Antique Coca-Cola paperweight may be early World Fair piece

Q In 1969 we bought this old store building for an antique store. In cleaning the basement, we found this little Coca-Cola paperweight. There is only one more, and it is in the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta, Ga. This rare piece might be a good piece for auction. Can you give us some information about it? I am sending in a letter from the Coca-Cola museum. There is some writing on the bottom, which says Registered Patented PROlF. P.H., Lucasville, Ohio

A The original Coca-Cola recipe was developed by a druggist named John Pemberton of the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company in Columbus, Ga. In 1886, in response to prohibition legislation, Pemberton  marketed “Coca-Cola,” a non-alcoholic alternative to a French Wine Cola. Initially, it was marketed as a cure-all for many diseases due to the belief that carbonation was healthy. (We call it “Snake Oil.”)

The glass color and cap look late 19th or early 20th century. Paperweights were commissioned for advertising at major World Fair Expositions in limited numbers. This may be a very early example. As for auction suggestions, with your museum provenance (history), I would contact a very well-known auction company that specializes in rare paperweights. The auction house is L. (Larry) H. Selman Ltd. Auctions. It has been in business for more than 40 years and receives worldwide bidding. You can also contact Sotheby’s or Christie’s Auction houses as alternatives. (NOTE: Without the letter from the museum, this is the best I can do.)

Randeen M. Cummings Nelson is the principal at Cummings & Associates Personal Property Appraisal Services of Eugene, Ore. (541-345-5856). A speaker, writer and certified appraiser through the International Society of Appraisers, she operated her own antiques shop, Victorian Parlour Antiques, and a formerly managed the Coburg Inn Antique Shops of Coburg, Ore. She is an instructor on American Brilliant cut glass and has been featured in many antiques related publications. In addition, Nelson works at as one of thousands of experts in more than 150 categories (including antiques and collectibles) who provide fast and reliable information to users.

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