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The Collectors: Vintage Advertising Tins

Mar 18, 2011

by rikrak handmade and vintage goods


The famous Campbell’s Soup can. That distinct bottle of Chanel No. 5. Both are examples of iconic packaging design. Indeed, one of the key elements of marketing our handmade products to the world is how we choose to house or package our goodies. As any sales guru will tell us, great packaging helps to forward our brand.

So imagine when the design of a package is sustainable, desirable and collectable enough to outlast the product and the demand for the product itself! Gosh — that’s great design!

Here’s a peek at just such a collection.


Who are you?
My name is Gabriele. My shops are Emmarts and Fluur.

What are you collecting?
Tins of all kinds.


When did you start?
One day, there were suddenly a bunch of tins! I kept them and the rest is history.

How many do you have?
About 50.

Where do you find them?
They find me!

Where do you keep them?
In a glass covered upper drawer.


What’s an interesting story behind one?
I once dropped the tiny round licorice tin. It started speeding down a sloping street. Other people tried to help me, but the tin was faster. It even performed quite the aerial feat by jumping over a gully hole! That chase ended in someone’s front yard.

What piece would you like to add?
Any single tin that “talks to me.”

Why do you love them?
Because of the attributes: sturdy, safe, open, welcoming, the texture, and the sounds they make depending on the contents.


Which one is your favourite and why?
The Hansaplast tin — it still holds the spirit of my mother-in-law.

What else do you collect?
Ceramics without frills, matches, shopping lists, and found shopping carts that have stalled.


Thanks so much, Gabriele.

Emmarts/Fluur demonstrates the invaluable merit of great design through her own artwork. Her beautiful shops are filled with her creative works of fine art, housewares, fashions and more, as she’s masterfully built her own two brands. Take a peek!

What do you collect? What makes a great collection? Please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear!

I’m Kristal Davis (a.k.a. rikrak) and I just love seeing what folks are collecting. I feel it tells us a little bit about what inspires them. The Collectors series, first published on my own little blog is 11 and a half quick questions with a wonderful artist on what they’re collecting — apart from their art supplies!

The Collectors Series | Vintage Tins on Etsy


  • JAdamsDesigns

    JAdamsDesigns said 9 years ago

    Very cool. I love tins too!

  • ThePolkadotMagpie

    ThePolkadotMagpie said 9 years ago

    This is wonderful. I admit I am a tin-a-holic too. Such beautiful art on everyday items. Congrats!

  • ekra

    ekra said 9 years ago

    What a great collection of tins! Thanks for sharing with us and I hope many more tins that speak to you find you!

  • VoulezVousVintage

    VoulezVousVintage said 9 years ago

    Lovely article! Your collection is fantastic, I am trying to guess their country of origin. I spot many German and French words!

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections said 9 years ago

    So fascinating to see these vintage candy tins and how the wording on the packaging was different back then, mmm.. fresh churned butter on almond rocas!

  • jodyvanB

    jodyvanB said 9 years ago

    The illustrations, the typography and a well patinated place to hold treasures. Who doesn't love an old tin ? Thanks for sharing! Cheers, Jody

  • sewingturtle

    sewingturtle said 9 years ago

    What a wonderful collection!! I have a few but not as many as you. I think it is great to have a collection or two or three........ Have a wonderful day and Have FUN!! Myra

  • Earleyimages

    Earleyimages said 9 years ago

    These are great....

  • CraftyFixation

    CraftyFixation said 9 years ago

    Vintage tins are so beautiful. It's one of my favorite things to do to go into a peddler's mall and look at all the neat designs on vintage tins.

  • rebourne

    rebourne said 9 years ago

    i love the sound of the hinges and the metal closing on itself. i remember hiding all kinds of treasures in little tins when i was in grade school, and keeping them in my wooden desk. i would exchange little trinkets with friends via our tins. great feature and beautiful collection!

  • SoliDeoGloriaSDG

    SoliDeoGloriaSDG said 9 years ago

    I adore tins and boxes ... the treasure they used to hold captivates my heart!

