Coca Cola Collectibles

The fascinating world of Coca Cola memorabilia

Coca cola collectibles have a history that goes almost as far back as the soda itself. The original recipe was introduced into drugstores in 1886 as a soda fountain drink, and has remained popular for well over a century. Other soft drink companies have tried, but none have been able to match Coke's success in the marketplace or the collectibles world.

With Coca Cola celebrating its 120th anniversary, millions of people around the world are proud to call themselves collectors of Coca Cola memorabilia. Whether it's the tie to happy childhood memories or just a love for the simplicity and elegance of the logo, Coca Cola collectibles appeal to people for as many different reasons as there are personalities.

The trademark curved bottle was first introduced in 1915 and has gone through several makeovers to bring its look up to date. For some collectors, though, nothing beats the original glass bottle. This nostalgia has led many Coke lovers to collect the numerous original Coca Cola bottles and cans that have been introduced since its birth.

More popular than the cans and bottles, however, are the tin signs that were used to advertise Coca Cola outside drugstores. These signs have proved to be a favorite among Coca Cola collectibles, and reproductions have become available at many novelty and hobby stores. This has also led to a need to be knowledgeable about your Coke history, since the proliferation of reproductions also means a proliferation of unscrupulous traders who have no qualms about selling reproductions of collectable Coca Cola signs to novice collectors who don't know the difference between the two.

One of the earliest available kinds of Coca Cola collectibles are the famed calendars, first introduced as early as 1891. An original calendar from the beginning of the 20th century can be quite valuable, not just because they are so rare, but because they also give modern historians a glimpse of the era in which they were created. Because they are so scarce, calendars have become one of the most valuable and sought-after pieces of Coca Cola memorabilia.

If you're in the market for one of these treasures, make sure you've done your homework! Water damage, holes or tears can significantly reduce the value of a calendar, though if you're more interested in novelty or sentimental value, a few minor imperfections can bring down the price to a more affordable range.

Possibly THE most popular modern Coca Cola collectibles are toys, mugs and stuffed animals that bear the image of the Coca Cola Polar Bear, who was first introduced in 1993. Originally thought up as a seasonal mascot, the Polar Bear became so popular that an entire advertising campaign was launched featuring him, his friends and later, his family. Nearly every kind of Coca Cola collectible you can imagine has been created with the Polar Bear's face, from Christmas ornaments to candy dispensers and dishes.

So where does a collector go to find all this great stuff? Well, plenty of memorabilia is available through the usual Internet channels, but there is actually an official Collector's Club sponsored by the Coca Cola company where all kinds of collectors, from novices to longtime enthusiasts can meet and swap facts, tips and even pieces of their collection.

The Official Collector's Club website includes a listing of local and regional chapters in your area and a question and answer forum for sharing information. Joining the Club is fairly inexpensive and gives members the privileges of a monthly newsletter, members-only markets to buy, sell and trade goods and special member's exclusive Coca Cola memorabilia offered each month. It also connects you to fellow collectors around the world, giving members the chance to obtain rare and interesting Coca Cola collectibles from other countries.

However, a true collector's dream can be found at the Annual Convention, where lovers of Coca Cola collectables gather once a year to show off their treasures and see what other collectors have to offer. It's a great place to meet others who are interested in your hobby, as well as trade any extras you might have.

Because of the rarity of some of the more valuable pieces of Coca Cola memorabilia, keeping your collection and your investment safe is a top priority. All collectibles should be kept away from excessive heat and moisture, but this goes double for any paper products, such as calendars, postcards or stamps.

Calendars are best kept in airtight boxes with acid-free tissue paper lining, especially if they are extremely old or valuable. It's best to keep handling to a minimum to prevent flaking or creasing the paper as well. Do not handle them with your bare hands, as the oils in your fingers can cause irreparable harm to the fibers of the paper. A pair of latex or white cotton gloves are the best protection if you must handle your paper collectibles, but be sure that they are clean before you proceed.

Metal signs must be kept away from moisture to avoid corrosion and rust damage. If your antique sign becomes dirty or damaged, consult a professional metal smith before attempting to do any kind of repairs or cleaning on your own. Modern cleansers can be disastrous to the finish of antique metals, sometimes abrasive enough to strip off paint and scratch the metal underneath. Taking good care of your sign should prevent you from having to face this worry, however, so make sure you treat it well.

Coca Cola collectibles are available in a variety of styles, designs and price ranges that makes them very attractive to both new and old collectors alike. However, American collectibles are only part of the fun! As the Coca Cola brand continues to reach new countries and territories, you can rest assured that there will be a whole new world of Coca Cola memorabilia out there for the collecting in the years to come.

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