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Global craze to cash in on Coca-Cola memorabilia

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Auctions are the most likely source to augment their collections.

Thousands of people all over the world collect memorabilia related to Coca-Cola, with Chapters of The Coca-Cola Collectors Club operating in many countries. Auctions are the most likely source to augment their collections.

Founded in 1974, the club is a non-profit organisation for Coke memorabilia collectors. It annually stages a large-scale convention where memorabilia are auctioned and delegates exchange stories about their acquisitions. Speakers give presentations on topics ranging from the hundreds of Coca-Cola branded pencils collected all over the world to Coke collectables’ preservation, with a Coca-Cola quiz game a popular item on the agenda.

A big event is the Friday auction, when Coca-Cola related items are sold in a marathon session. At a recent annual meeting, notable items included a Beatles poster, an Italian card set with an unusual box, and a Coke promotional bat used by US baseball star Nellie Fox.

The Beatles poster’s presale estimates were between $150 to $250 (about R1825 to R3040) but it fetched $2400. The Fox bat went for $550 and is now on display at The World of Coke, a museum in Coke’s birthplace Atlanta, Georgia. The museum is devoted to the history of the beverage now drunk by almost two billion people a day.

Coca-Cola history began in 1886 when an Atlanta pharmacist, Dr John S Pemberton, created a distinctive-tasting soft drink to be sold at soda fountains. He took his flavoured syrup to his neighbourhood pharmacy, where it was mixed with carbonated water, and deemed “excellent” by all who tasted it. Pemberton’s partner and bookkeeper, Frank M Robinson, is credited with naming the beverage “Coca-Cola” and designing the trademarked, distinctive script still used by the company today.

The most expensive Coca-Cola collectable yet sold is a 33cm glass globe covered in a mosaic of green, red, white and ivory stained glass. The chandelier sold on auction for more than $161000.

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