  • TheJoyofColor

    TheJoyofColor said 9 years ago

    Love tin boxes too ,they show us how design changed allong the way , and yes i'm nostagic I don't collect now as i moove to requently but i used to collect tissue napkins as a kid At that time the beautiful ones were rare but now you can find anything for any taste every ware, But i'm still sorry that i lost the box i kept them in

  • NangijalaJewelry

    NangijalaJewelry said 9 years ago

    Awesome! I used to collect boxes and containers of all kinds. Tins are my favorite :-) Great article!

  • dahlilafound

    dahlilafound said 9 years ago

    Oh, I love tins too. I remember the orange drops. My great aunt always had those. I love the tin with rain drops on it. :-) Lovely collection! dahlila xo

  • treasureagain

    treasureagain said 9 years ago

    Oh's hard NOT to collect when you save everything! Love JARS, tins, chickens, and 50's red and white kitchen items. So many more. Wonderful article. Thank you for sharing it!

  • CashmereJewels

    CashmereJewels said 9 years ago

    very interesting! when i was growing up in Europe everyone collected stamps and coins, i collected postcards from all over the world...later i traveled to those countries myself and started collecting vintage jewelry:)

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 said 9 years ago

    Very nice collection! I love vintage anything!

  • blueroompottery

    blueroompottery said 9 years ago

    Oooh! I love collecting them and have some nice ones. I also use them to store my stamp collections that are waiting to be put in an album someday...someday! Great article!! Yes, I think many of us are find it hard to resist getting them when we see them at a yard sale, in an antique store...or on ETSY!

  • HulaGirl1922

    HulaGirl1922 said 9 years ago

    luv it!! sweet indeed....and what fun! as for a child I would collect advertising pens and pencils..some companies did try to make a unique impression with their freebie pens and pencils ~ and of course they were FREE! I have most of mine stored in an couple of old cigar boxes and well...they still make me smile when I peek at them ... :D thx for a happy read ♥ best wishes

  • CajunCreation

    CajunCreation said 9 years ago

    What a great article. Reminds me of my grandmothers closet. She collected tins too!

  • FluffyFlowers

    FluffyFlowers said 9 years ago

    recycling at it's best :)

  • KMalinka

    KMalinka said 9 years ago

    Superb items! Great article! Good luck:O)

  • tripperdungan

    tripperdungan said 9 years ago

    There was a different design sensibility back in the day. I really enjoy seeing things so small and single purposed be kept treasured and repurposed.

  • CrystalsKloset

    CrystalsKloset said 9 years ago

    When I was a kid, I had this tin with people on it from around the world, I loved that tin, but don't know what happened to it. Tins are really useful, and very pretty!

  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace said 9 years ago

    great article These tins always remind me of my grandmother. She was a seamstress and would keep most of her sewing supplies stored away in them. I still pick them up at thrift shops in memory of her

  • KathyGDesigns

    KathyGDesigns said 9 years ago

    What a charming interview! I collect tins too. I know what mean when you say they find you!

  • pajamasnpaintbrushes

    pajamasnpaintbrushes said 9 years ago

    I also have a penchant for vintage tins :) I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing, Gabriele :)

  • ParisianDreams

    ParisianDreams said 9 years ago

    Fantastic collection of vintage tins! :)

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 9 years ago

    So many of us collect tins and started sort of accidentally. Mine certainly started with that round de la Vosgienne candy tins my mother kept her straight pins in!

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 9 years ago

    oh i love old tins.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 9 years ago

    Tins are so interesting! They have beautiful graphic art! Great article!

  • TipsyTimeMachine

    TipsyTimeMachine said 9 years ago

    It's hard to resist a pretty tin with great graphics! Tin Trays are also fun and we collect globes as well.

  • HibouCards

    HibouCards said 9 years ago

    that's cool! I have a few that I got from my mom and grandma back in France and I love them. We typically use them to keep buttons in in our family and I do that too now :) I'm always drawn to them when I go to a flea market whether in France or here i the US. Great article, thanks for sharing!

