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 amon...
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.
Interviews & Articles
As the archivist for Coca-Cola, I’m interested in preserving the history of this company. Integrally tied to that history are all … [more]
My grandfather got me started collecting bottles when I was about eight years old. A couple of years later, I was walking along a … [more]
I started collecting Coca-Cola in 1994. The World Cup soccer games were being hosted at the Stanford Stadium and I saw Coke bottle… [more]
Coca-Cola collectors take note: A vintage Coke sign has prompted an epic "only in San Francisco" battle royale, as passionate pres… [more]
I started collecting Coca-Cola memorabilia back in the early 1970s. I was working the night shift at a company, and as I walked ho… [more]
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Fire damages Cozad's garageGering Citizen, May 20th
Cozad said the fire started in the main display of the garage, where several antique cars were housed. The ceiling caught on fire and spread to the room above, where a vast collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia was on display. “There was pretty extensive...Read more
Teen Places $15 Million eBay Bid For Coca-Cola Recipe - Huffington PostHuffington Post, May 20th
Last week, antique hunter Cliff Kluge thought he may have found the secret recipe for Coca-Cola. So he put At least he's pretty sure he's at least onto something, even if he can't totally prove it is the real deal (and Coca-Cola says it isn't...Read more
Memorial for David PhanHyphen Magazine (blog), May 19th
Pulling into a quiet block of neat tract houses, I entered the home of Nhuan Phan and Phuong Tran, the parents of David Phan, the 14-year-old Vietnamese American gay youth who committed suicide last November because of unchecked bullying at his junior...Read more
AP News in Brief at 5:58 pm EDTNECN, May 17th
Facebook, the brainchild of a young CEO who sauntered into Wall Street meetings in a hoodie, was going to be bigger than Amazon, bigger than McDonald's, bigger than Coca-Cola. And it was all made possible by our friendships, photos and family ties...Read more
Auto museum a jewelKokomo Perspective, May 16th
Displays of all automotive involvement in Kokomo are abundant. The development of the radios at Delco, Opalescent Glass in the lobby, one of Elwood Haynes' first vehicles, Coca Cola, Keystone Products, General Motors, Delphi all-electric cars, and the...Read more
OJ takes stand in bid for new hearing over kidnapIrish Independent, May 15th
The real thing? Historian publishes Coca Cola's 'secret formula' The focus is on his trial over a 2007 hotel room confrontation at gunpoint with two sports memorabilia dealers who had Simpson footballs and photos. When he went to trial in 2008, he...Read more
OJ Simpson testifies in bid to win freedomglobalnews.ca, May 15th
World · Did a treasure hunter unearth the recipe for Coca-Cola? The recipe to Coca-Cola may be the most sought-after recipe on planet Earth – and a Georgia man says he believes he's found it during a treasure hunt at an estate sale. Continue reading ?...Read more
Sugar Land artist passionate about Houston's historyHouston Chronicle, May 14th
When most people pick up a hobby, they'll fill their shelves with memorabilia and keepsakes, but Sugar Land resident Lee Benner likes to be more hands-on. Benner, a native Houstonian, is known throughout the Sculpture was next on his artistic...Read more