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Detroit Brewing Company advertising tray, which sold for $22,500 with buyer’s premium at Epic Auctions and Estate Sales.

Pre-Prohibition beer tray, estimated at $400-$600, served up $22,500 at Epic

LESLIE, MI – The May 4 sale at Epic Auctions and Estate Sales was led by a Detroit Brewing Company beer tray that came with a discovery story. In 1996, the tray had been found in the attic of the Mason, Michigan home of Clark Cogsdill, a direct descendant of one of the owners of the local Freer & Cogsdill Saloon. It had been open for just one year in 1901 before it was forced to close. The individual who bought the estate kept the tray in his basement from 1996 to 2024, when he decided to consign it to auction.

The 12in tray was made for the Detroit Brewing Company by the Meek and Beach Company of Coshocton, Ohio, the product of a short-lived merger between the owners of Standard Advertising, which in 1890 became the first company in the world to produce full color lithography on metal signs, and Tuscarora Advertising Company, which in the same decade made the first American printed tin trays. The partnership lasted only four years, from 1901 to 1905.

Like many contemporaries, the Detroit Brewing Company, which was active from 1886 to 1949, sought to emphasize both its authentic German roots and its patriotism. Promoting its Bohemian and Erlanger beers, the tray is centered on an American eagle. In fine condition, aside from some minor surface scratches, crazing, and corrosion to the reverse, it rocketed past its estimate of $400-$600 to sell for $18,000 ($22,500 with buyer’s premium).

Full results for the May 4 auction can be seen at LiveAuctioneers.