DUNWOODY, Ga. — Coke memorabilia aficionados kicked off the country’s second largest meeting of collectors with an auction of rare advertising and merchandising materials of the iconic beverage brand.
The annual Springtime in Atlanta event drew more than 400 collectors to the Crowne Plaza Ravinia Hotel Thursday to bid on Coca-Cola Co. items ranging from vintage neon signs to a myriad of historical bottles, posters and promotional hardware.
Coca-Cola archivist Phil Moodey, who has searched for lost and unknown treasures for more than three decades, is surprised at what he finds at every show.
“If we do see something that fits into our collection – that enhances it in some way – then we’ll certainly try to acquire it,” Moodey said.
Oscar Segovia, a collector with an eye on the 1950s era, missed out on some desired items at the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia in Elizabethtown, Ky., in March but was the winning bidder of some small metal signs.
With prices ranging from less than a dollar to well into four figures, nearly every bidder could walk away with a desirable artifact.
After more than 30 years of collecting, vendor James McDonald has narrowed his real love of collecting and selling to the company’s paper advertising.
Standing with a $1500 “Betty” calendar from 1914 that stood almost five feet tall, McDonald summed up his love for Coke on a historical level.
“I started with a small bottle collection and decided that the bottles were not what I wanted then I got into the early stuff. Today, I guess, that’s ancient history.”
The event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today only.