BOLTON has been named as a top destination for collectors of vintage beer cans by an American who wants to add rare items to his collection.

Jeff Lebo lives in Pennsylvania in a house in which every wall is lined with beer cans.

He holds the world record for owning the largest collection of beer cans in the world — more than 80,000.

Now he is coming to Bolton and hopes to track down cans made by the Metal Box Company, which was based in Westhoughton until March, 2004, to add to his collection.

The 49-year-old is particularly interested in cans made between 1936 and 1965, during which time Metal Box Company was the principal manufacturer of cans in Britain.

He lists cans made by the company as some of his favourites, including the Tennents cans which feature photographs of glamorous women and picturesque scenery.

“The Metal Box cans from 1936 to 1965 tend to be hard to find, which adds to their mystique,” Mr Lebo said.

“Almost all of the pre- Second World War cone top cans were melted down to provide steel for the war effort, which makes them particularly rare. Also, the graphic designs can be quite beautiful.”

Metal Box, which produced metal cans for the food and drink industry, once provided Westhoughton with 1,500 jobs.

The busy production lines, which once turned out 15 million cans per week, ground to a halt in December, 2003, after 48 years.

The factory was demolished and replaced with housing.

Mr Lebo’s visit is part of a month-long trek through England, Wales and Scotland in an attempt to document all of the known cans produced in the UK.

He will even be diving for cans in the Scottish lochs.

“British beer cans are among the most varied, innovative and beautiful of any cans in the world,”

said the collector.

Many of the cans in Mr Lebo’s collection cost him upwards of £125, although most are worth about £1.

He encourages people with cans which may be valuable to get in touch with him via his website,

Mr Lebo will be visiting Bolton on April 16 and 17.

He is also offering to arrange personal meetings when he visits.

He can be contacted via email on