Loading Spinner

Tin Metalware

Tin is a silvery-white metal commonly used to create alloys, including bronze and pewter. Due to its low toxicity level, tin has long been used to create food storage items, such as cans and containers, as well as metalware used for food preparation, display, and decorative purposes.

Historically, the main sources of tin are England, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, and China. Archaeological and textual records indicate that countries across the world acquired tin using extensive trade networks. Because of its rarity in regions without natural sources of the metal, tin was highly prized as a valuable metal. In ancient Greece, for example, tin was worth seven times more than copper and used to create elaborate jewelry and sculptural works of art.

Perhaps the most important historical development for the use of tin occurred during the 14th century with the invention of tinning. The tinning process involves coating thin sheets of iron or steel with tin to create tinplate, a malleable yet strong material. The use of tinplate reached its peak during the 20th century, when factories mass-produced tin cans using the tinning method. Tinplate is still widely used today to create objects for daily use including teapots, dishes, cookie cutters, candlesticks, centerpieces, figurines, and many other decorative pieces.


Quick Facts

  • On October 16, 2015, Christie’s London sold Piero Manzoni’s Merda d’artista (1961), a tin can containing the artist’s excrement, for $282,328
  • On February 27, 2010, Morphy’s sold a Masudaya battery-operated Target Robot with its original pictorial box and sealed bag of accessories circa 1960 for $52,900
  • In Classical Greece, Athenians imported tin in units of 4,000 kilograms to help build the monumental statue of Athena Promachos housed within the Parthenon

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

Tin knight
Oct 04, 9:00 AM EDT
Tin knight
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$63 Bids
Tin/wood scoop & Persilette grater mill
Oct 04, 9:00 AM EDT
Tin/wood scoop & Persilette grater mill
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$62 Bids
bp parity badge
TABLETOP WHAT NOT SHELF IN TIN Early 20th Century Height 12”.
Oct 06, 9:30 AM EDT
TABLETOP WHAT NOT SHELF IN TIN Early 20th Century Height 12”.
by Eldred's
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
GAME TIME TIN MAN TRASH CAN COVER
Oct 15, 10:00 AM EDT
GAME TIME TIN MAN TRASH CAN COVER
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
TIN COFFEE POT VINTAGE ANTIQUE COLLECTIBLE
Jan 03, 1:00 PM CST
TIN COFFEE POT VINTAGE ANTIQUE COLLECTIBLE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
TIN WATERING CAN VINTAGE ANTIQUE COLLECTIBLE
Jan 03, 1:00 PM CST
TIN WATERING CAN VINTAGE ANTIQUE COLLECTIBLE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Large tin Native American Indian cookie cutter
Oct 07, 9:00 AM EDT
Large tin Native American Indian cookie cutter
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $250- $350
$1251 Bid
(3) TIN CUPS, TIN CANTEEN
Oct 07, 10:00 AM EDT
(3) TIN CUPS, TIN CANTEEN
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $75
$301 Bid
Tray lot- plated ware, tin ware
Oct 04, 9:00 AM EDT
Tray lot- plated ware, tin ware
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid
3 tin decorative stars
Oct 04, 9:00 AM EDT
3 tin decorative stars
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid
Candy tin, paper goods, Mary Poppins record,
Oct 04, 9:00 AM EDT
Candy tin, paper goods, Mary Poppins record,
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid
Elaborate Pennsylvania tin candelabrum, 19th c.
Oct 05, 4:00 PM EDT
Elaborate Pennsylvania tin candelabrum, 19th c.
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
Pair of tin pineapple architectural finials
Oct 05, 4:00 PM EDT
Pair of tin pineapple architectural finials
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $500- $800
$2501 Bid
Two tin cheese strainers 19th c.
Oct 05, 4:00 PM EDT
Two tin cheese strainers 19th c.
by Pook & Pook Inc.
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid
2 Tin Jello Molds
Oct 06, 10:00 AM EDT
2 Tin Jello Molds
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$11 Bid
(5pc) Antique Tin Ceiling Tiles
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
(5pc) Antique Tin Ceiling Tiles
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Pair of Vintage of Marx Tin Houses
Oct 10, 11:00 AM EDT
Pair of Vintage of Marx Tin Houses
by Denise Ryan Auction Co.
Est: $25- $500
$101 Bid
Jugendstil Zinn- u. Kupferkanne
Oct 14, 10:00 AM CEST
Jugendstil Zinn- u. Kupferkanne
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €60- €80
€600 Bids
Two tin (wall) dishes
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Two tin (wall) dishes
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€500 Bids
Three parts antique tin
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Three parts antique tin
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€1500 Bids
fate tin
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
fate tin
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€500 Bids
Van Nelle grocery tin, 1930
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Van Nelle grocery tin, 1930
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€500 Bids
Large tin teapot
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Large tin teapot
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€600 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Tin Metalware


Pook & Pook Inc.

Pook & Pook Inc.

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Twents Veilinghuis

Twents Veilinghuis

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Veilinghuis Van Spengen