Collectors Columns by fionan


									Collectors Columns

                     A Collectors Look at the World of Coca-Cola
                     By Bill Combs. A collector since 1986, Bill is a former president and vice president
                     of The Coca-Cola Collectors Club.

                     This Collectors Column describes the first World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, which closed in
                     April 2007. Our new WOCC features new memorabilia representing our history.

                     We've all read plenty of "tourist"-type articles about the Coke museum in Atlanta.
                     The World of Coca-Cola is very successful and one of Atlanta's best tourist
                     attractions. Coca-Cola Collectors Club members line up at their doors during the
                     Springtime in Atlanta convention, and locals enjoy the tree lighting ceremony and
                     the many other events held throughout the year. This time let's take a look at just
                     a few of the great items on display in what my boss called, after his visit to the
                     WOCC, the "Mecca of Coca-Cola collecting."

                                            I took my time at each display and tried to find some of the
                                            items that I had missed from earlier visits. I wanted to
                                            highlight these items as well as some of the "biggies." The
                                            "biggies" being those items that Coca-Cola collectors should
                                            not miss. I'm drawn to items from the 1940s and I love
                                            foreign items, so there are plenty of things that I'm
                                            interested in, and I'm sure you'll find other favorites during
                                            your visit. One thing you should do is take your time. There's
                                            no rush to get through and you'll be surprised at the depth
                                            of the collection. When I say depth, I mean that in a couple
                                            of ways. Yes it's an incredible assortment of all types of
                                            Coca-Cola items from throughout the company's long
                     history, but the displays are also deep. You can easily miss a great item in the
                     display cases as five or 10 great items may be displayed in the same small area.
                     Check out the area behind that can, sign or tray you're looking at. There just may
                     be an early 1900s trolley sign being used as a background.

                                                       So let's take a look at just a few of the items that I
                                                       found. The first display was just full of great really
                                                       early pieces -- a real treat for both new collectors
                                                       and those who have been at it for far longer than I
                                                       have. Many of these pieces will only be seen here.
                                                       Anything from the early Atlanta days of Coke is
                                                       hard to find and those days are well represented in
                     this case. The half page ad from Asa Candler touting his new product "The
                     Wonderful Nerve and Brain Tonic and Remarkable Therapeutic Agent Coca-Cola"
                     is in mint condition. You've got to wonder why that slogan never caught on! We're
                     really fortunate that history like this has survived.

                     One of the earliest calendars known to exist, the 1891 DE-LEC-TA-LAVE & Coca-
                     Cola calendar, from Asa C. Candler & Co. is also on display in the first showcase.
                     Here's one of your few chances to see this calendar live. I had only seen this one
                     in books before the WOCC opened.
Collectors Columns

                     I was lucky enough to hear two Club members give a talk highlighting Coca-Cola
                     change purses and wallets at one of our local meetings. Since that seminar I'm
                     always looking for older and interesting versions. The WOCC has three of the best
                     on display in the first showcase -- one early change purse and two different ones
                     using the straight-sided bottle for decoration. Don't miss these small rare items.
                     True Coca-Cola collectors should take the time to really explore these displays.

                                                   I spoke earlier about trolley signs. If you want to see
                                                   some fine examples, just check out the first few
                                                   cases. There are at least five or six great examples
                                                   on display. The same can be said for festoons. I
                                                   don't know about you, but I'd love to own as many
                                                   festoons as I could. Unfortunately there's not
                                                   enough room in my home to display more than one
                     or two. OK, there's more room but the chances of getting my wife to allow me to
                     line every border in my home with festoons is slim to none. The folks at the WOCC
                     have plenty of space and no spouses to contend with, so festoons are displayed
                     proudly throughout the museum. One of the festoon highlights for me is the
                     festoon with each piece being a single letter spelling out the words Coca-Cola.
                     I'd be happy just to own the centerpiece.

                     There's an early set of dice embossed with the Coca-Cola logo in these cases as
                     well. Here's an example of an item that has most likely been on display since
                     WOCC opened, but I've passed it by 10 times with hardly a glace. It's far too easy
                     to miss a great item here.

                     Now with all of this I've barely made it out of the first few cases. In an effort to
                     keep this from becoming a column that's too long to read, I'll just jump around
                     the building and send you to see a few more items. When you get there and
                     really look around, it's hard to pick out the cream of the crop. It's all good.

                                         Can collectors will get to see examples in pristine condition.
                                         Don't miss the two cone-top cans. The 16- and 32-ounce cans
                                         were packaged "specially for use at home and on outings."
                                         Displayed in the background of a series of items from the 40s
                                         is a great wartime "Share-Fair Plan" sign. This cardboard gives
                                         the dealers' pledge to give every customer an equal
                                         opportunity to buy rationed items at a fair price "to help win
                                         the war." Items like this were in short supply at the time, and
                                         are even harder to find today.

                                 A leaded glass bottle and a round leaded glass light are on display
                                 as well. If you've followed auctions lately, you've just seen the round
                                 version sell for an astronomical price. Here's a chance to get a good
                                 look at one close-up. The bottle is a bit harder to find. (Here's a hint -
                                 look up.) The large glass bottle sits on top of one display glass shining
                                 proudly, not looking 80 years old at all.
Collectors Columns

                     Santa collectors will not be disappointed. Santa can be found on quite a few
                     different items in each area. My personal favorites are the "Thirst knows no
                     season" bottle topper made for the large display bottle, the large die cut 3-D
                     image of Santa removing his tired face while enjoying a glass of Coke, the great
                     carton wrap featuring Santa and the tall paper banner with Santa offering a cold
                     bottle of Coca-Cola from the center of a Christmas wreath. The bottle topper uses
                     a great pre-Sundblom [artist Haddon Sundblom] image of Santa that you just
                     can't find on many items.

                     If I've got to pick a favorite item in this building of favorites, you might be surprised
                     at just how easy it is for me. Sure I'd love to have just a fraction of these items in
                     my home, and I'd have a great collection with just that fraction, but there is one
                     item that stands out for me. It's the black match dispenser on display in the soda
                     fountain. I'm not sure why this item has always attracted my attention, but it has
                     from my first visit to the World of Coca-Cola. It's such an unusual item with its art
                     deco design and use of black and white rather than the usual red and white
                     colors. It has that slick look of the streamlined machines and is just a great piece.
                     It wouldn't take up the space of a festoon or machine and would look great on
                     any shelf. On my first trip to WOCC, I took quite a few photos of this one and was
                     every bit as interested in it just a few months ago.

                     Speaking of big machines that take up lots of room, you'll have a great chance to
                     see an early Mills machine in mint condition on display here as well. You really
                     don't see many Mills machines at all, and this one is a fine example. While we're
                     on machines, you don't have to look far back in the history of The Coca-Cola
                     Company to find an extremely rare machine. Let's go back to 1985. Many
                     collectors have the Coca-Cola space can in their collection, but how many of us
                     have the actual dispenser used in space? That's right; you can see the dispenser
                     used to top off those space cans just a few feet away from the Mills.

                     I haven't even scratched the surface of the collection or the building itself. I haven't
                     covered the bottling operation that greets you at the entrance of the museum. I
                     didn't cover the movies, the commercials or the many interactive displays. I didn't
                     go into the great collection of foreign items. I didn't even mention the fountain
                     where soda shoots across the room or where you have the chance to sample
                     Coke products from around the world. What about the store where our members
                     have been known to spend their entire visit, skipping the museum completely?
                     Well I can't cover it all and, after all, that's what this article was about. There's so
                     much to see and do here, don't miss the great items covering every inch of this
                     exhibit. Take your time and search out those items that you may only see here.
                     Definitely make this one of your "can't miss" stops during your visit to Atlanta.

To top