Coca-Cola serving trays
A Coca-Cola serving tray is a metal tray produced to advertise the Coca-Cola brand. They were first issued to retailers in 1897, and continue to be produced to this day.
There are two periods of Coca-Cola serving trays - the 'Classic' period from 1897 to 1970 and the 'Modern' period from 1970 onwards.
The earliest trays were round and lasted until 1905 when they were replaced by oval designs. Rectangular trays appeared in 1910, and continue to be standard shape for all trays ever since.
The first trays featured predominantly brown and green colour schemes, with the recognisable red colour scheme introduced in the late 1920s. Almost every tray featured a depiction of a female model in ever-changing styles of clothes. Male figures began to appear in the 1930s, but women remained the dominant theme.
The 1950s and 60s saw more and more trays featuring sceneic pictures rather than characters, but many of the original designs of the 1910s and 20s re-appeared on trays produced in the 'modern' period from 1970 onwards. It is important for collectors to check the dates of these trays, as they can be similar in appearance to the originals but worth far less on the collectibles markets.