Pepsi collectibles & memorabilia
Pepsi is a soft drink invented in 1893. Advertising memorabilia related to the brand is a popular area of collectibles.Background
The Pepsi soft drink, invented by Caleb Bradham at his drugstore, was introduced as ‘Brad’s Drink’ in 1893. It was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898, after the digestive enzyme pepsin, and the kola nuts used in the recipe, and became simply Pepsi in 1961.
In 1909, automobile race pioneer Barney Oldfield endorsed Pepsi-Cola, as ‘a bully drink… refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race’.
The advertising theme ‘Delicious and Healthful’ was used for two decades.
After the introduction of a twelve ounce bottle in 1936 , a radio advertising campaign played the jingle: ‘Pepsi-Cola hits the spot, twelve full ounces, that’s a lot, twice as much for a nickel, too, Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you’. This was an attempt to undersell competitors Coca-Cola during the economic crisis, and indeed Pepsi gained in popularity as a result. ‘Pepsi Cola hits the spot’ remained the main slogan for the drink until the late 1950s.
Actress Polly Bergen was used to promote Pepsi products, and film actress Joan Crawford married a Pepsi president and became a spokesperson for the company.
In the 1940s, new Pepsi-Cola president Walter Mack noticed that African Americans were an untapped market. He targeted advertising towards them and hired a black sales team. The adverts from this era promote positive images of black Americans at a time when there was much discrimination against them, and are an interesting historical collectible.
Collectible items of Pepsi memorabilia
- Antique and vintage Pepsi-Cola advertising signs of porcelain, tin or cardboard from the late 19th century to the 1970s.
- Embossed glass bottles.
- Bottles retaining their original paper labels are very rare
- Vintage cans featuring historic Pepsi-Cola logos and slogans can fetch between $10 and $100.
- Vintage and limited edition packaging.
- Merchandise such as clocks, trays, thermometers, fountain dispensers, cookie jars, soda coolers, bottle openers, snow globes, radios, lighters, matchbooks, toys etc.
Variants and other products
The Pepsi Cola company produced the soft drink Mountain Dew from 1964 onwards. 1960s Mountain Dew bottles, advertising signs, merchandise, fountains etc are a rare and popular area of collectible.
You can find vintage Pepsi Cola collectibles on internet auction sites such as eBay, at yard sales, flea markets, garage sales and through trading with other collectors.
The Pepsi Cola logo was redesigned for the first time in 1926, then again in 1929, and then several times over the next few decades. The Pepsi Cola Collectors Club has a useful guide to the changing logos through time.
There is a comprehensive collecting guidebook by Bob Stoddard, a leading authority on Pepsi-Cola memorabilia, entitled ‘Encylopedia of Pepsi-Cola collectibles’. This is a good start for anyone wanting to learn more about the diverse array of Pepsi memorabilia.
- Antique Pepsi Cola urn/syrup dispenser, sold for $31,750 at Rich Penn Auctions in 2005.
- Early 1900s Miss Pepsi Cola Cardboard sign, sold for $10,000 at Dan Morphy Auctions in 2009.
- Rare Pepsi Cola patrol boy school crossing sign, sold for $7,500 at Dan Morphy Auctions in 2012.
- 1930s Pepsi Cola advertising mirror, sold for $5,500 at Dan Morphy Auctions in 2012.
- Vintage Pepsi Vendorlater soda vending machine. Sold for $4,750 at Burley Auction Group in 2012.
- 1909 Pepsi Cola serving tray, sold for $4,500 at Dan Morphy Auctions in 2008.
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