Coca-Cola collectibles and memorabilia
Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 in the US by Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton. It was first sold at Jacob’s Pharmacy as a medicinal tonic and until 1905 contained extracts of cocaine and the kola nut.
Today it is the leading soft drink manufacturer in the world.
The Coco-Cola logo and the sweeping designs of its bottles are extremely distinctive, and the brand has become an iconic part of American culture making items popular with collectors. There are a number of organizations dedicated to the collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia, including the Coca-Cola Collectors Club which has more than 3,500 members worldwide.
Memorabilia can range from clocks and advertising signs to trays, vending machines and coolers. The company has produced a vast array of promotional items throughout its history, and the most valuable and sought after are those which were never offered for sale to the general public. For information on specific areas of Coca-Cola colelctibles, please see the following articles:
Commemorative bottles, honouring important events, can be bought for a few pounds or dollars at markets and can potentially make good profits. Unopened commemorative bottles from the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston can sell for hundreds of dollars due to their rarity.
Fakes and reproductions
A number of fake trays and calendars have been produced since the 1970s, making it harder for collectors to find genuine items. The American nostalgia boom of the 1970s also saw a wide range of items such as mirrors, clocks and trays created with designs from the earlier years of the company, meaning many modern reproductions can be mistaken for more valuable originals.
In 2008 a colourful tin serving tray featuring a partially clad woman sold at Morphy Auctions for $16,100.
An 1890s lithographed tin tray illustrated with a Gibson Girl drinking a glass of Coca-Cola sold for $12,075 in 2008.
A 1961-62 Andy Warhol painting of a Coca-Cola bottle sold for $35.4m at Sotheby’s in 2010. The black and white piece achieved $10m above its pre-sale estimate.