I grabbed these two at the flea market this weekend, as I have a few Ballantine's Ale cans in the past, largely because in my mind they are forever connected to Jasper John's painted bronze sculpture of them, which makes them too feel rather like art objects to me. I had not realized though that these two particular cans are early and quite rare ones-- part of a series of cans with different backs, which Ballantine used from 1938 to 1941.
The can at left, dated 1939, advertises the Ballantine Inn restaurant, which was erected and operated as part of the 1939-1940 New York Worlds Fair. I haven't been able to determine whether these were only distributed at the fair or part of a larger release, but know they are quite scarce and highly collectible, with sales prices I've found sold prices for these ranging from about $115-$200.
The can at right is called the "Handy" can, and was part of a new advertising campaign launched in 1938. (Since 1879 Ballantine had used a three ring logo, with the rings labeled purity, strength, and flavor respectively. According to legend, the logo was created when the owner saw three moisture rings left ton the bar by his beer glass in a tavern. The three-ring logo was so successful that it was instantly recognizable throughout the eastern United States where Ballantine was sold. In 1935 Ballantine used an advertising campaign explaining how the 3 ring logo originated. This campaign was followed by a series of ads playing on the 3 rings image, including this "Handy" campaign in which a circle was formed with the thumb and forefinger and the other three fingers were held upright to indicate that there were three rings.) Sold prices for this one are similar to the other.
Both cans are in very good condition. The World's Fair can shows more surface spotting, and there is one small dent to the Handy Can. Both were opened from the top, and are numbered on the undersides. Each measures 4 3/4" x 2 3/4" in diameter.
PRICE IS PER CAN. PLEASE INDICATE IN NOTES AT CHECK OUT WHICH YOU WOULD LIKE OR ADD 2 TO YOUR CART FOR BOTH.