Archive for September, 2010

Coca-Cola and Good Friends

September 30, 2010

          I joined the Coca-Cola Collectors Club for a few reasons, one-to have a place to look for bottles for my collection, two-to meet some local collectors and have a place to go and talk collectibles. I never imagined I would meet people from around the world!

            There are members in the Club from Japan to Belgium, Canada to Australia and several places in-between that I have met through the years and get to see them usually at the National Coca-Cola Collectors Club Convention.

            I wanted to mention one person I have gotten to know, Adrian from Australia.  Adrian is a member of The Coca-Cola Memorabilia Collectors Club Australia.

 I was doing an internet search one day on my book to see where it might show up at. I was surprised when the newsletter  showed up in my search and there was an article about my book!      I contacted Adrian, since he was the editor and thanked him for the article.   Since then we have been corresponding on a regular basis.  One place I have always wanted to go is Australia. Adrian has been telling me about the surrounding area.  We have also been exchanging Coca-Cola items. He has sent me several Australian bottles; 1960’s embossed Coca-Cola, America’s Cup Commemorative bottle, Coke Zero introduction bottle and box, Tresca bottles (the Australian version of Fresca), pens, bottle caps, yo-yo,  etc.  It has been great to find a fellow collector and exchange information and items. He also helped me obtain a copy of the book “The Real Thing; 70 years of Coca-Cola in South Australia”

Adrian has been a serious Coca-Cola Collector for the past 5 years. He worked for a Coca-Cola bottler for 36 years so he has a deep knowledge of Coca-Cola and makes it very interesting to trade emails with.  I don’t know if we will ever meet each other in person, but I have thoroughly enjoyed our ‘conversations’ and look forward to hearing more from him.

Cheers

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Sponge Bob Square Pants, a British Princess and Coca-Cola Light

September 23, 2010

What do Sponge Bob Square Pants, a British Princess and Coca-Cola Light all have in common?

 Believe it or not there is one common denominator, the International artist Todd White. For those of you who might not know a great deal about Todd, here is some background information.

            Todd was born in Texas in 1969, where his grandmother and mother, both artists, were a major influence on him. In the early 1990’s Todd had an opportunity to move to California. He ended up in Hollywood where he began a career in animation at Warner Bros. He worked on the popular Tiny Toons series. From there he went on to be a part of the lead design and animation team for SpongeBob SquarePants.

            Todd was chosen as the Official Artist of the 49th Grammy Awards in 2007 and in 2009 he was invited by Warner Bros. to be a part of a major exhibition commemorating the 70th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.

            In early 2010 he began work on a Special Project for Coca-Cola. Todd was selected as the first fine artist to design a set of limited edition Coca-Cola Light bottles and cans. There are six designs in the series which were released August 2010 in Mexico. At this time they are not scheduled to be released anywhere else.

The designs are:

Laughter

Kisses

Sundays

Traffic

Vacation

Happy Endings

Eating (This bottle was designed but appears to have not been released)

 I recently had the opportunity to interview Todd White about his latest project. This is what he had to say:

 Where do you draw your inspiration from?

TW   “From a number of sources.  Sometimes songs take me somewhere and I have to paint about it.  Sometimes I’ll see a photo or hear a conversation or phrase and it will inspire me to do my take on it.  But most of the time my inspiration just comes from life–thoughts floating around in my head that are randomly connected to life itself and the daily things that happen.”

 When you think of Coca-Cola, what memories or feelings does it stir in you?

TW  “For me, it was playing in Little League baseball games in Texas as a child.  After the game ended, all the players would go to the concession stand and get a free Coke.  Hot day + baseball + ice cold Coke = great fun.”

When and how did you first become interested in art/painting? When did you realize you had a talent for drawing?

TW  “I didn’t realize I could paint; I just always painted. I grew up in an artist household– my Mom is a painter as was my Grandmother, who passed away recently.  They were a big influence on me.  They always encouraged me with my art, whether it was with a box of crayons or a paint brush and paint.  As I grew, drawing, painting, and creating art was my sole focus–and I have the grades to prove it! As a child, I can remember watching my Mother paint all the time, smelling the turpentine in the air, hearing the sounds of her quietly painting.  That was my entertainment.  But before you can paint, you have to learn to draw.  I began with drawing, since it was so easy to do–pencil and paper and you’re off to the races.” 

