(Pivné Hobby, interview in collectors magazine 3/2017)
I was originally supposed to write an article about the Danubius Club and its anniversary. But what would I say that you don’t know yet and what Mr. Ozabal and Mr. Fiedler didn’t write? Maybe nothing. Everything has already been said. Our members, the old Cossack collectors, have also been written about. But the young blood in the club has not yet been written about. Why? But which club has young blood? I am thinking of new members around the age of 20. Probably none. Except us. The Danubius Club can boast of such blood and introduce it to you through a short interview, which I did between Iron on the occasion and its anniversary, namely 10 years in collecting. His stuffed rat no longer welcomes me, so by rummaging through a 25 kg bag of crown caps, I start a conversation.
My name is Jakub, I am 23 years old. I live in the village Chorvátsky Grob near Bratislava, but I feel like a Bratislava citizen. At the moment, I am most employed in my university studies, where only the last year of the masters study plan of load-bearing structures of buildings awaits me. During the holidays, I take a break and, in addition to the collection, devote myself, for example, to bodybuilding or part- time jobs. A colleague from the club once called me a “crown caps shark”.
You’re right, this year it’s been a decade since I’ve been actively collecting. At my young age, I think it’s been a pretty long time. We have no collector or passionate brewery in the family. So I started completely “from the ground” and also with an interesting incident. For fun, I once started firing plastic PET caps in the yard by jumping on a bottle. Since It was lost to my neighbors, I had to find others plastic caps. However, I was surprised by their variety designs and colors, so I started to put them off. That’s when the real passion for collectors probably started. In Slovakia, however, I came across “only” collectors of metal beer crown caps. So I soon started collecting only metal crown caps from all drinks. It was during the winter holidays in the city park under the benches in Bratislava, at the beginning of 2007. The beginnings were really interesting. I looked for them around the school, shops, in the park, on trips I kept rummaging in rubbish dumps and the best was a foreign holiday by the sea. I was 13 at the time, so they didn’t even sell me a beer at shops.
What fascinated me most about the crown caps is that they are really easy to get, for example, when walking through the city or around shops, even without the need for direct beer consumption. They are simply all around us. It is also a great advantage that they are made of quality durable material and used all over the world. Because they are small and the same size, they can be stored neatly and do not take up much space, unless you have as many as I have. Printed bottle caps have been around us for over 100 years, so there is plenty to collect and thousands of new ones are made every year.
After about a year of collecting the crown caps, I found on the Internet, in addition to the collectors’ pages themselves, also photos from various collector’s meetings, which I was very interested in. Somewhere I then found out that such exchanges meetings also take place in Bratislava. So in April 2009 I decided to participate in my first breweriana exchange meeting in Bratislava. I even came there with the caps I wanted to change. There, I was immediately picked up by Mr. Vilo Saxa, who willingly pointed out the meeting to me and introduced me to “metal scrapers”- as he named crown caps collectors. So I met excellent beer caps collectors. They soon came to my table, where we also made some exchanges, but that was far from the end. In addition to a number of new additions to the collection, they gave me valuable advice and recommendations. Only then did I actually learn that they were in some Danubius Bratislava beer collectors club. So I told them that since I’m very young, I think about it. However, I will definitely participate in other collecting fairs in the future as well, because it left me with a very strong impression and a positive impulse for further collecting activities, and in fact I could not have been better. After the breweriana exchange meeting in 2011, two years later, I became a member of the Danubius Club Bratislava and I am still today. I also try to actively participate in the organization of our breweriana meetings or exhibitions, but especially to participate in collectors’ meetings. Collecting crown caps has an important position in this club, which is great for me. Thanks to my fellow coroners, I am where I am today and every year I take part in many large international meetings, including a double participation in the crown caps only exchange in Hirschaid, Germany, which is one of the best moments in my collecting activities. And the fact that I am by far the youngest member is an advantage in my opinion. Many colleagues here pay me a beer or donate some caps. But as far as I notice, a much younger beginning collector like me has appeared on the collectors meetings many times.
