A research journey

Connecting Coca-Cola with coins
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Published : 01/23/13
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Most people who enjoy collecting coins also collect other things, and one of the most popular collecting areas can be found in Coca-Cola memorabilia.

Coin World senior staff writer Paul Gilkes spent more than three months researching the intersection of Coca-Cola and numismatics. His research journey spanned law libraries, coin and antique dealers, private collectors, museums, historical societies and the Coca-Cola Company itself.

Paul shared, “The most challenging part was learning about the legislative proposals seeking intermediate coin denominations, including a 7½-cent coin.

“Although there are extensive citations online and in published historical accounts suggesting Coca-Cola President Robert W. Woodruff penned correspondence directly to the Treasury Department and President Eisenhower seeking such a coin, the Coca-Cola Company archives do not have evidence of the original correspondence or any copies.

“There was also no such record in the archives of the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kan., where the chief archivist conducted an exhaustive search and came up empty.

“What proved to be the most insightful into the question of intermediate coinage and Coca-Cola’s involvement was a copy of a March 1950 letter from an independent bottler provided to Coin World by an economist at Emory University who in 2004 questioned why the price of Coke stayed at 5 cents for more than 70 years and who also detailed efforts to contain the price.

“From there, I stumbled upon a reference concerning two days of congressional hearings in March 1950 devoted to intermediate coinage legislative proposals. Finally, the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University provided the 73 pages of congressional testimony outlining intermediate coinage efforts dating back to the early 20th century.”

Phew! Thankfully, as Paul points out, collecting numismatic Coca-Cola items is not nearly as challenging as unraveling the beverage firm’s connection to coins.

Steve Roach

sroach@coinworld.com

COIN WORLD ... anywhere, anytime!

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