by Dr. Lori Verderame
While there is a lot to know about collecting glass bottles in general, there are specific tricks of the trade when it comes to narrowing the scope of your glass bottle collecting interest to one area of the field like Coca Cola bottles.
Collecting old Coca Cola soda bottles is based largely on condition, origin, bottling town, type of bottle, and type. There are many reasons why a collector wants to collect a particular type of soda bottle. It may be because of the soda bottle’s origin from a particular part of the country, its color, its shape, the embossed marks on the bottle, and many other factors.
One of the most common forms of soda bottles is the Hutchinson soda bottle. The C. G. Hutchinson company made the highly recognizable soda bottle that has a round shouldered bottle with a unique stopper. The Hutchinson bottle was patented in 1879 with its unusual metal loop and stopper. These bottles were made from the early 1880s until circa 1915. Rare Hutchinson Coca Cola bottles of the Hutchinson type used from circa 1890s to 1910s bottled in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi are sold today to collectors for as much as $2,000 to $4,000.
In addition to the Hutchinson soda bottles, there are also other soda bottles. These bottles, produced in the 1930s, have a characteristic applied-color label on them. These are the types of soda bottles that would have the name of the drink plastered across its body like Coca Cola.
Hutchinson bottles were replaced by straight sided bottles in clear and light green and amber color. These colored bottles were popular in the Midwestern and Southern United States. Later, these bottles were replaced by the easy to find contoured bottles and bottle caps that featured the Coca Cola script logo on them. They feel good in your hand and that is a major aspect of Coke’s innovative marketing.
Syrup bottles and Seltzer bottles
Coca Cola sold its syrup to soda fountains and drug stores. Those bottles that held the syrup have become collectibles of the 1900s to the 1920s. Some of these syrup bottles sell for between $5,000 and $10,000. Like syrup bottles, seltzer bottles are collectible but their market is not as competitive. These seltzer bottles command a few hundred dollars each.
What to Look For
Soda bottles from particular bottlers in certain cities and towns are collectible today. There are nearly 1500 different towns where Coca Cola was bottled and certain rare bottles from a certain town could sell to a collector for as much as $500 each. Look for ornate etching on syrup bottles with various decorative colors, logos, figures, animals, etc. Coca Cola prototype bottles can bring big money as can bottles with unique attributes. Not sure of the age of your bottle? Read tips on how to determine its age.
Get an online appraisal report of your Coca Cola bottle from Dr. Lori.