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

Most watched eBay auctions    

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Recent News: Coca Cola

Source: Google News

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Marketing Land, March 4th

What does your office look like – sentimental items you can tell us about? Thanks to my irreplaceable executive assistant, Anne Gordon, it's pretty orderly, though I do keep stacks and stacks of old notepads and files to reference as needed. Some of...Read more

Nominees Unveiled for SCV Man, Woman of the Year, March 4th

He worked for the Coca Cola for 23 years. He also worked as a fugitive bounty hunter for 2 years. Ray has 15 relatives ... At 10-years old, her grandmother took Jane and her twin sister to Tecate, Mexico to bring supplies, clothing and care to...Read more

Erykah Badu, NE-YO & More Join Lineup for Bet Experience Presented by Coca ...
Broadway World, March 3rd

Tickets for the BET Experience presented by Coca-Cola at L.A. LIVE are on sale now. Single day STAPLES Center show tickets are priced as low as $59.50 while 3-day STAPLES Center concert ticket packages start at $169.50. For fans looking to roll like a ...Read more

Why Coca-Cola Bottles Are a Cherished Find for Sea Glass Collectors
EIN News (press release), March 2nd

Since its patenting in late 1915, the Coca-Cola contour bottle has been widely celebrated, from its appearance on the cover of Time magazine in 1950 to its immortalization by artists like Andy Warhol. Now, as the bottle marks its 100th anniversary, it...Read more

The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100
Cool Hunting, February 27th

the call and the first iteration of what we know today as the Coca-Cola glass contour bottle was born. Since then, hundreds of billions of bottles have been sold and along the way it would become one of the most recognizable design items around the...Read more

Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles March 2015 Newsletter Available
PR Web (press release), February 25th

on Antiques and Collectibles" March 2015 newsletter. Bidding popped up to $2,700 for a Coca-Cola crossing guard display sign. See pictures and prices of other signs and posters—even a radio and a box of straws—that garnered attention from the...Read more

Coke, Winchester and other rare antique posters will be sold at Showtime ...
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Items from the more than 50 other advanced collections in the auction will include toys, banks, Coca-Cola, soda fountain (including an actual marble soda counter), candy, gum, peanuts, perfume, millinery, breweriana, distillery, petroliana (gas station...Read more

High Museum to feature exhibit on Coca-Cola bottle's 100 anniversary
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A section taking visitors through the design history of the bottle, including rare examples of the bottle and a "mash-up," salon-style presentation of posters by contemporary designers who have re-imagined the bottle for the 21st century. The Pop Art...Read more