Coke_canadian_adI mentioned last week that for Coca-Cola’s 122nd birthday, I was hosting an appraisal event for the Coke employees in Atlanta.

Here are the top 5 pieces of memorabilia I saw at that event. These are my favorites because they were the most intriguing, though they might not hold the best value!

  1. Canadian 1930s cardboard pieces – Each was framed and in beautiful shape. They still had their rich colors, even with their age. The fact that they were from Canada – and not the U.S. – added to their value, because they are more difficult to find today.
  2. Playing cards from the 1950s – This was a set of two decks of cards in an elegant case – made to look like miniature leather-bound books. However, when I pulled out the cards themselves, they had pin-up girls on them, but no reference to Coca-Cola! Only the outside case had a Coke trademark. Very unusual!
  3. A mid-1940s restored Cavalier Coca-Cola cooler – Fortunately the employee with the cooler brought in a photo for me to see! Coolers and vending machines do well when restored (though that’s not the case for many collectibles), and this one was restored to working condition and a rich Coca-Cola red.
  4. Coke_outer_space_dispensers_2A Coca-Cola Space Can, a Russian Space Can, bottles used with space dispensers and a full display – One of our employees had a great set of space cans and bottles from the 1980s and 1990s, together with customized displays. It’s rare to see even one of these items, so this was a lucky employee who had so many pieces from our historical trips into outer space.
  5. Two toy route trucks from the 1950s – Both were in very good condition, and estimated to be worth $500-$600 each. Toy trucks are among the most desirable categories of collectibles. For many collectors, they are tangible reminders of their childhoods.

Coke_playing_cards_2At the event, we gave prizes for the oldest item and the most unusual piece. The most unusual, as you might guess, went for the pin-up girl playing cards! The oldest was a 1925 serving tray. The tray had a bit of wear and tear (it had “been well-loved,” as we say), but was a nice piece.

Coke_canadian_piece_3I saw some valuable pieces as well. The 1940s Coke cooler was worth $3,000-$4,000, and the Canadian cardboard pieces were in such good shape – and quite rare – that they could have sold for a few thousand dollars each.

Note - May 19: I've been asked to show a photo of the other cardboard piece from Canada, which I've included here.