 How was it working with The Coca-Cola Company on your bottle designs?

TW  “Working with Coca-Cola was exciting – Coke is part of our pop culture, a common touchstone for people all over the world.  It has inspired scores of artists, from Andy Warhol and Keith Haring to Norman Rockwell and Guy Peellaert and everyone in between. This served as my inspiration, both in working with Coca-Cola and in creating the initial sketches for the project.  Any marriage between art and the corporate world is precarious, at best, but in this case I think we have achieved something that invokes thoughts of joy, romance, laughter and intimacy, feelings that, like art itself, the world could use a little more of.”  

 What are you trying to convey in the Coca-Cola bottle art work?

TW  “The basic notion was to create sketches that would convey a single positive inspirational message or thought–such as ‘we need more romance’, ‘we need more laughter’ or ‘we need more happy endings’–that would serve to take the viewer to another place for a moment or two.”  

 What research did you do for the Coca-Cola Special Project?

TW  “Not much research, really, since I am drawing everyday.  I did have to think a lot about the project and what messages or thoughts might be conveyed by various images.  And there were many, many drafts that never made it to the bottles.  In fact, if you are interested in the evolution of the project, I will soon be releasing the six sketches that I originally conceived as part of a limited edition set.” 

 Will you be designing any other artwork for Coca-Cola in the future? OR Would you like to work with Coca-Cola on an artwork project again?

TW  “It was an honor to work with Coca-Cola, but I don’t know if we will work together again.  As an artist, I feel that it is very important to keep things special and unique.  You always want to be moving on, looking for new projects, new ways to be creative.  It meant a lot to me to work on this project at this time, but I’m not looking for a staff job.  lol.”

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It looks like we have a new set of collectible bottles and cans that may prove hard to find.

Oh, and where does the British Princess fit into all of this? Well, on September 23rd Todd White will unveil his portrait of Princess Diana in London, England at the Royal Exchange for the The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

I would like to thank Todd White for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.

For more information on Todd White be sure to check out his website: www.toddwhite.com

To see this article in a magazine format with pictures, you will need to subscribe to ‘Cola Conquest’ magazine.  Be sure and check out this link and sign up today!  http://www.colaconquest.com/

Experiment is a Failure

September 23, 2010

Yesterday I tried the bread experiment with the paper label. It didn’t do a thing!  Did not remove any dirt from the label.  It sounded good in theory.   I ended up taking a slightly dampened sponge over the bottle and around the label, which cleaned the glass nicely.   I did not touch the label at all.

Daring Experiment

September 21, 2010

 I am often trying to find new ways to clean bottles. One of the hardest bottles to clean are the paper label type. I recently came across a foil label Diamond Pattern Coca-Cola bottle. This bottle is much sought after and is hard to find.

    The label on my bottle is dirty. but I can’t use any water or liquid cleaner on it for fear the label will become damaged.  Someone told me a secret to cleaning the labels. White bread…..yes, just a piece of white bread and simply drag it across the label. It will supposedly clean the label and the dirt will stick to the bread.    I am going to attempt to clean my bottle today using bread. I hate to test it on such a hard to find bottle, but that is where the ‘Daring’ comes into this experiment!

I will test a few small areas first, then if it looks like it will be OK, I will try it on the entire label.

Why am I going to try this on such a rare bottle? Well, just trying to help my fellow collectors AND sometimes you just have to live dangerously!

Wish me luck!

Coca-Cola Collectibles of Tomorrow

September 14, 2010

    What will future Coca-Cola Collectors look for?  What items will increase in value?    It is hard to say what will be considered a Coca-Cola collectible in the future. But, we can look at past items that have increased or held its value and be able to get a good gage on what might be considered collectible.

Old Coca-Cola Bottles: Hutchinson, Straight Sided  and early contour will hold their value. Although the Hutch bottles have been selling for less than they used to, they will still be sought after. A good Coke Hutch used to bring $3000 to $3500. Now, they have been selling for around $1500 to $2000. The main reason these bottles will be considered collectible is just because they are the earliest bottles that held Coca-Cola. They will only become more scarce as time goes by.

       Foreign bottles also seem to do well now. Many foreign bottlers still use returnable bottles and they are protective of their bottles. Although the bottle may be common in the Country of origin, here in the U.S. the bottle can sell very well as foreign bottles don’t make their way here easily.

