Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jeff Lebo (and this is my wife Lauri…she’s the taller, better looking one on the left). I have been a collector of beer cans since 1975, at the age of thirteen. I initially got into beer can collecting because some of my friends in the neighborhood were doing it. Like a lot of kids back then, we used to ride our bikes around looking for cans along the roads near my home in rural Pennsylvania. The goal back then was always to see how many different cans you could get in your collection. While many collectors quickly ran out of space and decided to scale back and specialize, I have always been driven by trying to answer the question “How many different cans ARE there in the world?.” So, I decided to keep trying to answer that question. I have many happy memories from those days, trading cans with the kids in the neighborhood and looking for dumps in the woods. Occasionally finding rusty, buried treasure in the form of old cone tops and flat tops, which were like finding the Holy Grail back then. My father also worked as a production mechanic for the American Can Company in Lemoyne, PA. I remember going to a family open house one day at the factory when I was about five years old and being fascinated with all the cans. My parents were always supportive of my goofy hobby and dad would often bring home cans for me.
Around 1978 I learned about the Beer Can Collectors of America (BCCA, now called the Brewery Collectibles Club of America). Joining the BCCA really opened up a whole new world to me. In those days I did a lot of trading by mail with other kids from as far away as Sweden, Australia and Japan. I think that these experiences jump-started my curiosity for geography and travel, which continue to this day. When I was in college in 1984 I had an opportunity to study in England for six months. At that time England was producing hundreds of different cans for small regional breweries and I tried to find as many as I could get my hands on. Re-invigorated in the hobby, I ended up sending about a thousand cans back home to Pennsylvania. For years, my collection consisted mainly of cans. But over time, I began to add other related breweriana and other advertising items. My collection now consists of the following types of things:
Beer Cans; both US and international. Flat tops, cone tops, quarts, zips and tabs. Craft cans. All sizes. All countries.
Soda Cans; cone tops, quarts, pre-zip code flat tops, zip tops and tab tops and post zipcode flat tops. All countries.
(With the cans I try to collect grade 1 or better unless it's something really rare that I can't afford in good shape.)
Pre-prohibition and IRTP beer labels
Vintage international beer labels
Vintage Ball knobs
Vintage Tin-over-cardboard signs
Vintage button signs
Vintage Cab lights
Vintage lighted beer signs
Vintage box signs, beer and non-beer
Vintage Porcelain signs
Vintage ROG Reverse-on-Glass signs
Vintage international breweriana
Pre-prohibition and vintage beer trays, both US and international
Vintage Chalk statues and back bar breweriana
Select vintage beer bottles
Cork lined bottle caps (crowns); beer and soda, US and international
Select vintage cardboard beer and non-beer advertising
Vintage trays and tip trays
Vintage key-wind coffee cans
Vintage snack tins and candy tins
Any vintage package, sign or advertising with a creepy-looking clown on it. Ever watch a Fellini film?
Other weird stuff like vintage cans of beef and pork brains, vintage condom tins and anything that strikes my fancy.
All these years later, I am still a member of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America (BCCA), where I served on the national board of directors in 2001 and 2002. I am also a member of the American Breweriana Association (ABA), National Association of Brewery Advertising (NABA) National Pop Can Collectors (NPCC), Crown Collectors Society International (CCSI), Rusty Bunch Chapter BCCA, Keystone Chapter BCCA and One Can One Country (OC/OC) Chapter BCCA. I am the co-chairman of the Spring Thaw Brewery Collectibles Show, which takes place every year near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Spring Thaw has grown into one of the largest regional shows in the country, attracting beer can and breweriana collectors from more than thirty-five states, Canada and a number of other countries.
One of the things that I value most in the breweriana hobby is meeting other collectors and making new friends from around the world. I have found that there are good people wherever you go in the world. Having a shared hobby gives people some common ground so that they can get along, despite any religious, philosophical, ideological, political, cultural or economic differences they may have. I have been fortunate in getting to know hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of good people from all walks of life because of this hobby. These are people that I never would have had the opportunity to meet, had I not decided to start collecting those silly cans all those years ago. I feel it is a real blessing to have all these good people in my life. I have visited fellow collectors and have purchased collections all over the United States and Canada, as well as in England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and New Zealand. I am always happy to welcome other collector friends to see my collection also. We have had guests from as far away as Italy, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden and South Africa.
If you are a beer can or breweriana collector I would highly recommend joining the Brewery Collectibles Club of America. Local chapters are located all over the US and throughout the world. It is a brotherhood and sisterhood of people united in the love and passion for collecting beer cans and breweriana. It is a very friendly and welcoming group of people. I consider many BCCA members to be some of my best friends in the world, and my life is much richer for having joined the BCCA.
Over the many years, as I continued to collect, my collection kept growing and growing until I didn’t have any place to display it all. As any collector can tell you, collecting is much more enjoyable when you have a place where you can see it, rather than being hidden away in a closet, attic or garage. It was always a dream of mine to have a place to be able to display the entire collection. Finally, in 1998, with the help of my dad, I was able to design and build a special house to display the entire collection. It took two years to build, but it was a very gratifying experience. I call the place Brewhouse Mountain. On display are over 99,000 beer cans, soda cans and every type of breweriana, antiques and vintage advertising that you can imagine. It is now the largest collection of beer cans in the world. The house and collection have been featured in many magazines and television shows, including Playboy Magazine, The Travel Channel, The History Channel, the Home and Garden Channel as well as many others. In 2014 we opened Brewhouse Mountain to guests on Airbnb and HomeAway.
Also in 2014, we had an opportunity to buy a beautiful ocean view property in Uvita, Costa Rica. I sold a portion of my collection to finance the purchase of the property, as well as to finance the construction of a boutique tourist resort which we call PurUvita. PurUvita has taken more than five years to design and build, but I'm pleased to say it is finally finished and open for business. Like the construction of Brewhouse Mountain, this project was very challenging but has been a labor of love and a very rewarding experience. We also rent PurUvita on Airbnb. It is perfect for large families or groups, having fourteen bedrooms in total. You can rent one bedroom, several bedrooms or the entire place for your group. The area is a nature lover’s paradise and has eleven of the most beautiful, tropical beaches that you could ever imagine. Many tours and activities are available nearby, such as waterfall tours, surfing, fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving, whale watching, tours of Corcovado, Marino Ballena, Carara and Manuel Antonio National Parks, hiking, ziplining, birding, atv tours, golfing, world class fine dining, even two nearby craft breweries... Whale Tail Brewing Company and Fuego Brewing Company! So now my wife and I split our time between Pennsylvania and Costa Rica. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like more information on coming down. More information is available on our website at http://puruvita.com.
I feel that my foray into beer can and breweriana auctions was a perfect fit. I am able to draw on more than forty-five years of knowledge, practical experience and contacts in the collecting community, as well as to use my degrees in business and graphic design to help to promote and market our clients' collections of vintage beer cans, soda cans and breweriana. After all this time I still have a passion for this great hobby and I expect that I always will. I can honestly say that I truly love what I do. I always try to bring a positive attitude and my passion for the hobby to the table and to put myself in the place of the client, whether they be a seller, consigner, bidder or buyer. I have been buying and selling beer cans, soda cans and breweriana on eBay since 1998 and am proud to say that I have a 100% feedback rating, with more than 2,400 unique client transactions.
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch any time. I would love to hear from you.
CanSmart Beer Cans & Breweriana
350 Roxberry Road, York Haven, Pennsylvania 17370, United States
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