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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Miami Heat fans to use every ritual at their disposalMiamiHerald.com, June 17th
Michael Valenzuela, a 30-year old quality analyst for Coca-Cola in Lawrenceville, Ga., said he has eaten the same thing before each Heat win during the playoffs. He plans to do the same Tuesday. “I don't know why chicken wings, but every time I ate...Read more
Coke jugs have Hollywood connectionMid Columbia Tri City Herald, June 16th
Q. We have three Coca-Cola glass syrup jugs, each with a different label. They all came from For possible use in a future column, direct questions on your antiques and collectibles to What's It Worth? by email to email@example.com...Read more
Keeping his memory aliveCoeur d'Alene Press, June 16th
From back, left to right Susan Freund, Karrie Fay, Marisue Freund-Kemp, Russ Freund, Katelynn Fay, 8, and Melissa Kimp, 14, stand in the Fruend's garage where the walls and floor are covered by cars and memorabilia collected by Claude Freund. Claude...Read more
ReunionsMacon Telegraph (blog), June 15th
Bring photos and other memorabilia that you wish to share. Descendants and friends of Joseph and Nancy Layfield Class is planning their 35th class reunion for July 27-28 at the National Association of Letter Carriers, located at 4495 Chapel Hill...Read more
Firehouse Subs blazes into areaSt. George Daily Spectrum, June 13th
The restaurant features a Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain, offering more than 120 sparkling and still beverages. The unit is touch-screen operated with regular and low-calorie beverages. Choices include Caffeine-Free Diet Coke with Lime, Fanta Peach...Read more
Coca-Cola fans gather to celebrate their favorite drinkThemountainpress, June 10th
Seymour resident Wanda Gray questions co-chair John Waddell Jr., about the value of her collectible. PIGEON FORGE —. Coca-Cola Collectors gathered at the Holiday Inn this weekend for the 23rd Collectibles Convention, where they held a swap meet, went...Read more
One-tank trips: World of Coca-ColaCovington News, June 8th
There's plenty to do —from visiting a 4D mini movie and cola museum to tasting all the different versions of Coca-Cola from all over the world in the product tasting center on the upper level. You'll also see the largest collection of Coca-Cola...Read more
Teen Places $15 Million eBay Bid For Coca-Cola RecipeHuffington Post, May 20th
A recent eBay search yielded a <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/UNOPENED-FULL-20-OZ-BOTTLE-SURGE-SODA-COCA-COLA-SOFT-DRINK-ENERGY-DRINK-9-/140851919294?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20cb6db9be" target="_hplink">20 oz. bottle going for $250</a> and a...Read more