I collect metal crown caps from all kinds of drinks. Thanks to the really large space I have in my room, I have many states stored separately and I really enjoy looking at such a big collection. If I had them boxed somewhere in a dark corner, then I probably wouldn’t enjoy it that much. I have open shelf bookcases and cabinets, I have horizontally placed A4 cardboard pads with 54 caps on the shelves, inserted into a transparent office package. I then have these pads in the columns above me, so I can relatively easily calculate how many caps I have. I also have each cap photographed individually. It’s a slave hard work, but it brings me huge benefits. In fact, I still carry my collection with me on my mobile phone, which helps me wonderfully, especially on exchanges meetings, but also during exchanges, as I don’t have to remember which caps I already have and not even rummage through so much iron. I try to present my unique collection of Slovak caps on the Internet, at least through a photo album. However, I am also very interested in the big global brands in the beverage industry, which appear in almost every country in the world in different font styles. I also especially like the old caps, which are already hard to find. Otherwise, I don’t focus on specific motives or countries, I just collect everything I don’t have in my collection yet. The only ones I don’t collect are the competition symbols and no pictures on the inside of the cap. If I look a little, in 10 years I have collected 55,000 different caps, of which there are 32,300 beer. With the number of beer caps, I am one of the top collectors in our country. At the moment, my collection already contains almost 60,000 crown caps. I don’t want to brag much, but it’s a very large collection for my age. I am in 42nd place in the international databases Crowncaps.info.
I get the most caps on the big multi-day international exchanges meetings, where I like to go. There I regularly acquire hundreds, sometimes up to thousands of new additions either by exchange or by purchase. However, I do not miss the smaller meetings either, because the atmosphere and sound of the snarling caps is completely indescribable! In recent years, I have traveled all over Slovakia and attended really many collectors’ meetings or purchases of caps also thanks to free train transport, as a student. But I also have other unique ways to make new caps. One of my favorite activities is buying advertising caps. People contact me and send me their treasures, which they found in the cellar or collected as children. This is how I have already obtained very rare, especially Slovak, caps for good money. I personally bought smaller or larger collections, a few rusty pieces, or a whole 25 kg bag full of caps, where there were about 11,000 pieces. Of course, I also occasionally take part in an online auction, but I’m not the type of collector who wants to have a cap at any cost. The second most proven way is mail exchanges with collectors from all over the world via the internet. Due to the fact that I have published my doubles for exchange and I am from Slovakia, the offers are also flocking on their own. I also exchange via social networks and it is sometimes very interesting. And, of course, everywhere, especially abroad, I collect caps from the ground, I still can’t give up that.
Although I started from zero and I am very young, I can also boast of some unique things. Probably the oldest and rarest cap I have from Slovakia is from the Veľká Bytča brewery. Compared to the better known gold, it is on a white background so it is definitely very rare. I got it on the breweriana meeting for a few cents along with other caps from this brewery. Interestingly, I originally overlooked it, until on the second try I noticed that it is so unique. I also already have five species of red Bažant Hurbanovo Brewery 10 °, my older colleagues also envy me. Last year I bought two beautiful Perla lemonade caps from the Leopoldov distillery. I also have the original bottle with them. So I appreciate the collection of Slovak caps the most. As for the total number of beers + other drinks, it is on the 1st place in international collector’s databases with more than 2,200 different caps!
As a young person, of course, I am full of plans and first I want to enjoy the last year of university study. In any case, in addition to my responsible profession and everything that awaits me, I want to continue to expand my collection. In addition to the next stages of life, I will probably have to “be modest” and I do not expect very large additions. However, I may become a successor to my colleagues’ collections. But my biggest dream is to have a large apartment in which one room will be dedicated only to the collection. I do not plan to sell the collection in any cases, because I believe that I will have a successor to my collection, which I will try to do. I am currently working on who I will create the continuation of the collection with.
In the end, I want to thank all the people and collectors who made it possible to me to build such a collection. I have found a hobby that has followed me for almost half of my life. I still enjoy it very much, it gives me energy even though sometimes I fail, when I have a difficult period, the sight of thousands of caps always calms me down. It gives me joy in life.
Finally, thank you for the duck and dumplings and of course for the interview.