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

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Recent News: Coca Cola

Source: Google News

African tribe who 'raise' voodoo dolls as if they are alive
Daily Mail, August 30th

The food is accompanied by water and carbonated drinks like Fanta and Coca Cola because, according to the voodoo belief system, sugar is equated with peace. 'In giving sugar to the statues, you increase your chances of having a better life because the ...Read more

A store of a different flavor
Hays Daily News, August 29th

WAKEENEY — TJ Ellis, 11, hopped onto a stool on a sleepy late summer afternoon, and ordered his favorite soft drink at Gibson Health Mart's old-fashioned soda shoppe, 125 N. Main. “They're awesome,” he said explaining the reason he likes to visit the ...Read more

Die-hard LSU fans turn a former Coca-Cola truck into the ultimate tailgating ...
The Advocate, August 29th

From the purple and gold LSU flags and Tiger symbols, you might find it hard to believe that the old Ford L7000 diesel spent a full life as a Coca-Cola delivery truck and was in the process of being “decommissioned” when Jeff Koonce and his late ...Read more

Visions of musical icons danced in his head
Aitkin Independent Age, August 29th

They carried the iconic flavor throughout the event in terms of branding with trademark items, such as Budweiser Beer and Coca-Cola to cater to the 40-plus crowd, Caroline said. And the ... “How old was I? I don't know. I was little.” But he didn't...Read more

Denver's EPS Doublet makes off-the-wall ideas come to life
The Denver Post, August 28th

EPS Doublet designs and builds customized, pop-up interactive displays for the marketing agencies that represent global companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Jaguar and Nintendo. In the company's 150,000-square-foot warehouse in east Denver, wood ...Read more

Carousel Fails to Sell at Auction
Maine Antique Digest, August 28th

Also on the block were petroliana, automobilia, McDonald's and Coca-Cola memorabilia, and assorted rides, games, and other items. The auction was a first for Mecum, said Dan Mecum, as the company usually sells cars, motorcycles, and tractors at 12 to...Read more

Juarez shop specializes in antique, unique and artisan
Borderzine (blog), August 25th

The store has two U.S. suppliers for collectible items. “There are big companies from the U.S. that send us vintage things or replicas that we sell,” Morales said. Popular collectibles include Coca-Cola and Mexican Lottery items. “I have met collectors...Read more

Coca-Cola marks contour bottle's 100th birthday
Channel News Asia, August 6th

According to Coca-Cola's website, it was designed by Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana in 1915, and it was introduced the following year. The company later introduced plastic versions of the bottles in the 1970s. A recent Coca-Cola Collectors' ...Read more