Posted 8 months ago
Got back yesterday evening, after driving from Elizabethtown Kentucky to Orlando Florida. 12-hour trip. Worth every mile. Great time. I arrived on Wednesday early evening, checked into the same hotel that Septemberfest, a regional Coke chapter convention was being held at...and just a few blocks away from the Schmidt Museum auction.
Did a bit of "room-hopping" on Wednesday evening. For those that don't know the term "room-hopping;" it doesn't have anything to do with wife swapping so get your minds out of the gutter. Room-hopping is when Coke collectors transform their hotel rooms into mini Coke stores, spreading their Coke items on their beds, dressers, tables...even bringing in extra shelving units. Then they place a Coke sign outside their hotel door, usually with their name and where they're from, prop the door open and you're invited to buy Coke stuff out of their room. There was probably 30+ rooms open on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday. But the main reason for my 12-hour trip was to attend the Schmidt Auction in person. And to hopefully, come home with a few treasures.
Thursday morning, doors opened at 10:00 am for auction preview as well as purchasing items at the museum store. There were racks of cardboard signs, all with foam-core backing and shrink-wrapped, many in decent condition, but unfortunately, in the much larger, undesirable size of 27" x 56." Still, in decent condition and decent prices of $275.
Had I had "deep Daddy_Nobucks pockets," I would've bought them all.
Aside from the cardboard displays, there were a few tin signs, some very large porcelain signs, old wooden cases, lots of bulk items, cardboard cartons, bins of grocery cart bottle holders, stacks of trays from the 40s and 50s as well as early oval trays, ashtrays, service pins, glassware, paper items....you name it. And they brought out different items each day.
During the auction preview on Thursday, I was approached by a local newspaper reporter and asked a few questions pertaining to the museum and my own collection...and it was published in the Friday morning edition!
Saturday morning, doors opened at 8:00 am. There was about 200 participants. Heavy security inside and outside. Parking lot filled up quick so they started parking down the road. Lunch was catered. And free! BBQ pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, bratwurst, hotdogs, Coke products, bottled water, potato chips, cookies...all free and as much as you wanted. The auction started at 10:00 am. The auctioneer had a computer monitor to watch, as he was taking bids from the crowd plus viewing bids on the computer screen. Plus there were assistants manning the phone bids.
It was exciting...and I got to rub elbows with Phil Mooney and Ted Ryan, from The Coca-Cola Company Archives, Randy Schaeffer and Bill Bateman, two of the gurus of early Coca-Cola memorabilia as well as authors of a few books on Coke collecting, Gary Metz, Dan Morphy, Richard Opfer, Richard Mix, Dennis Bardin, President of The Coca-Cola Collectors Club, Jan Schmidt, Larry Schmidt....
I had my sights on a lot of the vintage paper items like the advertising manuals. Unfortunately, I didn't win those but I did win an extremely rare collection of early 1930s Cooler Sales contest booklets. These are in near mint condition and feature great premium gifts for Coke salesmen that sell a certain amount of Coke cases to businesses. Additional brochures plus inserts were included.
I'll post a few more photos of the auction....
There will be one last auction, the weekend of next March 22nd. They will be "selling to the walls," and selling everything and in huge bulk lots too. The second floor of the museum is a warehouse, still full of a lot of interesting items and they are still discovering some early items. There's also unopened boxes and cases of vintage Coke stuff. During the auction store, they brought down a few boxes of Coca-Cola book covers from the 50s. 1,000 to a box. Mint condition. Selling for $2.00 each. Common item, but still...gives you an idea of what is still upstairs.
I will definitely be planning on attending the next March auction.