The Hi-Fi (“High Fidelity”) Club was a national network of music and dance clubs that emerged in the late-1950s, supported by Coca-Cola bottlers. The club generated numerous collectibles bearing the Hi-Fi logo, including rare banners that used to hang at the club’s dances.
The banners tells the story of a time when an estimated 2 million teens registered to be Hi-Fi members and dance to Coke-curated DJ sets. It tells the story of a time when communities created positive social outlets to keep teens out of trouble.
When Morris first saw the banner, he knew it would fit well in his collection. “When I’m looking for an item, I look for a story,” he said. To claim the banner, Morris needed to buy it at auction. And that meant outbidding several other passionate collectors vying for the cherished find.
A Coca-Cola collector since he was in eighth grade, Morris is no novice to the world of fast-talking, snap decision-making, high-stakes bidding. Though auctions are no longer “overwhelming” to him, they’re certainly “just as exciting as they always were.”
“Once I got past the quantity of stuff, then it was just realizing how many people care and love the Coca-Cola brand like I do,” he said. “There are thousands of them that are part of the Coca-Cola Collectors Club.”
Beyond the banner, this community brought Morris to Reston. On several nights during the weeklong convention, he stayed out until 2 a.m. “room hopping” (a convention tradition in which people display their collections in their hotel rooms).
After a week of mingling and smaller-scale purchases, Morris obtained the banner for $900 – considered a steal by in-the-know aficionados.
Morris returned home after the auction to hang his most recent acquisition in the Cedartown (Ga.) Museum of Coca-Cola – his family’s public space for his personal Coca-Cola collection. There, he hopes that the banner alongside his other Hi-Fi items will help tell the story of the club and the brand that supported it.
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