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I’ve always collected something. In primary school, it was postage stamps, then postcards. With
time, I began to collect labels peeled off beer bottles. And that’s how it all started…
In the 1980s, I came across the “Relaks i Kolekcjoner Polski” (Relax and Polish Collector)
magazine, in which I found contact data of other beer lovers. I got in touch with them, and my
collecting journey reached a higher, professional level. On the back of the labels that I was
receiving then, there were stamps with the addresses of other collectors. I was sending them
messages and thus expanding my collection of labels, which dominated the beer collector market
at that time. I had my own stamp as well and received lots of letters myself – the postman was
bringing me multiple packages every day. Over time, the label collection was joined by pre-war
bottles, and in the 21st century by Tyskie beer mugs and glasses.
1989 marked my first visit at Tyskie Browary Książęce. When I introduced myself and
explained what I was looking for, I was told to find Andrzej Gwiazda, who at that time was
working in the sales department and – as it turned out – was a collector himself.
Since then, I’ve regularly visited the brewery in Tychy and the warehouse, where I received
new labels on an ongoing basis. One day I was even able to get to the malt house attic,
where I found some pre-war items!
The brewery in Tychy was the first one I visited. I live in Świętochłowice, less than 30 km
from Tychy. Tyskie Browary Książęce is the biggest brewery in Silesia, therefore it’s
natural that Tyskie and Książęce are the brands I’m most attached to.
When in the mid 1990s I sold my label collection, I promised myself I would never get rid of
my Tyskie bottles. With time, I began collecting Tyskie bottle openers as well, which now
constitute an impressive collection. I never felt the need to focus on other breweries.
At some point, I had so many of them that the walls of one of my rooms were covered with
bottles top to bottom! Today, the collection is smaller – I kept a few bottles related to
Świętochłowice, where I live, and those related to Tychy, which have been with me from the
beginning. The oldest bottles come from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th
century – from Tyskie Browary Książęce and Browar Obywatelski.
So far, I haven’t come across any information about older pieces – neither from the
internet, nor other collectors. The selection I’ve gathered includes 42 pre-war bottles from
Tychy – many people claim that it’s the only such a collection. Throughout all those years,
I came across three more bottles that I know of but don’t have.
Today, it encompasses 700 exhibits, constituting one of the biggest collections of that type –
if not the biggest. It all started with the beer mug received in 1989 at the beer memorabilia
market in Tychy, which commemorated the 360th anniversary of Tyskie Browary Książęce. Over the
following years, I completed the collection mainly with glassware produced on such occasions. I
got completely hooked in the 21st century. Tychy-related glassware is – simply put – a
bottomless pit. New items continue to emerge, just as old ones which I don’t have yet in my
collection. That’s the joy of collecting – it goes on forever. Some people collect things
related to small breweries, but at some point, you hit a wall and it’s hard to get something
new. But with Tyskie and Książęce new things keep coming – and a lot of it. There are contests,
new mugs and glasses at bars. It’s a bit more complicated with the contest merchandise, because
there is basically no other way to get it – that’s the biggest challenge!
Nowadays, due to my health, I drink beer only occasionally. I used to drink it with great
pleasure, and I honestly always favoured Tyskie. The taste of that beer is deeply rooted in
At one of the latest beer memorabilia markets, I drank cold Tyskie – it reminded me of the
time when I was returning from my first visit at the Książęce brewery to the railway station
in Tychy. I was walking across a big clearing, and right in the middle of it, between the
brewery and the station, there was a sheet-metal kiosk that was selling beer. It was spring,
warm, May, greenery, flowers, sun and cold Tyskie – just beautiful! I still remember that
An inseparable element of my collecting passion was finding and exploring beer-related places.
I’ve identified a dozen or so locations where prior to World War II Tyskie was bottled. In one
of them, in Chorzów, I found war-time labels, which none of the collectors knew about – today,
they’re displayed on my wall. How did I find this place? By going through address books in the
archive of the Chrzów City Hall. I was looking for the names of companies connected to beer –
bottling facilities or wholesalers. I wrote down these addresses and visited those places. Some
of them were already renovated, but others, as the one in Chorzów, still looked exactly the same
as 80 years ago.
I’ve also visited places associated with other beers than Tyskie. 30 years ago, in one of the
attics, I found labels from the tsarist times. In the old brewery buildings in Częstochowa and
the bottling facility in Chrzanów, I found many old items – labels, bottle caps, and even
documents. The search for beer artefacts made me feel like I was transported to the previous
decades – each of the findings had its own history.
Finding attractive old stuff was much easier before. Nowadays, it’s harder to find a real gem,
just as there are less and less of undiscovered places. I do my research mostly online – I check
my websites and search results every day.
When it comes to old items, I have no specific goals – finding a real gem requires some luck.
Very often, single unique pieces quickly find new owners – in the past, you had to contact the
seller and make a deal, today all you need to do it to click “buy now”. In terms of new
glassware – it’s still possible to get some. What’s difficult in that case is getting in touch
with people who would like to get rid of it. There’s not a lot of it on the secondary market,
and everything disappears instantly. But, as I said, that’s they joy of collecting – the
I used to go to every beer memorabilia market in the country. From the north to the south, from
the east to the west. I was looking for beer treasures at flea markets and beer-related places,
which I was locating and discovering on my own. Since my wife died, I’ve been taking care of my
disabled son and thus only visit the nearby markets – from Tychy to Żywiec. But one thing
remains unchanged for several dozen years – every event of that type is a wonderful experience
At the end of our meeting, we asked Mr. Roman whether he’s ever broken anything from his
Currently, my collection encompasses 700 glassware items and several dozen bottles. Over the
several dozen years of my collecting adventure, I’ve had thousands of glass pieces in my hands.
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve never broken anything!