Coke – it isn’t a soft drink, it’s kin
  • Readers ask about Coke, newspapers and books
  • Coke & a sandwich for pennies
  • " />
    Auction Finds

    1939 Coke “Springboard Girl” tray

    The man was visibly perturbed. The auctioneer had just ended bidding on the vintage Coke tray at $55 and given it to an absentee bidder. The man was heatedly protesting. He had accepted the final bid, he said rather loudly. No, you didn’t, the auctioneer shot back.

    The rest of us just stood there watching impatiently as the two engaged in their verbal tussle. The man, a regular auction-goer, didn’t back down. It was clear that he wanted that tray and he was not about to be intimidated.

    A 1939 Coke tray called "Springboard Girl" sold at auction.

    Finally, the auctioneer relented and began the bidding at $55. A few back-and-forths later and the man got the Coke tray, paying $80 for a woman in a white bathing suit holding a Coke.

    I understood his persistence. I had written about Coca Cola memorabilia before, and I knew that it was very collectible. In fact, I had even Googled the tray on my Droid, curious about how much it was going for on eBay. I found similar trays selling for $150 and $325, but there were no nibbles.

    Once the bidding was over, I chatted with the man. He told me that he had seen the tray selling on eBay for about $250. The tray was obviously vintage, not like the 1970s reproduction Coke tray I had gotten in a box lot once. It was called the “Springboard Girl,” created by artist Haddon Sundblom who was most famous for his Coke Santa Claus ads.

    This one had a date of 1939 in tiny print on the inside bottom. The man was surprised when I showed him the date because he had not noticed it. This tray, he pointed out, had a bold red and white Coke logo at the top, different from those he’d seen on the web.

    How valuable are these trays? I know that all Coke products are not top money-bringers. You have to know what is worth $80 and what is worth $5. As for the trays, as one site noted, hundreds of them were made and sold – an indication that they are plentiful, so you have to be smart about what you buy and collect.

    Coke began distributing the trays to soda fountains in 1897, some years before it bottled its product (word to novice collectors: there were no bottles in early Coke ads). The tray was round; rectangular shapes didn’t come until 1910.

    The tray at auction was part of what Collectors Weekly called the “classic period” of Coke-tray production, from the beginning up until the 1970s when the company reissued some trays from the 1910s and 1920s.

    A 1903 Coke tray featuring Hilda Clark at auction in 2008.

    Like most of the trays, the 1930s featured white women but this time in bathing suits. The earliest face on Coke ads was that of music hall performer Hilda Clark, who became the company’s spokeswoman around 1895. Some sites said hers was the first face on a Coke tray. Such actresses as Frances Dee and Maureen O’Sullivan posed for some of the trays. The most collectible of which, according to Collectors Weekly, was a 1934 tray featuring O’Sullivan and her Tarzan co-star Johnny Weismuller.

    The images on the trays range from Victorian women to flappers to World War II brides to lazy summer days with a Coke to children playing. Coke is said to have produced hundreds of styles of trays, which some observers see as representing the styles, history and fashions of the country. The Encyclopedia of Coca Cola Trays boasts that it features 370 U.S., 80 Canadian, and more than 60 Mexican, Italian and German trays.

    I got an email once from someone whose relative had appeared on one of the early trays and he was trying to find it. I suggested that he try the internet, where I was able to find several entries for Springboard Girl (which doesn’t make it very rare).

    But if you happen to come across an authentic late 19th-century Victorian Girl tray, you may want to hang on to it. A Kentucky family that will soon sell its Coke collection has such a tray valued at $30,000. Even the archivist for the Coca Cola company was impressed. It was so rare, he said, that the company doesn’t even have one in its collection.

    Tagged as: ,

    Leave a Response

    Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

    bbc galapagos las islas que cambiaron el mundogalapagos cruise reviewsbest cruise ships galapagos islandsbest family galapagos cruisebest time to go to galapagos and machu picchubest time to go to peru and galapagosbiotech bedrijf galapagosbiotechnologiebedrijf galapagosbudget galapagos boat toursbudget galapagos cruise pricescaracteristicas de las islas galapagos antiguascaracteristicas de las islas galapagos flora y faunacaracteristicas de las islas galapagos mas antiguascaracteristicas islas antiguas galapagoscaracteristicas islas mas antiguas galapagoscelebrity cruise galapagos machu picchucelebrity cruise lines galapagos islandscelebrity cruises galapagos machu picchucelebrity cruises galapagos reviewscelebrity cruises galapagos xpeditioncelebrity xpedition galapagos 2014celebrity xpedition galapagos cancelledcelebrity xpedition galapagos cruisecelebrity xpedition galapagos cruise 2014celebrity xpedition galapagos excursionscelebrity xpedition galapagos machu picchucelebrity xpedition galapagos price