Coke Show Time

Collectors Swap and Meet at National Memorabilia Conference


Everyone has a story about Coca‑Cola.

Just ask the Coke memorabilia collectors who attended the national convention in Adelaide last weekend.

For more than 70 delegates, it was a chance to get together and swap tales on their favourite topic: collecting.

The 11th National Convention was hosted by the Coca‑Cola Memorabilia Collector's Club of South Australia and its president Valerie Beatty. The convention is held in a different state every two years. 

Delegates came from near and far, with attendees from the host state South Australia, and as far away as New Zealand and Japan. Everyone had the same purpose: share their common passion for collecting anything and everything with a Coke trademark.

At the conference’s swap meet delegates showed off collections of yo-yos, glassware and posters alongside the curious and the rare, like the C3-PO-inspired miniature toy robot.

Heather King, club treasurer, explained the story of finding her very first piece of Coke memorabilia as the beginning of a lifetime of collecting. 

"We were in Atlanta, Georgia, where we'd bought a heap of stuff when the lady behind the counter brought out this sand bottle. I said 'how much?' She said nine dollars so I said 'yes, well I'll have that',” Heather said.

Heather and her husband very carefully transported the delicate item back to Australia where at a convention in Melbourne it won the Best-of Series, a competition for the best objects on show. Heather has refused to sell the unique item.

“I’m planning to hand it down to my son,” she explained.

Club president Valerie Beatty's collecting habit started back in the 1960s.

“As the youngest of eight kids we were a keen sporting family and the Coke show was the one thing my parents would take me to,” Valerie said.

Valerie’s husband Jeff Beatty began collecting at the same age, when he joined the Coca‑Cola bottler's club. Jeff has a special interest in compiling the history of service pins given out to Coca‑Cola employees.

"I've taken it upon myself to compile a history, and I’ve been in touch with the company's head office in Atlanta.” Jeff explained.

Collectors including Valerie and Jeff described their interest in passionate terms, backed by stories of friendship in the collecting community.

"We are passionate collectors,” Valerie explained.

“We would put money into collecting where other people would put their money into going on holidays."

The next national convention of Coca‑Cola Memorabilia Collectors will be held at the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, in 2015.

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