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]

Soda-Machines.com

Soda-Machines.com

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]



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Recent News: Coca Cola

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Toys, guns, giant bears - bid on it all in Lancaster County: Not far by car
PennLive.com, January 28th

Located in Denver, PA, on the edge of Adamstown, the "Antiques Capital, USA," you know Morphy's is different when you walk in the front door. The spacious lobby is filled with carefully organized glass cases. They hold what's coming ... On March 28...Read more

Got kids? Make wedding a family affair
The Columbian, January 28th

with a 4-year-old daughter. It featured things such as Coca-Cola, Skittles, Starbucks cake pops and even Heinz ketchup packets, which their daughter loves. (AP) ... Chicago-area event planner Amanda Morris created a semi-sweetheart table for a...Read more

Cayman Islands' dazzling array of automotive glory
Toronto Sun, January 27th

For instance, there's his love of 1950s diner kitsch and Coca Cola memorabilia, which guests can enjoy in the museum's perfectly recreated vintage diner. There's his zest for zippy motorcycles and high-speed motorboats, many of which are also on...Read more

Here's Why Mountain Dew Will Survive The Death Of Soda
Huffington Post, January 26th

U.S. soda sales have taken a dive in recent years. Mountain Dew parent company Pepsi and its rival, Coca-Cola, are hawking other products, such as sparkling water, energy drinks and snacks, to try and make up for sinking demand for their flagship sodas...Read more

Pretoria's Oupa Coke is Coca-Cola's biggest fan
Times LIVE, January 22nd

The most expensive Coca-Cola items on auction on the internet this week included a faulty 330ml can selling for more than R2-million, an old vending machine for R1-million, and a R5.7-million street artwork by New York artist Chris Riggs. Thanks to...Read more

Plymouth: Tim's Auctions to hold massive auction of collectibles, cars and ...
Torrington Register Citizen, January 21st

PLYMOUTH >> A breathtaking single-owner lifetime collection of vintage automobiles, petroliana items (gas station collectibles), Coca-Cola and Harley-Davidson memorabilia and many other items in various collecting categories will come up for bid on...Read more

Coca-Cola® Honors City of Miami Beach 100th Anniversary with ...
MarketWatch, January 15th

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Jan 15, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Miami Beach is turning 100 years old on March 26, 2015. To celebrate the city's 100th birthday, Coca-Cola released a commemorative, limited-edition 8-oz. glass bottle. The specially designed...Read more

Top Shelf Selection Of Soda Fountain Dispensers and Coca-Cola Antiques Up ...
Digital Journal, January 15th

DENVER, CO, January 15, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ -- iCollector.com in partnership with Morphy Auctions, is excited to present an incredible collection up for auction on January 17th and 18th, 2015. Antique advertising signs, syrup dispensers, Coca-Cola ...Read more