Collectors today can find an enormous selection of Coca-cola memorabilia and collectibles, Coca-Cola collectors divide themselves up into smaller groups of collectors. There are those who specialize in bottles, cans, clocks, signs, toys, trays, and many other groups. Some collectors focus on just one group of items while others collect a little bit of everything. There are several items you can start your Coca-Cola collection with including bottles, wooden crates, metal serving trays, and calendars.
Coca-Cola did not originally intend to sell its products in bottles. In fact, the first man to bottle Coca-Cola did so without the permission of the company; in 1894 Joseph Biedenharn began to bottle Coke so customers could take the carbonated drink to picnics and other spots outside of the soda fountain. There are many styles, and even colors, of Coca-Cola bottles. The earliest bottles had very different shapes from the contour bottles we see today. Most bottlers produced clear bottles, but some bottlers went with light green, a widely used and less expensive color. Because bottles were still hand-blown into molds until about 1910, irregularities were common. In addition to the embossed “Coca-Cola” on the bottles themselves, bottlers also glued a diamond-shaped paper label to the side of each bottle to further identify its contents. Dating Coca-Cola bottles made after 1916 is relatively straightforward, thanks to the manufacturer’s numbers on the base or bottom of the bottle. These four-digit numbers, which are separated into pairs by a dash, identify the bottle mold (the first two numbers) and the year of its manufacture (“30,” for example, would indicate 1930). Newer bottles also have four-digit numbers, but they provide even more information. In these bottles, the first digit represents the year, the second indicates the mold, the third is the manufacturer’s symbol, and the fourth identifies the plant where the glass bottle was blown.
Coca-Cola Wooden Cases
Wooden cartons were generally used in the 1940s while paper was in relatively short supply due to the outbreak of World War II. These wooden cartons come in a variety of shapes and sizes with different designs. Coca-Cola also made wooden crates meant to hold a dozen bottles as well as wooden carriers for six-packs, often made out of planks of wood but in some cases made of bent veneers. There are often a wide variety of cases and crates available on Ebay.
Coca-Cola Metal Trays
Coca-Cola began distributing tin serving and change trays to soda fountains in 1897. Trays produced from that date until 1968 belong to the first, or classic, period of Coca-Cola trays. Because trays made from 1970 onward were often reissues of older trays or were made from new materials, these trays belong to the modern age of Coke trays. The earliest trays often have the slogan “Delicious and Refreshing,” but slogans changed over time, with phrases like “Drink Coca-Cola,” “Coke Refreshes You Best,” “Here’s a Coke for you,” and “Be Really Refreshed!” Some trays had no slogan at all, only the familiar Coca-Cola logo.
The earliest known Coca-Cola advertising calendar was issued for 1891. Using the latest printing technology, the company published a beautiful full-color lithographed calendar with an image of a pretty young woman drinking Coke. It’s believed that Coca-Cola distributed at least one calendar every year, although calendars from 1905 and 1906 have never been found. Early calendars promoted the “health” benefits of Coke; for example, the 1897 calendar called “Victorian Girl” reads, “Delicious and Refreshing. Relieves Mental and Physical Exhaustion. Cures headaches.” A 1904 calendar is unusual because it features a little girl, breaking an unspoken rule of the era that discouraged using children in advertisements. The 1908 calendar contained the slogan “Good to the Last Drop,” which was later trademarked by Maxwell House Coffee.
Check out Collectors Weekly for more great info on collecting Coca-Cola.
During the mid 1960’s Avon began marketing novelty containers and the first Glass Car Decanter is introduced in 1968. This is followed over the next 25 years with hundreds of interesting novelty and figural decanters in both Men’s and Women’s lines. The product line itself grows to includes Fancy Soaps, Scented Candles and Holders, a complete Children’s Line of plastic toys filled with soaps and bubble baths, Stationery items, Christmas ornaments and Special Occasion gift packs, even Avon Jewelly introduced in 1971 and Family Fashions in 1973.
Here are some items to inspire your collection:
Napco used a wide array of marks for its head vases—some transfer marks and some paper labels. The paper labels feature various wording, such as: “A Napco Collection,” “Napco originals by Giftware,” “National Potteries Co., Cleveland, OH, Made in Japan,” and “Napcoware, Import Japan.”
Lego Imports-Goldman Morgan, the company’s full name, which represents a fusion of the first and last name of the company’s president: Leo Goldman. Based in New York, the manufacturer is known for distributing a variety of collectibles, including bar accessories, figurines, and mugs. The company’s head vases feature a paper label that reads: “Fine Quality Lego Japan.”
One of the largest head vase manufacturers in the world, Enesco was founded in 1959 by Eugene Freedman. Originally operating a small plastics and figurine company in Milwaukee, Freedman soon joined a Chicago-based import company, which had spun off of a prominent wholesale merchandising operation, N. Shure Co., the name of which morphed into N.S. Co.—and ultimately, Enesco.
The company began by marketing Southeast Asian giftware out of its modest Elk Grove, IL facilities; by the 80s, Enesco had expanded its presence throughout the U.S., and into Canada, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, and Europe. Most designs of Enesco head vases were made by Japanese pottery makers and are marked exclusively with paper labels
Ok so I’m still getting a feel for WordPress since moving from Blogger. As soon as I figure out what’s what here I’ll be posting some articles on vintage owls, collecting those owls and various other vintage and owl related topics.
I hope to share some of the knowledge I have gained over the last 2 1/2 years since I inherited my grandmother’s owl collection. I’ve learned about not only vintage owls but the owls actual owls they represent. I have met lots of owl fanatics over the years and I am hoping to share some of their stories with you.
If you love owls and or vintage feel free to contact me if you have a great story to tell about your chosen obsession.