    Early trays and advertising pieces will continue to hold or increase in value. Recent items that will increase in value will be some of the short-lived Coca-Cola products such as Coca-Cola Blak and C2. Even New Coke items are popular. Any of these items should increase in value, items to look for, bottles, cans, signs, special promotion items and Point of Sale advertising items.

      One item that has increased in value and is starting to be considered collectible are the cans and No Deposit bottles (glass and plastic) of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The cans and bottles of today have a short life span. Once consumed the items end up in local landfills or are recycled. Future collectors will want a pristine example of these and they will not be easy to find. I know a few collectors who are already saving examples of current items. It may take some time for them to increase in value, but considered the low price you pay today at the store for the item, it will increase in value. The only thing is storage of them. They will take up space.

Another area of items that will hold or increase value are items issued specifically from The Coca-Cola Company to employees such as: service pins and rings, special issue bottles (limited quantity made), special issued items for a product launch or a milestone within the company.

It is impossible to say what items will actually be worth a great deal in the future. I’ve based my views on what collectors look for now and items that have held their value.

Happy Collecting!

Tell me what you think will be THE future collectible for Coca-Cola.

A Bottle Expert

September 14, 2010

     I had discussed only one of Cecil Munsey’s books  in a past post.  Mr Munsey has a vast knowledge of bottles and collecting, among other things. I have always found his articles and books of great interest.

     I thought I would share the link to his website. There you can find articles covering a wide range of subjects from Britney Spears to evolution of Santa Claus to an Octopus flask to Seven Up, Coca-Cola and countless other bottle articles.  He also has photographs of various collectibles, etc. You just need to check it out. I am sure you will find something worth reading!!

   My favorite article is ‘Spelling Counts on eBay’.  Be sure and check that article out!  The website is easy to use and search.

http://cecilmunsey.com/

A Local Coca-Cola Bottlers History

September 8, 2010

         I’ve recommended books here on my blog that give you a glimpse into the past history of a bottlers life. I found this document several years ago and now it is available online and thought I would share it with you.

          It is from the Rodman Public Library in Alliance, Ohio. The transcript is from a taped interview of Roy and Howard Fullmer, second generation Coca-Cola Bottlers. It describes life as a bottler from the mid 1910’s to the late 1960’s.  It tells of all the problems and issues they faced and what caused many of the small bottlers to close their doors. The interview is from 1973.

  Enjoy!

http://www.rodmanlibrary.com/rpl/history/oral_history/fullmer.pdf

Your Independent Coca-Cola Bottler Part 4

September 8, 2010

           By 1960, The Coca-Cola Company would bring about a change and introduce a new flavored product line that many bottlers would be interested in because it would bear the Coca-Cola trademark and The Coca-Cola Company would be in charge of the national advertising campaigns.

            Although The Coca-Cola Company began to offer flavored beverages the Bottlers were independent of each other and independent of The Coca-Cola Company; bottlers were not required to carry any new product offered by The Coca-Cola Company. Some bottlers chose NOT to carry the product line of The Coca-Cola Company and continued to bottle their in-house brand for many years. One reason the bottlers were not eager to change over was due to the cost of dumping the bottles they had for the local brand, then purchasing the new product bottles. The Coca-Cola Company was eager for the bottlers to dump there old flavor lines, because many of them would compete with products of The Coca-Cola Company.

          The independent bottling system proved effective for many years. In the late 1970’s there were nearly 400 independent bottlers but by the early 1980’s consolidation reduced the number of independent bottlers to 180. The new competitive environment of the 1980’s required the quick changing of products and marketing strategy which the independent bottler had a hard time handling. The Coca-Cola Company bought out a few of the independent bottlers who were no longer interested in the business. By 1986 The Coca-Cola Company had combined its few company owned bottlers with two large independent bottlers to create a new company, Coca-Cola Enterprises, which took over the bottling side of the business. They continued to acquire bottlers and territories over the next several years. In the early 1990’s, a few of the remaining independent bottlers continued to use returnable bottles for their flavor line as well as for The Coca-Cola Company products.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading the ‘Your Independent Coca-Cola Bottler’ series.  I will be bringing more article series such as this one in the future.