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

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TIN BOTTLE CAP SIGN DR PEPPER 10 2 4
Feb 12, 9:00 AM CST
TIN BOTTLE CAP SIGN DR PEPPER 10 2 4
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$3506 Bids
EMBOSSED TIN SIGN CLOSSMAN HARDWARE ZANESVILLE OH
Feb 12, 9:00 AM CST
EMBOSSED TIN SIGN CLOSSMAN HARDWARE ZANESVILLE OH
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$304 Bids
Hopalong Cassidy tin lunch box
Oct 20, 4:00 PM EDT
Hopalong Cassidy tin lunch box
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $200
$503 Bids
Lot of 3 Vintage Tin Lunchboxes
Oct 20, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 3 Vintage Tin Lunchboxes
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $50- $100
$503 Bids
Collection of vintage tins
Oct 19, 7:00 PM AEDT
Collection of vintage tins
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD303 Bids
Hopalong Cassidy tin lunch box
Oct 20, 4:00 PM EDT
Hopalong Cassidy tin lunch box
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $200
$402 Bids
EMBOSSED TIN SIGN ALPEN BRAU BEER ST LOUIS MO
Dec 04, 9:00 AM CST
EMBOSSED TIN SIGN ALPEN BRAU BEER ST LOUIS MO
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$602 Bids
DIE CUT TIN BOTTLE SIGN DR SWETTS ROOT BEER
Feb 12, 9:00 AM CST
DIE CUT TIN BOTTLE SIGN DR SWETTS ROOT BEER
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
LARGE TIN SIGN HUDEPOHL BEER & ALE CINCINATTI OH
Dec 04, 9:00 AM CST
LARGE TIN SIGN HUDEPOHL BEER & ALE CINCINATTI OH
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$602 Bids
Antique Tin and Copper Fireplace Cover
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Antique Tin and Copper Fireplace Cover
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
Thresher Hand Oil pint size tin
Oct 22, 9:00 AM EDT
Thresher Hand Oil pint size tin
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $200
$201 Bid
Late 19th C Ovular Girl Portrait Painting on Tin
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Late 19th C Ovular Girl Portrait Painting on Tin
by Atlanta Auction Gallery, ltd
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
NOS 1941 TIN SIGN DELCO BATTERIES
Feb 12, 9:00 AM CST
NOS 1941 TIN SIGN DELCO BATTERIES
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Lot of 3 Vintage Tin Lunchboxes
Oct 20, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 3 Vintage Tin Lunchboxes
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $50- $100
$101 Bid
NOS EMBOSSED TIN SIGN ALLSTATE CHICKS
Feb 12, 9:00 AM CST
NOS EMBOSSED TIN SIGN ALLSTATE CHICKS
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
TIN SIGN TANNENBAUM BEER AHEAD MARATHON WI
Feb 12, 9:00 AM CST
TIN SIGN TANNENBAUM BEER AHEAD MARATHON WI
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
TOC TIN SIGN OSCEOLA BETHANIA MINERAL WATER
Dec 04, 9:00 AM CST
TOC TIN SIGN OSCEOLA BETHANIA MINERAL WATER
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
NOS TIN SIGN BUNNY BREAD
Feb 12, 9:00 AM CST
NOS TIN SIGN BUNNY BREAD
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
TIN SIGN NYAL'S FAMILY REMEDIES NUNDA NY
Dec 03, 9:00 AM CST
TIN SIGN NYAL'S FAMILY REMEDIES NUNDA NY
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Lot of 4 Vintage Tin Lunchboxes
Oct 20, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 4 Vintage Tin Lunchboxes
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $50- $100
$101 Bid
Group of 2 HAJI Baby Carriage Wind Up Tin Toy
Oct 30, 9:00 AM CDT
Group of 2 HAJI Baby Carriage Wind Up Tin Toy
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $50- $100
$251 Bid
Mechanical Parrot Wind Up Tin Toy
Oct 30, 9:00 AM CDT
Mechanical Parrot Wind Up Tin Toy
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $150- $300
$751 Bid
Vintage Photograph Album w 25 Photo 17 Tin Types
Nov 21, 11:00 AM EST
Vintage Photograph Album w 25 Photo 17 Tin Types
by Moggies Auction Service
Est: $50- $75
$251 Bid
Group of 6 food tins/cans
Oct 30, 9:00 AM CDT
Group of 6 food tins/cans
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $40- $80
$201 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Tin Metalware


Millers Auction Co.

Millers Auction Co.

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Auktionshaus Wendl

Auktionshaus Wendl

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers