Things go better with these
types of collectibles
Lynn Hopper - Feb 2009
One of the annoying things about some collectibles is that
they are finite: Once you've got them all, the thrill of the
hunt is over. But with Coca-Cola collectibles, it is almost
a bottomless pit.
It's hard to believe that anyone could amass all the things
Coke has produced over the 123 years of its existence. Of
course, there is a great difference in desirability of
items, and therefore, in price. This puts Coke collecting
within the reach of nearly everyone.
Reader E.T. asks about an older Coke ink blotter. The
Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta, said there was no information
in its records of such an item. However, a friend and I very
quickly found the exact blotter in two books on Coke
A blotter, an absorbent piece of paper for soaking up
fountain-pen ink, was used in the days before less-leaky
ballpoint pens. E.T.'s blotter features a Coke advertising
icon of the 1940s and '50s: Frosty, an elf with flowing
white hair and a Coke bottle-cap hat. And, of course, an
ice-cold bottle of Coke.
All paper goods are considered ephemera, so it is very
important that the blotter was never used, and from
appearances, this one never was. That's the good news.
The bad news is the Frosty blotters, though certainly not
common, are not terribly pricey.
The "C.J. Summers Guide to Coca-Cola Collectibles, 7th
edition," lists the blotter at $35 to $40, while "Petretti's
Coca-Cola Collectible Price Guide, 12th edition," puts it at
$5. That's quite a range -- which brings us to the issue of
how much price guides can be trusted.
It boils down to a universal truth for all antiques and
collectibles: They are worth whatever someone will pay for
But, the price guides do give some idea of where to start,
and in higher instances, how much insurance to put on an
Condition, rarity and general attractiveness (or in some
cases, wackiness) also figure into a price. In the case of
Coke blotters, there seem to be many listed at about $5, but
really old ones -- and remember, this can easily go back 100
years -- can be $1,000 or more.
Higher prices are more usual in Coke collectibles, which
include clocks, trays, displays, bottles, promotional items
such as pencils, cufflinks and pocket mirrors, as well as
tin signs, toy trucks and even vending machines.
"Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide" puts the highest value
for a Coke item at $15,000 for an 1897 tray featuring a
Victorian woman. A 1913 paper sign lists at $11,000, and a
1920s Tiffany-style leaded glass lamp, $4,800. Most of the
many entries are in the $100 to $500 range.
However, Schroeder's points out two dangers in Coke
collecting: reproductions and fantasy pieces. Some copies
are so good only a Coke expert can tell if they are
authentic. Fantasy pieces are newly made items that never
existed as originals, but look as if they might have.
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