  • crazybutcute

    crazybutcute said 9 years ago

    I love them too! I have a treasured curry powder tin I'll never let go of.

  • vKnit

    vKnit said 9 years ago

    gorgeous tins! :)

  • NaturalPetProducts

    NaturalPetProducts said 9 years ago

    Love old tins and have a collection myself (that I can't let go of). TY for sharing.

  • ancienesthetique

    ancienesthetique said 9 years ago

    i like collecting old buttons... which i will use on a project one day! i like vintage espresso cups too. especially to put chocolate dessert in!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage said 9 years ago

    Cool! What a fun collection. And beautiful in its own way.

  • Expeliamarus

    Expeliamarus said 9 years ago

    why i collect tins too! i really like your collection! i also collect red lucky money envelopes - they sure last a lot longer than the money that came in them.

  • Thiacyn

    Thiacyn said 9 years ago

    I too collect tins! The smaller the better, at last count I have over 350 tins. My favorite has grafics both inside and out. The outside is of a tree, the sides are of the trunk, and the lid is the branches and leaves. The inside is the inside of the tree, and all the little critters and bugs that live there. Thanks for sharing.

  • CathodeBlue

    CathodeBlue said 9 years ago

    Love that Weinbrandtropfen tin! Thanks so much for featuring ours! :)

  • rakshniyavintage

    rakshniyavintage said 9 years ago

    what an amazing collection! Tins are always great - pretty and useful :)

  • themefragrance

    themefragrance said 9 years ago

    Another excellent interview by Rikrak! Love tins- collect em too- nice to see others!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 9 years ago

    great collection I love tin and glass so tired of plastic!

  • SatinandBirch

    SatinandBirch said 9 years ago

    oh how can you not love these little gems, thank you for the article!

  • mcldrygoods

    mcldrygoods said 9 years ago

    this brings back wonderful memories. love them. :)

  • papercutworks

    papercutworks said 9 years ago

    I collect cookie fortunes - keep them in a small tin box in my studio (you can see them on the first photo here: but only the ones I opened myself. My collection is now close to 40 thanks to a favorite Vietnamese restaurant around the corner from my house :-) I most enjoy the really cryptic ones - I might soon sift through them all to keep the favorites & build from there again.

  • collecteddust

    collecteddust said 9 years ago

    I enjoy tins also....especially old coffee or tea tins. This sentence of yours interests me ~ "Where do you keep them? In a glass covered upper drawer" Do you not display them?......okay, I have to ask..........the spirit of your Mother-In-Law? ;-).

  • oppning

    oppning said 9 years ago

    hi! nice collection! i've got some here! enjoy ! :)

  • LaTouchables

    LaTouchables said 9 years ago

    I enjoyed your wit shining through, Gabriele, in this wonderful interview!

  • bellacruz

    bellacruz said 9 years ago

    it makes sense to collect tins---they are useful! Who can complain about a collection that is being put to good use storing all the other things you collect?

  • OverAndOverAgain

    OverAndOverAgain said 9 years ago

    i love old tea tins. i also love old tobacco tins, i have two pocket tobacco tins in my shop right now, and other smaller tins.

  • OverAndOverAgain

    OverAndOverAgain said 9 years ago

    i love old tea tins. i also love old tobacco tins, i have two pocket tobacco tins in my shop right now, and other smaller tins.

  • BitsofthePast

    BitsofthePast said 9 years ago

    Your interview was fun reading. It reminds me of why I love vintage. The detail, beauty, story behind the piece, and the story of how you find the piece. Thank you for sharing.

  • collectiblesatoz

    collectiblesatoz said 9 years ago

    Love old tins and matter of fact just sold several of my treasured tins this week on my etsy site. I also have that distinct bottle of Chanel No. 5 along with the double boxes on my site if anyone is interested. Will soon be adding more tins. Thanks for this lovely write up and please visit my site.

  • collectiblesatoz

    collectiblesatoz said 9 years ago

    Old tins, old bottles.....vintage anything. Love it all.

