It's easy to start a collection. Trading cards, keyrings, snow domes; they're usually items that signify a memory or a feeling, and most of us at one time or another would have started collecting.
What is it that keeps us collecting? Is it the excitement of finding a new piece? The friendship that forms when you find people who share the same passion?
For Craig, or "Gup" to his mates, it's a mix of the two. He's an avid collector of Coca-Cola bottles.
Growing up in the 1970s, he spent a lot of time at the local milk bar. In order to play his favorite arcade games he'd exchange a Coke bottle for 20 cents to use on pinball or space invaders.
As he got older, Craig found himself spending less time on pinball machines and more time searching for Coca-Cola memorabilia. After his wife passed away, Craig focused his attention on expanding his Coca-Cola collection seriously. In doing so, he found something totally unexpected: friendship.
Not only did Craig find hundreds of objects reminiscent of his childhood, he also found friendship with fellow collectors Michael and Wayne. A happy accident, Craig met the two online while searching for Coca-Cola collectibles and has been friends with them ever since.
Like Craig, Michael has thousands of pieces on display including an original and unopened Australian bottle from 1944. Wayne on the other hand, has been collecting Coke products for more than a decade but has kept them stored away for years.
After months of recording Wayne’s inventory, Michael and Craig travelled down to Wayne’s small country town in Victoria to help him set up his collection for all to see.
“I am very excited. Whether you collect Coke products or diecast cars, any collector will appreciate the effort and the work that’s gone into what we have,” Wayne said.
“Coming up here, seeing Wayne’s collection, helping out, he has got so much awesome stuff. This would definitely be my most memorable story,” said Craig.
But as exciting as it is to finally see Wayne’s collection in the light, the friendship the three collectors have formed is just as exciting and one that extends beyond their display rooms.
“I feel that my Coke collection is very important not just for the fact that I’ve got a collection but also I’ve got so many different people that I’ve actually become friends with,” fellow collector Michael said.
“I think the friendship that we’ve made through collecting has been really good, over the last 14 years,” said Wayne.
“It’s been great. I can say it’s a friendship that will last forever,” Craig said.