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]

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Recent News: Coca Cola

Source: Google News

Christie's to Sell Works From Twombly's Collection
New York Times, September 18th

When Cy Twombly collectors hear that Christie's is planning to sell 11 works from his foundation on Nov. 12 and 13, they will immediately assume they will be a selection of that ... Like the Coca-Cola bottle, this 50-inch-long drawing is a Pop...Read more

Lexington's 4th Antique Show and Sale Happening This Weekend
Lexington Leader, September 18th

Joseph and Anna Kachinski bring a wonderful assortment of American Indian relics, and antique fishing gear. Pat Rodriguez, a regular at Austin's City-Wide Garage Sales, returns to Lexington featuring Coca Cola memorabilia, vintage and antique toys...Read more

Top 10 Reasons You Might Care About Scotland Vote: Opening Line
Bloomberg, September 18th

Coke and Pepsi. Apple and Samsung. FedEx and UPS. Bloomberg and Telerate. (What? Since when?) There are some industries in which two giants slug it out in a never-ending attempt at supremacy, followed by a litter of runts. When was the last time you...Read more

Garbage in, Money Out: My Stroll With Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola
Huffington Post, September 16th

When you think of garbage collectors, what comes to mind? Unfortunate poor illiterate men and women who are not certified ... Wecyclers has developed strategic partnerships with leading companies including the Nigerian Bottling Company, DHL and Coca...Read more

New illy Cup Collection Supports Emerging Artists and Raises Broader ...
The Providence Journal, September 16th

Officially named the sustainArt collection for EXPO, it is one of the most prolific endeavors for an illy cup collection that will serve as "World's Fair" collector memorabilia while also creating a legacy for the biggest event in the world dedicated...Read more

Looking back: A Coke and a smile
Myhorrynews, September 16th

The wine cola was a mixture of cocoa, kola nut, sugar, and domaina. The doctor proclaimed his new syrup cured morphine addiction, impotence, fatigue, and the dreaded headache. The drink was diluted with water and ice cubes and contained 8.46 mg of ...Read more

Cinnaminson man's Coca-Cola collection is a work of art
The Intelligencer, September 14th

“I've met many people who live or work in Camden who are avid collectors, individuals who have developed an informed eye or a particular taste for a certain kind of image or object,” he said is a statement to the press. “The public will gain insight...Read more

St. X freshman deals in antiques, collectibles
The Courier-Journal, August 26th

As the owner of Thomas' Antiques and Collectables, he specializes in Coca-Cola memorabilia and old oil cans, and — like any up-to-date businessman — also does some online buying and selling. Businessman isn't quite the right word, because Thomas ...Read more