I mentioned last week that for Coca-Cola’s 122nd birthday, I was hosting an appraisal event for the Coke employees in Atlanta.
Here are the top 5 pieces of memorabilia I saw at that event. These are my favorites because they were the most intriguing, though they might not hold the best value!
- Canadian 1930s cardboard pieces – Each was framed and in beautiful shape. They still had their rich colors, even with their age. The fact that they were from Canada – and not the U.S. – added to their value, because they are more difficult to find today.
- Playing cards from the 1950s – This was a set of two decks of cards in an elegant case – made to look like miniature leather-bound books. However, when I pulled out the cards themselves, they had pin-up girls on them, but no reference to Coca-Cola! Only the outside case had a Coke trademark. Very unusual!
- A mid-1940s restored Cavalier Coca-Cola cooler – Fortunately the employee with the cooler brought in a photo for me to see! Coolers and vending machines do well when restored (though that’s not the case for many collectibles), and this one was restored to working condition and a rich Coca-Cola red.
- A Coca-Cola Space Can, a Russian Space Can, bottles used with space dispensers and a full display – One of our employees had a great set of space cans and bottles from the 1980s and 1990s, together with customized displays. It’s rare to see even one of these items, so this was a lucky employee who had so many pieces from our historical trips into outer space.
- Two toy route trucks from the 1950s – Both were in very good condition, and estimated to be worth $500-$600 each. Toy trucks are among the most desirable categories of collectibles. For many collectors, they are tangible reminders of their childhoods.
At the event, we gave prizes for the oldest item and the most unusual piece. The most unusual, as you might guess, went for the pin-up girl playing cards! The oldest was a 1925 serving tray. The tray had a bit of wear and tear (it had “been well-loved,” as we say), but was a nice piece.
I saw some valuable pieces as well. The 1940s Coke cooler was worth $3,000-$4,000, and the Canadian cardboard pieces were in such good shape – and quite rare – that they could have sold for a few thousand dollars each.
More on Journey
- Meet Shirley Hasley: The Accidental Coke Model Who Helped Make History
- The Story of Frank O'Hara's ‘Having a Coke With You’ Poem
- Primary Color: Why Sprite Has Sported Green Since 1961
- Celebrating the Champs: The Storied History of Coke's Commemorative Sports Cans (and Bottles)
- Sitting In and Standing Up: Unsung Heroes of Civil Rights Movement Reflect on Soda Fountain Protests