
it was a big help and I think we found our color!

  1. I see a bunch of new lamps in your future!

  2. Ooh!!! I love them all!!! I love anything vintage:):)

  3. I will take one of each! Absolutely wonderful and exactly the thing I would like for my newly remodeled kitchen. Thanks Kelley! Love your ideas!

  4. I love oyster tins and am constantly on the lookout for them, but they are so expensive for the really nice ones! Several of the ones you posted came from oyster packing houses just a stone's throw from where I live! I even went to school with the Lore family who owned the packing plant on Solomons Island! I was in my yard today and stumbled on some oyster is part of our heritage!

    Kat :)

  5. Isn't it amazing how something that was so utilitarian can be so beautiful, especially over time? Thanks for sharing...I had no idea!

    ciao from Newport Beach

  6. I can see why people collect these...they're so unique! The artwork is wonderful as are the colors...who knew??! They scream summer...I say go for it!
    xo J~

  7. Every Christmas Eve my father would come in with a big bucket of easy find considering we lived in the mountains of PA. My Aunt and cousins would come up the hill and we would have oysters with drawn butter and oyster stew. Sure wish I had some of those old buckets now! What a fun post. I distinctly remember the Superior Brand and I think we also had Vernons. Love this- xo Diana

  8. These are amazing, and I am so torn: I would love to see them as posters, but once something is in 'Pottery Barn', I don't want it!

  9. Who knew! I am from Baltimore so I have eaten my fair share of oysters.....Don't think I have ever seen then in the one gallon containers, but I assume that size was for restaurants. Sure wish I had saved some cans....although if I had then I would probably be on that TV show Hoarders!

  10. Yet one more way for me to waste time. Thanks! I usually look for things I know about. I am grateful for the idea, and also the nod to three potato four. Ann

  11. Hi Kelly, In our beach house I had several of the old oyster tins displayed in the kitchen. We lived near Apalachicola, Fl which is famous for their oysters. I saw many of the tins I would have loved to own but the prices are outrageous.

  12. Love your blog, love the tins but I finally have to comment because of the stain.

    I spent 6 months trying to find a "driftwood" color for the deck. I thought about mixing my own but chickened out. Finally got close though.

  13. Cute cans! I used to collect tea tins which were also fun and interesting. I am now on a simplicity kick. I haven't even hung my family pics back up yet. Just one or two paintings I love. I DO however, have a wonderful recipe for oyster dressing. If you like oyster cans, you may like oysters and if you like oysters, you would love this recipe. Let me know if you want the recipe. We make it every Christmas.

  14. Wow - what a unique and comprehensive collection. Love seeing all the old graphics!

  15. I gotta say it...WHO KNEW!
    pretty interesting and charming--being here in New England I wonder if Clams were ever canned in the same way?hmmmm

  16. I love this post on oyster cans. Never knew such a thing existed. I love all things oyster... must now start to check these on ebay, etc. I am new to the blogging world and will try to link your post to my blog. As I've just done a post on sea themed decor and oyster love! Hope I do this correctly... let me know if I goof! Shari@

  17. do you actually own all of these cans in the pictures? I am on the hunt for the warren denton (yellow can) and also the original denton & rogers (white can with "calvert" brand) my grandfather and his brother opened, owned and ran the oyster house in Broomes Island, MD. wish me luck in my quest to find some family heritage memorabilia.

  18. I am desparately trying to find a May River Oyster Can, have you come across any in your collecting. I would love to find one of these.

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