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Billy Brew Ha Ha

Is any of that junk in your attic worth some money? How do you sort the trash from the treasure? CBS News Saturday Morning continues its series with collectibles expert Tony Hyman.

This time, Hyman says you may not be richer than you think.

Classified ads across America offer Billy Beer by the can or six-pack, asking up to $600 a can. Should you buy it? Hyman says, "No."

Billy Beer appeared in the mid-70s, an attempt to capitalize on President Carter's flamboyant beer-drinking brother Billy.

It was a good idea gone awry, in part because the beer was downright undrinkable. As one not-so-kind critic said, "Pour it back in the horse it came from."

Why do people think it's worth so much to collectors? There was a flurry of publicity when, insiders claim, clever promoters suckered the news media into covering the sale of a single can for $600. Then, they sent representatives into liquor stores offering Billy Beer at $500 a case. They knew retailers didn't have the beer in stock. "It was all just a scheme to generate interest," says Hyman.

If you have a six-pack, full or empty, the cans are what experts call "squashers," good only for recycling their aluminum content.

Hyman warns that the same is true of JR Beer, named for the character on the television series Dallas.

For more information on Billy Beer and beer cans of all types, Hyman recommends Tony Steffen, a collector and dealer in beer cans for 13 years. His email address is steinland@aol.com.

And, go to Tony Hyman's Web site for more information on collectibles.

Previous CBS News Saturday Morning segments with collectibles expert Tony Hyman are available in the collectibles archive.



If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to: sat@cbsnews.com. Put "What's it Worth?" in the subject line, or write to: "What's it Worth?" CBS News Saturday Morning, 514 West 57th Street, 6th floor, New York, New York 10019.

Please note that because of the volume of mail received, Saturday Morning can't respond to all requests, but some will be selected and featured on the show in the near future.

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