Empty Beer Can Sells For Us$10,999.99 On Ebay

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Big ol' beer can turns into keg of cash
By Chuck Martin
Enquirer staff writer

You never know what you might have in the basement.

Ask Jay Loewer of Dayton, who just sold an old, oversized, empty beer can on the Internet auction site, eBay, for $10,999.99.

"The amazing thing is, I knew about it (the can) all my life," says Loewer. "I passed it in the basement at least once a week."

A few months ago, Loewer took the Burger Beer can, circa 1935 - mustard yellow with a cartoonish camel asking "Are you thirsty?" - to a Dayton sports bar. Friends there told him he might have a collector's item. Next, he discovered an identical can sold for nearly $16,000 on eBay last year.

So Loewer hired AuctionReach, a West Chester Township company that specializes in eBay auctions, to sell the can for him. The winning bid - from a Maysville, Ky., collector who prefers to remain anonymous - came in one minute before the auction ended 7 p.m. Monday.

Although Loewer never dreamed anyone would pay that much for it, he knew his beer can was special. His grandfather, Elmer Miltenberger, patented the Heekin/Burger "Can-O-Draft" in 1934 for Cincinnati-based Burger Brewery, which has since closed. Holding just under 2 gallons, the Burger can was supposedly the first disposable beer keg.

Miltenberger used the money from the patent to put Loewer's mother through college. Loewer says he'll use his sales proceeds to pay for his son's high school tuition.

So what else is in the Loewer basement?

"We're going to start looking," he says.

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