Henry Senyak is a retired communications and electrical contractor and lifelong resident of Cleveland. He served as past President and Board officer with the Tremont West Development Corporation, and continues his community engagement in the Tremont and Near West Side neighborhoods. He is currently Chairperson of Lincoln Heights Block Club. He’s also an avid beer can collector.
Bruce: When did you start collecting beer cans?
Henry: I started collecting when I was 10 years old. My dad and uncles would get me beer cans when we went on road trips. We’d check the dumpsters at rest areas for empty beer cans. I stopped collecting when I turned 18 and went back to collecting in1996. I bought an inventory of beer cans from a dealer in Fairlawn who lived in a small little bungalow house with his wife. She wanted him to sell his entire inventory. He owned a business called B&B Sales, one of the biggest beer can selling outfits in the country back in the 70’s and 80’s. I ran into him at the Hartville Flea Market. I started to buy his inventory in 1998 then he passed away a year later. It took me about forty-five trips with my van to go to Fairlawn and bring his inventory back to Cleveland. I’ve sold a lot of it since then on eBay in early 2000. I supplement my personal collection by buying and trading with other collectors across the country.
Bruce: How many cans were in his inventory?
Henry: Over 50,000 beer cans. I paid about $2,600. A lot of people might say, ‘you got a bunch of junk here’ which collectors might agree with but everybody has junk. If they only knew that I sold and traded some from his inventory to build my personal collection, they’d understand. My personal collection is now more than 45,000 cans and I still have about 40,000 duplicates from his inventory available to trade.Continue reading