The first time I ever picked up a coaster with the intention of "collecting" the little bits of absorbant cardboard was at the shopping mall booth of Herb and Elaine Ashendorf back in 1977 or 78. They were set up with all sorts of beer items, and there, for $3.00 was a 4", orange, "In Jersey, It's Hensler" coaster. I had a brother who had a really good beer collection at this time and I found it a bit ironic that a 1940's Hensler beer can in "dug" condition was worth big bucks while here was a mint condition Hensler beer coaster from the same era, for only $3.00.

So, this unrecognized value in older coasters at a time when many were chasing after better beer cans was my initial reason for seeing what kind of a collection I could start without any budget.

I spent 2 years accumulating as many coasters as I could through buying and trading with everyone that I could find. By 1980, my collection had grown to around 1,300 different coasters. I was coming home from my job and spending many hours a week at a typewriter as I literally typed out the descriptions for over 1,100 different coasters. I photograhed the coasters from my collection and typed everything that I knew about coaster collecting.

I somehow convinced my younger brother to loan me $4,000 for the printer. The printing company did a print run of 1,000 copies. I can remember packing 5 huge cardboard boxes into my small car as I left the printer's office with my entire print order. My wife wasn't so thrilled with these cartons stacked in one giant column in the corner of the living room.

Thanks to articles in Beer Cans Monthly Magazine and other fine beer can and breweriana publications of the time, "The U.S. Beer Coaster Guide" sold briskly to collectors around the world. The new owners of the guide book came together as each discovered the diversity of coasters available to collect. I formed the "National Association of Beer Coaster Collectors" and every member was able to keep current with new coaster finds, and contact and deal with each other as fellow coaster collectors.

The internet followed in the next few years and other collectors wrote regional guides of local coasters. Soon, micro breweries started making a whole new sub-catagory of coasters and the hobby really grew rapidly. The rest is history!

Tom Byrne - 3/29/2010

Coaster of the Month
I thought it would be fun for you Old Timers to remember some of the past and for you Youngsters to learn what it was like in the days before the computers, the internet, eBay and iPhones. This section will show the coaster related items from years ago, either associated with the hobby or anything else related to coasters. The idea came from Paul Brady who sent me a great price list by Absorbo Beer Pad Company circa 1935. Contact me if you have anything else that would go into this section and describe why it should.
Absorbo Beer Pad Company price list for the William Gretz Brewing Company. Couple of interesting things, check out the prices AND the number of coasters they would print. Where did they all end up? Also look at the 'coaster' in the upper left corner, any ever one see that one? Could be nothing or a test coaster or a hidden gem in someones attic. Click on the picture for a full size version

Submitted by
Paul Brady
The U.S. Beer Coaster Guide Volume 1 by Thomas Byrne Copyright, 1980.

This is the "Bible" for coaster collecting, most of the sections and information on this site are taken from this book plus there is a whole lot more. Over 1100 coasters are pictured in this book with brewery information and dates. A great reference guide that set the standards for all the guides since then (Paper and Internet).

It's old, out-dated but the coaster related material is excellent and still applicable. Copies show up now and then at breweriana shows and eBay. If you can find one, buy it, well worth the price.

Thanks to Doug Henne, you can view or download the U.S. Beer Coaster Guide right here

and thanks to Dean Reedy for the 1981-1982 Price List thats goes with the guide
Chicago Brewery Coasters by Robert (Bob) Kay & Paul Zagielski, Copyright 1982

The first coaster guide dedicated to a particular region, the same catalog codes are used today on this site.

The Chicago Coaster Guide came in three editions with the latest done in 1995. Little known is the fact that Bob Kay did all the brewery history and Paul did all the collecting of the coaster examples for coaster illustrations. There were a few coasters shown that copies were sent to Paul with no owners identity.
United States Micro/Brewpub Coaster Guide VOL. 1 Alabama - Louisiana by Jack McDougall and Steve Pawlowski, Copyright 1994

The first guide dedicated to Micro Coasters, this volumne is over an inch thick without page #'s to make updates easier. It was a massive undertaking by Jack and Steve. Imagine trying to keep this current (on paper) at the rate that new micro coasters are issued. These books were personally autographed by Steve and Jack.

Coasters of New England Vol. 1 Connecticut by George Barone, Copyright (well not really) 1996.

OK so it is not nostalgic, nor very old but it was the first one I did. A grand total of 7 or 8 pages. Xerox copies of coasters were cut-out, glue to the paper then copied again. The library made a lot of money off of these guides.
Coaster of the Month!
Coaster Nostalgia
Remember the days before the Internet, Micros, eBay?
If you were collecting back in the 'old days' you probably remember these publications by Tom Byrne. If you don't, it is still interesting reading on Coaster Collecting in the 80's. The first micro's such as Red Hook and Anchor, prices and how they might or might not have changed, The NABCC (National Association of Beer Coaster Collectors) and names of some of the collectors that are still going strong after all these years. Thanks to Doug Henne for the all the scanning of the documents

"Wow! A blast from the past! I'm thrilled that you have these and want to post them for anyone to see and enjoy what it was like "at the beginning." I had a lot of fun doing that newsletter and the correspondence from the many early enthusiasts who were eager for coasters and information about what was new was never ending! As it was all done BEFORE computers and BEFORE the internet, it was basically a typed report with some "press type" and some "stats" and photocopies that I reduced down on the copier at the library all glued to a "master" and then duplicated on a high speed copier at a local print shop. Fun stuff! Glad to see it again!"

Tom Byrne 10/2013
Beer Coaster Newsletter 1981 & 1982

NABCC 1982-83 Membership Directory
Right click on the links to download the PDF to your computer or click the link to view it now
August 1981 & May-Dec 1982
February - December 1983
Sept & November 1982, Sept 1983
January - July 1984
March & April 1985
Sept & October 1986
July & August 1986
Jan & Feb 1986
Sept & October 1985
July & August 1985
May & June 1986
March & April 1986
November & December 1985
November & December 1986
May & June 1985
Volume 2
Summer 1988 Vol 4
Various 1985 1986 & 1988
Volume 1
Volume 3 - Spring 1988
Various Articles & Publications related to Beer Coasters
• Beer Advocate - "NO SWEAT the construction of the coaster industry" Published June 2011
• ABA Journal - "The History of thw Wood-Pulp Beer Coaster" Published 2008 by Dr Max Nelson
Volume 4 No 2 - May 1985