We recently received photographs and a letter from a young collector that I wanted to share with you. James Love is only 17 years old, but he has already amassed a wonderful collection. I reached out to James with some questions and here are his answers.
What was your first item and how did you begin collecting?
As a young child, I sort of grew up with Coke. My aunt worked for The Coca-Cola Company and sent me a stuffed polar bear when I was about 5. In 2000, when I was 8, we took a trip to Atlanta to visit my aunt, and she took us The World of Coke Museum. I saw an old 1950’s vending machine, and there were people around the machine putting quarters in it and a glass bottle would come out. I was completely drawn toward this machine because I had never seen a glass bottle before and I thought it was very unique. I drank one of the glass bottles, loved the taste, and saved the bottle as a memory. Later that night my family went to a grocery store and I saw a six-pack of glass bottles. I had to have it. I bought it drank them all and saved them. Well we got back home and I put these bottles on a shelf in my room as a memory. Then I remembered that stuffed polar bear that I was given to me; took it out of the toy chest and put it on display as well.
What are your favorite items in your collection?
I think the most important ones would have to be the stuffed polar bear and those glass bottles that started it all. I don’t think that I would have a collection if it were not fore these items. Next, I think back to the summer of 2008 when I returned to Atlanta. My aunt set up a meeting for me with a vice president, Mary Riddle, who is also from Danville. I showed her pictures of my collection and she loved them. A couple weeks later she came by my house and gave me an Olympic pin and coin set. This was very special to me because it is very rare and it was given to me by someone of The Coca-Cola Company. Another item or set of items that is very important to me is my National Geographic magazines. I have about 150 National Geographics. Every one has a Coca-Cola add on them. The reason they are special is the dates of the magazines. The National Geographics dates range from 1937 to 1964.
How do you get the items for your collection?
My collection has grown tremendously since that first bottle. However, I have purchased maybe 10 percent of my collection. 90 percent has been given to me as gifts. For 10 years I have received Coca-Cola memorabilia for both Christmas’s and birthdays. Many kids want toys and electronics but I wanted Coca-Cola. Many of my friends say I am addicted to Coca-Cola, but I always tell them, “ It’s not an addiction, it’s dedication.”