From its invention by John S. Pemberton in 1886 to today, Coca-Cola has become a staple of American and worldwide culture. As the consumerism of the mid-20th century blossomed, Coke showed itself to be a master of mass advertising, and it was this skill which helped the company dominate the American market. Indeed, even in 1886, Pemberton spent more money on ads than he made in sales, producing dozens of signs and other promotional items.

Aside from techniques that today seem quite conventional—TV and magazine ads, for example—Coca-Cola pioneered the art of brand recognition with an almost endless variety of promotional materials, from clocks to coolers to calendars. All bore the immediately recognizable logo and, in some form or another, the classic red-and-white color scheme. Many also included a Coke slogan, like “Thirst knows no season,” “Delicious and Refreshing,” and “Things Go Better with Coke.”

Collectors today can find a flood of Coke memorabilia and collectibles—part of these items’ genius in the first place was their durability and usability. To pick one example among many, Coca-Cola thermometers served a practical purpose that helped ensure a long promotional life. This set them apart from the posters and other advertisements that most store owners would routinely discard. As the decades passed and popular styles changed, so did the design of these thermometers. Some in the 1940s, for example, featured an Art Deco-inspired design.

Coke bottles, too, evolved over the decades, from a non-standardized hodgepodge of improvised glassware in the early 20th century to the now-classic curved shape known as the “Mae West” or “hobbleskirt” bottle, which was patented in November 1915 after a two-year contest to find the perfect design. Then as now, consumers instantly associate the shape with the Coca-Cola brand.

When Christmas came around, it was a safe bet that Coke would market Santa figurines, ornaments, or snow globes, all bearing the Coke logo. If Dad needed a way to bring the family’s cool, refreshing bottles of Coke on a picnic, he could buy a Coca-Cola cooler, a portable version of the larger coolers which retailers relied on to store and display Coke in the early years.

Alongside all of these items, collectors also prize oilcloth, tin, and especially porcelain Coca-Cola signs, some of which helped popularize the famous “red button” bottle cap shape. Other collectibles include tin-plate serving trays and even the vending machines themselves.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Coca-Cola Collectibles

Coca-Cola Collectibles

The Collectibles page of the official Coca-Cola website features photos and videos on bottles, signs, advertising, … [read review or visit site]

Bobbys Coca-Cola on the Web

Bobbys Coca-Cola on the Web

This site, a group effort, is a great reference for Coca-Cola collectors. Start with the timeline and product lists… [read review or visit site]

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Ralph and Carol Falvo's excellent collection of automobiles, petroliana, jukeboxes, soda, and general store items. … [read review or visit site]

The ultimate guide to vintage soda vending machines, from Coca-Cola to Pepsi to Royal Crown to Dr. Pepper. Start at… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

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Recent News: Coca Cola

Source: Google News

'Breaking Bad' Action Figures? Really, Toys R Us?
TIME, October 20th

Let's invade Russia—in the winter!” Or the one in 1985, when the anonymous product developer at Coca-Cola said, “How 'bout we take a product everyone loves, quit making it and replace it with a different formulation no one is asking for! What could go...Read more

Breaking Bad Action Figures? Really, Toys R Us?
TIME, October 20th

Take the one in 1812, when one of Napoleon's generals told the Great Emperor, “I've got an idea. Let's invade Russia—in the winter!” Or the one in 1985, when the anonymous product developer at Coca-Cola said, “How 'bout we take a product everyone ...Read more

Early expo postcards may generate bidding battles Oct. 25-26
Antique Trader, October 19th

Other favorites are images of horse-drawn delivery or RFD mail wagons, real-photo cards depicting motorcycles and motorcycle storefronts; and advertising cards. The latter category includes some rare, early 20th-century Coca-Cola cards featuring...Read more

What's It Worth: French coffee pot, Coca-Cola bowl
Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 18th

QUESTION: I bought my coffeepot a few years ago at an antiques shop. I was told that it's made of painted pewter. The person also told me that it is Early American ... ANSWER: These cast- and spun-aluminum snack bowls for Coca-Cola were made around...Read more

Batman Stamps: Collectors Say Despicable, USPS Says Brilliant
Businessweek, October 16th

Donahoe subsequently moved the stamp program into the marketing department, where it's overseen by Nagisa Manabe, a former Coca-Cola (KO) executive. Manabe has clashed with members of the CSAC, created in 1957 by Postmaster General Arthur ...Read more

John Force making up for lost time, October 16th

Gmail; Yahoo Mail; Outlook; Native Client. Somewhere in Virginia on the night of June 4, 1995, soon-to-be 7-year-old Courtney Force was celebrating. Her father, John Force, .... It's the name that's been on his firesuit, his cars, his memorabilia and...Read more

Smith T Hardware and Building Supply unveils vintage Coca -Cola mural in ...
WTVM, October 9th

A team from the Coca-Cola Company says the slogan "relieves fatigue" was used until the 1920s and predicts the sign is over 100 years old. "The original condition is what makes it special. It is over 100 years old, has not been ... to my business and...Read more

Word on the Street: Country Rose II Antiques reopens in Old Town Clovis
Fresno Bee, September 21st

Inside the rebuilt store are nearly 30 vendors selling everything from Coca Cola memorabilia to vintage cowboy boots. Vendor Walt Sorensen said the vendors could have found space in another store, but they wanted to wait until Country Rose II reopened...Read more