RESTON, VA. -- You haven’t truly witnessed the affinity people have for the world’s most beloved beverage brand until you set foot in a
“Some of them know way more than me,” said
The convention brought together collectors from across the U.S. and Canada to share, buy and sell their treasures, and to meet new and old friends. Highlights of the five-day event included a seminar on distinguishing the "real thing" from fake artifacts, an auction preview where expert collectors predict how much each item will sell for, room hopping – like garage sale shopping – between collectors’ hotel rooms, an auction with everything from a branded bicycle to cardboard signs, and a massive indoor flea market of new and old
Here are five highlights of the event, through the lens of a newbie convention attendee:
1. Americana lives here.
The convention is a cross-section of America, from the collectors in attendance to their relics. Attendees from the Midwest mingle with Southerners, discussing and debating the origin of
Here, Americana thrives – red more prevalent than white and blue, of course – as attendees and collectibles harken back to when
2. Authenticity is subjective.
The value of an artifact cannot always be determined by whether it is real – manufactured by The
The exchange of folklore about various pieces is part of the mystery and part of the fun. This year, the talk of the convention was a large cloth Hi-Fi Club banner, which sold for nearly $1,000 at the auction. The Hi-Fi Club was a youth-centered club supported and promoted by The
The banner first appeared at the convention during the “What’s it Worth?” seminar, where a panel of experts estimated it could go for $600 to $1,500. The banner was then displayed as part of the auction preview for two days, as potential bidders inspected it among Santa cardboard cut-outs, framed posters and vintage menus.
3. Camaraderie over cost and collections.
Other than boasting their impressive
4. Anything goes.
Card board cut-outs of famous athletes. Fanny packs, bottle caps and a lone paper bag. Dinner trays, window displays, signs of all kinds, and clocks. Lots of clocks. If it dons the Coke bottle or distinctive script, it’s here and it’s for sale – for the right price. Just when you thought you’d seen it all, another gem surfaces. A matching comb, brush and mirror; a pewter train set; baseball cards; black, red and white gem-studded high heels that spell out Coke Zero, miniature cases of glass bottles; and even buttons that boast “I tried it! New Coke”.
“It's like opening the
Your eyes cannot possibly take in all the artifacts and knick-knacks that sprawl across table after table, or during room hopping, atop collectors’ hotel beds and dressers. Nothing is too new or old or unique or tacky. At some point, it was at least one person’s prize.
5. Fostering a memory.
Asking why someone started collecting
If you collected something based on your fondest memory, what would it be?
Interested in experiencing the convention in person next year or learning more about The
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