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What was the Art Deco style originally known as?

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Art Deco Collectibles: Fashionable Objets from the Jazz Age
by Rodney Capstick-Dale &
Diana Capstick-Dale

In the 1920s and 1930s the Art Deco style influenced everything from art and architecture, interiors and furnishings, automobiles and boats to the small, personal objects that were part of everyday life: Featuring high-quality photography and vintage illustrations and ephemera, this book brings these objects to life in exquisite detail for the first time. The objects in this themed book encompass the Deco style at its most alluring, as well as the modernity, excitement, and social revolution of the Jazz Age.

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French Art Deco Geometric Brooch

When It Comes to Coca-Cola Collectibles―
Buyer Beware

by Bob Brooke


Coca-Cola has been an icon of American culture since the 19th century. And since its founding, Coca-Cola has produced a fountain of antiques and collectibles.

History of the Coca-Cola Brand
John Pemberton, a pharmacist, created Coke syrup in 1886. He convinced a nearby soda fountain in Atlanta to add carbonated water and give it a try. At first the drink was only a modest success, Pemberton and his partner, Frank Robertson, came up with the name Coca-Cola, scripted in a flowing hand by Robertson. That, plus a series of hand-painted banners encouraged passers-by to "Drink Coca-Cola," was the beginning of a successful marketing campaign that lives on to this day.

Coca-Cola has used its particular shade of red in its merchandising for more than a century, and its distinctive trademark has remained virtually unchanged from the original.

Even though Pemberton and Robertson founded the company in the late 1890s, collecting Coca-Cola advertising items---beautiful models printed on trays, calendars, signs, and even tiny pocket mirrors—didn’t begin to get popular until the early 20th century. Coca-Cola print advertising onto just about anything and gave these items out at state fairs and schools in towns all across the country.

Coke’s advertising department placed many of the large, gorgeous cardboards and metal advertisements with store owners and gas stations as temporary promotional displays intended for seasonal use. Many ended in the trash just like those of today. People used signs to patch holes in roofs, line attic walls, or for target practice.

They cut down calendars to use as photo backings. Just like today, these were disposable but also useful for other purposes. On rare occasions, a shopkeeper might even save displays.

Collecting Coca-Cola Advertising
Coca-Cola splashed its trademark logo onto just about everything, including its bottles, cans, crates, and vending machines. So the variety of items available ranges widely from little key chains to large sign boards. Generally, collectors like items produced from the late 1800s to the 1960s and avoid newer items.

The general public didn’t take much notice to collecting Coca-Cola until 1971 when a collector/dealer from Texas named Jim Cope pioneered a small softcover yellow book called “Soda Water Advertising.”

Soon afterward in the same year, a man named Shelly Goldstein started publishing yellow softcover Coca-Cola price guides with the items in full color. The following year in 1972, a hard-cover book appeared written by Cecil Munsey called “The Illustrated Guide to the Collectibles of Coca-Cola.” In 1974, the first edition of Allan Petretti’s “Coca-Cola Collectibles Price Guide” came out. It eventually went through 12 editions, with the last one appearing in 2008. Petretti added more features and items over the years. His last 645-page guide is still the quintessential reference book for Coca-Cola collectors today.

Of particular interest were items from the first decade of the 20th century, with beautiful models printed on trays, calendars, signs, and even tiny pocket mirrors. The company gave out these items liberally from state fairs to schools in towns all across the United States and around the world.

And that’s another reason collecting Coca-Cola advertising is so popular—it literally has become a global phenomenon.

The location of the trademark notification has also varied throughout the years. Early on, the trademark appeared inside the long trailing C in “Coca.” Starting in the 1940s, The company moved it to a position under the entire word “Coca-Cola.” That happened because the Coca-Cola Company lost a court case. The result was the loss of the trademark control over of “Cola” since the trademark notification was only under “Coca,” not under both parts of the logo.

This change was great for collectors who want to date Coca-Cola items as being before 1940 but can lead to many problems for dating items made after 1940. Naturally many novice collectors don’t know the difference and end up paying way too much for items produced more recently.

Coke items can be found anywhere at virtually any price point. The low and middle market for Coca-Cola collecting has been steady but not what it once was in its heyday. The top end, mint and exceptionally rare, continues to be strong and growing. With TV programs like American Pickers and Pawn Stars, the market is solid for Coca-Cola signs. Original Coca-Cola signs, metal or porcelain, are fetching heavy money and breaking sales records.

The market for Coke-related items has always been relatively good because of the shear number of items produced. Whether it’s a new Super Bowl bottle or an old calendar. It’s a good idea for beginning collectors to do research before making an expensive purchase and to consult more than one source for information.

EBay alone lists over 200,000 collectibles for sale, ranging from original 6.5-ounce glass bottles for 99 cents each to lifetime assortments well into six figures. Restored and working vending machines can cost $10,000 or more. Early porcelain signs and those with original neon enhancements frequently sell for thousands as well. And because of the huge variety of merchandise, many collectors tend to specialize by era, type or size.

Because Coca Cola has been around for over 130 years, there’s a huge number of collectible items on the market. And with the proliferation of online auction and sales sites, the number has steadily grown. But this means there’s an even greater chance that some of these items are reproductions or outright fakes.

The difference between a reproduction and a fake is that there never was an original item like the fake. At first, the Coca-Cola Company made it easy to make their reproductions look like the originals produced 50 to 100 years before. For example, the reproduction trays from 1974 had only a small written notice on the rim of the trays to say they were recently made. But savvy sellers could easily remove the notice by scraping it off with a pocket knife.

The overwhelming number of reproductions of Coca-Cola collectibles makes it imperative that collectors learn as much as possible Coca-Cola items. Beginners can learn a lot from price guides and online forums.

Reproduction serving trays from the 1930s, for example, have a note on the back saying so. The original had sharper lithography with a dark-colored back while the reproduction trays had less-than-sharp lithography and a light colored back.

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