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April 4, 2019

Collectors: Fred’s canned sardines collection

They have an untamable passion for gathering as much quirky items as possible: collectors. Meet Fred. He has a hard time throwing beautiful packaging away. That’s how his canned sardines collection started about 40 years ago. “Oh and also because I really love to eat sardines”.

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How big is your collection?

“Quite big. Let’s just say that what’s in the glass case now, is just a selection. Look at how colourful the designs are, it instantly brings a smile to my face. Everytime I go abroad, one of the first things I do is go to the local supermarket and check out what cans they have”.

When is your collection complete?

“Never! That’s the beauty of collecting canned sardines. Companies always think of something new so it’s not like collecting stamps where you’re finished when you own the series. People know about my collection, so I sometimes get cans gifted to me when people come back from their holidays. And the little artwork on the top shelf of the case is made by my granddaughter.”

Do you eat all the sardines?

“Yes, I have to. If you keep the cans full for too long, they could explode. I’ve actually had that happen to me once, we had to repaint the kitchen because of it! I have to open all of them backwards, otherwise I ruin the can, it’s quite a hassle.”

Do you have any other collections?

“I collected ties for a long time, but I kind of lost interest after a while. I’m not one of those super avid collectors who goes to antique markets and pays hundreds of euros for canned sardines, I don’t really see the fun in that. I pay retail price.”

Where’s your favorite place to go can-shopping?

“Portugal is just amazing. Many people think Spain is also a good country to find nice ones, but their offer is actually quite uninteresting. In Paris I’ve seen restaurants where people order canned sardines in fancy restaurants, case with dates on them, just like wine. It’s madness!”

Volkshotel is looking for collectors. Those with an untamable passion for quirky items. To show off their special collections and to tell the special stories behind it. Happen to be or know one? Let us know at

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