You may have heard about the couple who recently dug up gold coins in their yard that are worth an estimated $10 million. Two plumbers digging at a construction site at Coca-Cola Headquarters in Atlanta dug up something every bit as intriguing (however not quite equal in the monetary category). While not worth as much money, the story of what plumbers Gary Dunning (originally from San Diego, California) and Mike Clark (originally from Columbus, Ohio) dug up is invaluable. 

When we heard a knock on the door in the Archives not long ago, on the other side was a man holding the Coca-Cola bottle pictured above that looked like it would be “Exhibit A” form an archaeological dig. I decided to take a walk to the “Hard Hat Required” construction area, donned a hard hat and met Gary and Mike, who took me to the spot and showed me the very hole the bottle was dug up from. What they told me was quite surprising.

You might think that many items would be found while digging deep into the ground over six months on the construction site, but believe it or not, the Coke bottle is the only thing they have found on this project – nothing else. While digging to hook up plumbing for a recyclable water fountain, the Coke bottle, which was produced in 1967, came up in a shovel full. Journeyman Plumber Gary Dunning’s first thought when they found the bottle? “Chuck that to the side, continue digging,” he said. 

The amazing part is that after digging with hand shovels, picks and large construction equipment, the bottle was still in one piece. “We were surprised that there were no breaks”, said Master Plumber Mike Clark. “It was intact and in good shape, no breaks. It was a little dirty but that was to be expected because it was in the ground all that time. But that’s the amazing part.” Gary added, “I could have hit it with the shovel at any time.”

The bottle was actually found almost directly above the Archives at the base of a building built in the 1960s. A typical bottle of this type in pristine condition normally sells for about $5 dollars. I’m glad they brought it down to share it with us.

Check out more great photos of the bottle taken by our team member Ginny Van Winkle here: Coca-Cola Archives Facebook 1967 Coca-Cola Bottle Photo Album



Gary Dunning, L and Mike Clark, R dug up this bottle while digging to hook up plumbing for a recyclable water fountain