What item could be said to be more collected for the pure sake of collecting an item of little to no value than a bottle cap? But how often has one, while sitting round a fire, popped the top from a soda or beer, and stuffed the cap in a jeans pocket, only to be found next laundry day, the item turned over in one’s fingers, a spontaneous memento of friends and gathering. Does one toss it, or tuck it away as a reminder of summer, of friends.
At various times in history, the caps have been valuable and yield a monetary return for their tin or aluminum, and so, collecting them was a way to make pocket money. At other times, they have been variously used as crafts- one could make them into earrings, a candle holder, a picture frame. From fishing lures to musical instruments, the bottle cap has found itself as a valuable and collectable item. More infrequently, the caps are kept because the image or maker’s mark on the cap features interesting art, or is from a rare beverage. Or it is sentimental, collected form a journey to a far away place, and comes from a drink that can only be purchased elsewhere. There can be no doubt however that certain caps are immediately recognizable since their design is ubiquitous with popular brands. Like any collectable item, vintage versions of long-standing brands such as coca-cola are valuable to collectors.
In any case, the bottle cap has been variously collected for its practical, aesthetic, or sentimental appeal, despite its disposable/recyclable intention, but their association with social gathering makes them the perfect found memento.