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The Dumper's Guide to Rareness

One of the most common questions about a can is "how rare is it?"  Numerous ranking systems have been proposed over the years.  This one seems to have been pretty popular and I thought the definitions were so useful that I decided to create a page on Rustycans as a reference.

The Dumper's Guide to Rareness was first proposed by Fred Wolpe in May, 1986, he originally proposed a 1-5 rating scale, one for the most common and 5 for the most rare.  Bob Selleck was the first to propose a 1-10 rating system which was eventually adopted.  Here is the resulting system starting with a "1" (the most common) and working up to a "10" (the rarest.)  These are adapted from a series of articles in Rustlings written by Phil Stayman, conetop collector extraordinaire!

> Virtually worthless below grade 2; really clean grade ones may make for decent throw-ins in trades with novices or overseas collectors.  Other than that, don't take up your garage space with too many of these. (Bob Selleck)

> Virtually worthless in any condition except to a specialist collector.  Usually you would not think to trade one nor would you put one in a box you were mailing unless it is requested (or you are on good terms with your trading partner).  You generally would not keep them as traders nor would you pick one up if found in a dump except for your own collection. (Fred Wolpe)

> Not worth pulling out of a dump unless grade 2 or better. Usually plentiful in indoor condition such that off-grades are often sneered at.  We all have a case or more of these types but not the heart enough to toss them out as they may still be occasionally traded or simply sentimental favorites. (Bob Selleck)

> Plentiful in indoor condition and off-grades not tradable.  Usually will not pick up in a dump in off-grade.  Most everyone has one in the collection.  (Fred Wolpe)

> The borderline category: good enough to keep pulling out of dumps but slow movers locally, often the  backbone of potluck trades as they're just decent enough not to be an embarrassment in mailing. (Bob Selleck)

> Will pick up these in a dump if they are clean.  Almost everyone has one in their collection but you dump them with the possibility that you might be able to upgrade a collector out of area.  Only a novice will trade for them.  You will not pick them up if they are less than a grade 2-. (Fred Wolpe)

>  A can an active trader may have to keep replenishing from the local 'supply' dump from time to time. No big deal, but usually a well received throw-in for non-local trades, and even may still be traded off locally.  (Bob Selleck)

>  A can that occasionally would trade away from your area but it is not likely to trade in your home area. It is a can that you find with quite a bit of regularity while dumping in your area. You may run out of these occasionally but it can be replenished. It is still a can that is more of a 'filler' than a trader.  (Fred Wolpe)

>  A can an active dumper may come across from time to time and welcomed like an old friend. Often traded locally and usually requested from trade lists. (Bob Selleck)

> A can that might be traded locally to a newer collector. Advanced collectors might take it as a trader but not in quantity. Most advanced collectors have it in their collections. It is occasionally requested from trade lists. It can be a filler but is generally not. You may have a good number for trade.  (Fred Wolpe)

> Another 'borderline' category; may include cans you needed until finally finding some and will be a bit fussy about what you trade the extras for. (Bob Selleck)

> A can that is not needed by most advanced collectors but is needed by many medium collectors. You still hesitate to pick up this can if  it is less than condition 3 after cleaning. You will not use this can as a filler and will keep them until requested. It is the beginning of a group of cans that you prefer to trade can for can. On a prolonged dumping trip you are reasonably sure that you will find a few of them and are disappointed if you do not.  (Fred Wolpe)

> The start of the 'tough can' categories, tradable anywhere even though a few other collectors may have also found some. May include cans that are often found but always in bad condition. (Bob Selleck)

> Usually tradable in your home area by all but to the advanced collectors and even then they will trade for it so as to have an extra. Occasionally this can is welcomed in condition four... just to have one.  Welcomed on a dumping trip but usually found in poor condition.   (Fred Wolpe)

> Most collectors' prize find falls into this category; a can that may have previously rated a 9 or 10 until yourself or someone else turned a few up; rarely seen and always tradable.  (Bob Selleck)

> Rarely if ever seen at trade shows but an advanced collector might have one. You know of a few people that have this can but certainly not many outside your home area. It is a can that if you find one it is often one of the best cans in your collection if not the best. Usually most collectors do not have a can more rare than this can.  (Fred Wolpe)

> Never found one (at least not in any remotely decent grade). A can that has rarely been seen or heard of in years at trade shows. (Bob Selleck)

> Most collectors in your area do not have this can. It is never seen in trade shows. It is the top of your most wanted list but you never think you will ever get one. You know of only one or two people at the most that have one. There may only be 10 to 20 of them in existence in the entire U.S.  (Fred Wolpe)

> The Holy Grail(s); we've all had strange dreams about finding these, so what more can be said? Be careful about going overboard in rating cans in this category. If you think you have a '10', be sure no one else has ever found it and you have less than a six-pack in any grade, which should still actually drop it to a '9'.  (Bob Selleck)

> You do not have it in your collection. If you are an advanced collector, you might know of someone that does have it in their collection. It is probably a can that you have never heard of except by rumor. It is probably not shown in any book unless it is the only one known. There might be two or three in the U.S. There might only be 8-10 cans in the U.S. that deserve a 10. (Fred Wolpe)

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