  • ilovehearts

    ilovehearts said 9 years ago

    I really love tins and boxes to put all my cute things in x

  • frommylifetoyours

    frommylifetoyours said 9 years ago

    What a neat collection .

  • thepinkswan

    thepinkswan said 9 years ago

    Wow! I LOVE this! Makes me want to pack my kids lunches in these! (if I had kids ;)

  • notchiemama

    notchiemama said 9 years ago

    Something about vintage just makes me feel warm and safe. Strange, I know, but true...

  • funkeyfinds

    funkeyfinds said 9 years ago

    I love this post so much, I want to start collecting these too!

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 9 years ago

    Love the old tins and anything vintage and antique. So much character :)

  • vintagenelly

    vintagenelly said 9 years ago

    I love reading about what people collect. Great article - makes me want to go to a flea market!!! It it's vintage, I love it! Thanks for sharing!

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink said 9 years ago

    Tins have and will always be the best stable sellers to all ages at all times no matter how colorful or rustic it is. I love tins the smaller the better I have some that are the size of my thump with lids too :)

  • WishByFelicity

    WishByFelicity said 9 years ago

    so beautiful! now I want to to start collecting them too!

  • shop1848

    shop1848 said 9 years ago

    So much old world charm! So much detail in such a small package! I love these little tins.

  • LoriAndTheLittleBird

    LoriAndTheLittleBird said 9 years ago

    These tins are beautiful! I would love to gift my jewelry in them, it is a great idea for packaging, especially if you are giving a gift! I love the bright colors and textures, they do show as works of art. I may be picking up a new collection... I am addicted and love collecting Vintage Jewelry!!! I also have collected Sailor Moon Items since I was a kid! Thanks for sharing:)

  • artworksbycarol

    artworksbycarol said 9 years ago

    My husband collects tins also, how do you all display them without them being dust collectors?

  • ChrissiesRibbons

    ChrissiesRibbons said 9 years ago

    We had a beautiful vintage biscuit tin as a child which was completely filled with buttons. I remember the 'plink' it made as you opened it and the cold but wonderful sensation I felt as I slipped my hand into that pool of buttons. I wish I knew where it was now! Am completely envious about this collection... love it!

  • fiveforty

    fiveforty said 9 years ago

    Fabulous collection!!

  • carpebellus

    carpebellus said 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for this great collection! Tins are such wonderful pieces of history with which to decorate. So vibrant and fun!

  • WarrioressRising

    WarrioressRising said 9 years ago

    Love this, I worked in the graphic arts industry for over 23 years in the printing trade, I never buy bootleg CD's or DVD's because they don't have the original packaging. MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn) sent me their famous Ethno Instrument, soft synth soft ware, upgrade in a plan brown box!!? Not with the beautiful new graphics depicted on their site when I ordered it. I had to call them and ask why, Oh! they said, I was among thousands complaining, and that the new packaging was for those purchasing the complete program and not the upgrade, WHAT!! I had to stop myself from purchasing again just to get that beautiful box, but I was comforted to know that I was not alone in my upset. I have to much respect, as an artist my self, for the artist and graphic designer that worked their eight to twelve hour day meeting deadlines to produce a winner for the company and the client. The graphics don't have to be perfect as it is a growing process to stay in tune with the times in our art, but original is a must.

  • GraceWarrenDesigns

    GraceWarrenDesigns said 9 years ago

    Wow! Such great finds! I am SO EXCITED to be included with such cute vintage styles. Thanks!

  • bnazar

    bnazar said 9 years ago

    So cool! What a great collection you have Gabriele. Fabulous interview Kristal! Thanks for sending it my way. Recently I've started a collection wall of small prints, art, cards etc. Among my collection is this OOAK beauty from Emmarts:)

  • creationsbyks

    creationsbyks said 9 years ago

    such an interesting collection! Beautiful history, thanks for sharing :)

  • lulusnest

    lulusnest said 9 years ago

    Great ideas here! I love me some cute tins but just can't ever figure out what to do with them after they finish their intended use. Thanks for sharing all of these great shops.

