Coca-Cola memorabilia auction tonight features over 1,000 vintage items
Albertan's 40-year collection goes on the auction block, everything from bottles to vending machines
Hall's Auction Services is holding an auction tonight of one man's massive, lifelong Coca-Cola collection — more than 1,000 items of Coke memorabilia.
Kevin King is the owner and president of Hall's, and he took CBC's Jenny Howe through the collection earlier in the day.
The online auction is happening at 7 p.m., featuring a wide range of Coca-Cola-themed items, from a Hawaiian shirt to a box full of plush polar bears, as well as the usual bottles, coolers and signage. It's all the result of one man's 40 years of collecting.
The collector, who lives in central Alberta, has chosen to remain anonymous.
For an advance peek, the full catalogue is posted at hallsauction.com
The auction has 275 individual lots.
There are early vending machines that still function. There's a bottle cooler, pre-electric refrigeration that uses actual ice to keep the bottles cool. It would have been used in a store, and comes complete with Canadian advertising signs from the St. Thomas Metal Sign company in Ontario.
King says that item is sitting at more than $4,000.
He points out a particular vending machine, a compact bottle cooler that dispenses cold drinks.
"There is one vending machine that I can remember the same model being in my grandfather's gas station in small town Saskatchewan," he said. "And so when I was just a young guy, real tiny, and I'd go see my grandfather at his gas station. He would open up the machine and take out a cold bottle of Coke and give it to me.
So that's got a memory for me. So that's a special piece."
King says that item, with its narrow footprint, is one of the more collectible vending machines that Coca-Cola produced, making it "a favourite of collectors."
Most of the vending machines and bottle coolers could still work, King said.
"Most of these machines are functional," he said. "They will still cool your bottles."
There are a lot of Coca-Cola bottles, as well, and a lot of tray signs.
"Coca-Cola is really the master marketer of the 20th century. They put their name and logo on pretty much anything that you can imagine. And that's why they've stayed at the front for 150 years," King said.
He points out Mexican bottles, Disney limited-edition bottles, Las Vegas limited-edition bottles.
"Coke wasn't shy about putting their logo out and sponsoring everything. I mean, Coke … is an official sponsor of the Olympics. So there would have been limited edition bottles done for each of the Olympics. Going back I don't know how long."
Some of the bottles have never been opened, but King says that doesn't necessarily increase the value.
"It is the bottle itself and not necessarily the content, but it only takes two collectors to make that decision. And then if they can test it up to a higher price, then they're worth more if they decide that."
The online auction begins at 7 p.m.
With files from the Calgary Homestretch