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If variety truly is the spice of life, then the clever folks collecting advertising tins have it all figured out.

Because when more is merrier and one is never enough, there's colorful tin waiting around every corner.

No, the life of a tin collector doesn't revolve around advertising slogans and the associated cliches.

A couple of other age indicators to keep in mind when examining tins are the original price stickers that may still be in place and addresses printed on the tins.

In general, prices rose as time passed, even though the decoration on a tin may not have changed much over the years.

Address changes can indicate a company growing larger or smaller.

While there are a number of really good reference books available on advertising tins, most collectors deciding to concentrate solely on older tins eventually gravitate to copies of David Zimmerman's to find a wealth of information on the topic.

These books are now out of print, but are worth the effort to locate via used book sellers.

When examining a tin, if it has raised printing Zimmerman notes this technique was commonly used from 1895 to 1900.Paying attention to the type of lithography makes sense as well.The coloring method used on packaging in the 1890s usually consisted of black and one other color, while four-color lithography wasn't used on tins until around 1930.And, perhaps most interestingly, in 1906 the Food and Drug Administration eliminated the often-entertaining claims of cures and remedies used on packaging.Those miracle cure statements making outrageous claims about products marketed for medicinal purposes are known as "quackery" today.Many collectors of quack medical devices also purchase advertising tins that complement their collections.

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