  • Chicki

    Chicki said 9 years ago

    Such an interesting collection! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Stuffbysteph77

    Stuffbysteph77 said 9 years ago

    A great article, thanks so much to you both for sharing! I have a collection of Gabriele's art proudly displayed above my bed and have given several gifts of her art that are always well received I also have a collection of awesome ceramic houses, 4-leaf clovers and swiped pens :)

  • KritterKnitter

    KritterKnitter said 9 years ago

    Fabulous article and amazing collection of tins!

  • SailThouForth

    SailThouForth said 9 years ago

    I love old herb and spice tins. I started buying Watkins spices a few years ago when they showed up in my grocery store because I loved the tins and their designs! Packaging can definitely sell products.

  • JasmineLund

    JasmineLund said 9 years ago


  • ikabags

    ikabags said 9 years ago

    Great collection! Vintage is life :)

  • Meganhead

    Meganhead said 9 years ago

    I loved reading this! I admit that it is always hard to throw out a tin once the original contents are gone. I keep all tins I have and use them either for boxes for future gift-giving or for unique storage for myself. The vintage/vintage-looking ones are too pretty to toss.

  • elanknits

    elanknits said 9 years ago

    I have a few vintage tins myself & especially treasure the Christmas ones.

  • forrestinavintage

    forrestinavintage said 9 years ago

    Yay for vintage, very nice post. :)

  • trinityrocks

    trinityrocks said 9 years ago


  • OllieBollen

    OllieBollen said 9 years ago

    Oohh I likey the tins too!!! :)

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 9 years ago

    Beautiful tines!

  • thebeachhousegallery

    thebeachhousegallery said 9 years ago

    How fun! I would love to share with you my "torched" tins, Altoids, & salves that I created family heirlooms art pieces. I have so many Band Aide tins, too. But $12.00? Go for it! Enjoy the ride, Inez Dunn

  • VintageSurplus

    VintageSurplus said 9 years ago

    Fabulous! Love these old treasure keepers! Thanks for the great article.

  • kristimcmurry

    kristimcmurry said 9 years ago

    Lovely! Tins are so much fun. I always enjoy looking at them in antique stores and such.

  • corrnucopia

    corrnucopia said 9 years ago

    Wonderful! I love hunting for old tins, they are so lovely!

  • corrnucopia

    corrnucopia said 9 years ago

    Wonderful! I love hunting for old tins, they are so lovely!

  • Ulixis

    Ulixis said 9 years ago

    lovely collection!

  • Mosslove

    Mosslove said 9 years ago

    What a great collection. I collected cigarette tins for years. I use them for absolutely everything from storing sewing supplies to coffee beans. Cheers!

  • TinsAndThings

    TinsAndThings said 9 years ago

    A post about tins -- awesome! :) I really have to put more of mine in my shop soon.

  • allsewnup

    allsewnup said 9 years ago

    love this! I collect vintage wooden spools. Most of mine are from silk threads, they seem to have the nicest labels/print ends. some still have thread too.

  • HisBlessings

    HisBlessings said 9 years ago

    Great tins, I have some you would love. I collect salt and pepper (over 200) music boxes (over 40), cookie jars, silhouettes, buttons, beads and many other things. Maybe I am not healthy?

  • poorjimsvintage

    poorjimsvintage said 9 years ago

    I have so many tins like that I just haven't added them. Maybe that is what I will do tomorrow.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 9 years ago

    So cute. Love them.

  • HoneysuckleLane

    HoneysuckleLane said 9 years ago

    Great collection and fun series by rikrak! :)

  • HipODesign

    HipODesign said 9 years ago

    I enjoyed looking at your tins. I have several myself, and they are all over the house. I recently found some metal Band Aid tins and I laughed because I hadn't noticed when they stopped making those. I have a few now just for fun. They are great for holding safety pins! Thanks!

  • BethProverbs31

    Beth B said 8 years ago

    I have a vintage Welch's The National Drink Magazine tin and can't seem to find the value online. Does anyone know where I could find that info???

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