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”)
Bobbys Coca-Cola on the Web
Falvo Collectables Gallery
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Coca Cola
Source: Google News
A look inside the infamous Meet RackArizona Daily Wildcat, March 6th
The bar and liquor license are in Anderson's daughter's name due to a decades old political grudge prohibiting Anderson from owning the venue himself, according to Day. The bar's main is dimly lit but homey. Christmas Memorabilia, trinkets, posters...Read more
Kovels: Cameo glass is popular with collectorsWinston-Salem Journal, March 6th
Q: I have four bentwood chairs that came from an old seminary. The most common Toddy-related collectible is a mixer-style drinking glass embossed with the brand name and a child's face. Coca-Cola bottle opener, 50th anniversary, 3 ¾ inches, $85...Read more
PUBLIC AUCTIONClay Center Dispatch, March 6th
Furniture (starting at 9 a.m.): 32” table top color TV, La-Z-Boy 3-cushion divan, dining room table with glass top, wood desk, antique wood desk with chair, and possible other furniture. Collectibles: Collection of shot glasses, approx. 32, a...Read more
Coca-Cola calendar among varied collection of auction itemsChristian Davies Antiques (blog), March 5th
Philip Weiss Auctions will be hosting the sale, which includes various pieces of Coca-Cola memorabilia from the turn of the century. The calendar features a picture of a young woman on the front, along with all the A couple of antique trays from...Read more
More than a nicknameAdvance Titan, March 4th
Sitting at his wooden kitchen table with breakfast nook, with a curio cabinet filled with dozens of items of Green Bay Packers memorabilia behind him, Green sighed before he explained what happened at Lambeau. “The bottom line is they wanted me to...Read more
Vietnam veteran reunited with '68 radio tapeUSA TODAY, March 3rd
"All we got was Vietnamese or country and western," recalled Roy Tschudy, then an 18-year-old from the Bronx serving with the Army's 271st Aviation Company. "Country The opening song was Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel and, after a Coca-Cola...Read more
1891 Coca-Cola calendar, possibly the only one in existence, will be sold at ...EcommWire (press release), February 28th
The auction will also feature Part 1 of the John Panza collection of ice cream and soda fountain memorabilia, items from the “Moonlight Kid” collection of motorcycle memorabilia, rare and vintage advertising posters, coin-ops (including slot machines...Read more
Remember When Antique ShowLaughlin Entertainer, February 18th
In among the fruit jars and old meat grinders are a myriad of other items, including: vintage clothing, Coca Cola and Hollywood memorabilia, toys, metal trucks and cars, glassware, cowboy and western items, Mojave pottery, silverware, linens, crystal...Read more