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A Conversation with Dr. David Maxwell on Beer Cans

Updated: Jul 22

November 1st 2019

At eleven years old, David collected his first beer can.


David Maxwell is a lecturer in archaeology here at Simon Fraser University. When he isn’t teaching Mesoamerican and South American archaeology, he’s part of a community of individuals who collect rare and interesting beer cans. He’s not quite sure why he started collecting them.

“I really have no idea why… I think because they were shiny?” He says, chuckling a bit. “Actually, all my friends started doing it around the same time. It was a big fad back in the 70s for a couple of years [before] it disappeared, like most fads do.”


At his peak, David had more than 4500 cans in his collection. A far cry, he mentions, from the biggest collection of record, that houses more than 80,000 beer cans. While the hobby, he admits, is dying, there are still a few thousand individuals that still sell, buy, barter and trade these rare and interesting collectables.

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