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cokemanracer

Commemorative Soft Drink bottles, all brands, ACLs
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Hello everyone. I’ve been a collector of soft drink bottles since the 1970s, started out with commemoratives along with a few ACL’s and began collecting the ACL’s more so about fifteen years ago. My first job in high school was in a grocery store and as the new kid I was assigned to sorting and racking returnable bottles, the worst job in the store according to others but I loved it. Found a 7up commemorative bottle saluting the Notre Dame 1973 NCAA Champion football team and a hobby was born for me. And, living in a college town students would often bring back local ACL bottles for deposit and since they weren’t sold in the area the store would be stuck with them. In 1974 there were still a lot of out of market local soda companies out there but the store would take them anyway. I asked the owner one day if I could buy them for the deposit and he was more than glad to get rid of them, he just gave them to me. He said after a while there would be so many, they would be thrown in the dumpster out back and the store would lose out on the deposit anyway. I worked there for two years and brought home probably ten cases of bottles, lack of space at home and a bit of pressure from the parents limited what I could keep.

The local delivery drivers would also sometimes save bottles for me. I asked a few questions, found others who had the same interest and discovered there was a commemorative soft drink collector club in Ohio, about a three hour drive for me. I made a few trips there, picked up a lot of bottles and learned quite a bit also. Eventually made more contacts and established a small network of other collectors. Later joined the Coca-Cola Collectors Club and also the local state Chapter. Made a lot of good friends there and we often pick up bottles for each other.

I’ve always collected any brand of soft drink, and probably like the 7up stuff best of all. Always liked the green color, and the first few bottles I found were 7up. I collect Coca-Cola like most others but always loved the contrasting colors with Pepsi-Cola, Dr Pepper, RC, etc. And there are a lot of commemorative bottles out there with no company name on the neck (no-logo), made for sports teams and anything else one could imagine.

On family vacations, we usually camped out and if we stopped at a local grocery I’d head straight to the “pop aisle”, as I called it. Sometimes found a bottle, sometimes not but it was fun to look. Today, it really doesn’t matter where you are; all the stores carry pretty much the same thing. For the past several years, we take day or weekend trips and hit antique malls and local flea markets. I own a tax preparation business and it allows ample time in the summer and fall to travel and shop. Plus, I love Indycar racing and will often combine a race with a few days of shopping. But any more, it’s difficult to find better bottles in the malls. It seems no matter where we go it’s usually mostly commons or grossly overpriced bottles on the shelves. But once in a while will find something better than commons. We probably hit 75-100 malls during the course of the year all over the Midwest, Texas, and the Southeast and it’s pretty much the same everyplace. And, I’ve always thought that if I’m out there looking for bottles, others are too.

I’ve never had a problem with paying a fair price for a bottle and have spent a lot on individual bottles before but won’t get ripped off either. Over the years I’ve learned to just walk away and will usually find it later someplace else. And often if we go back to the same mall several months later, the same bottles are still there.

There have not been many new non Coca-Cola commemoratives for quite a few years and now I focus on the ACL’s along with a few commemorative bottles needed to fill in the gaps. I don’t mess with the 8 oz. Cokes that have been flooding the market the past several years but have friends who like them and it’s all good, we all collect what we like. And, honestly I hate to admit it but most commemorative bottles don’t sell all that well. Most collectors either already have them or don’t want them to begin with. Most were made in such large quantities the market will never absorb them. But, there’s always commemorative bottles that were made for internal use only and those like anything else are the highly sought after ones.

Most of the collectors I know are older. I’m 63 myself, and my thought is most of the better bottles are in collections and won’t come to market until the inevitable estate sales, etc. which is sad but also a fact of life. Bottle shows still have good stuff, but there aren’t that many around and looking is usually limited to antique malls, etc.

Attaching a few pictures, not the best quality – I used my camera phone. Nothing in any of the pictures are for sale or trade.
 

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Last edited:

logan.the.collector

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Welcome to the forum. Thats an awesome story. You have an amazing collection too. I dream of having a huge display room like you some day. I'm almost 19 and have collected since I was eight. Dealing with the same problem of running out of space living at home while I am in college haha. Someday I will get a big house with a basement big enough for a mancave to store all my bottles.
 

UncleBruce

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I agree that many of the best ACL sodas are mostly in collections... but that doesn't stop the hunt does it! I like to say that it takes a lot of looking to do a little bit of finding. If you never look you never find. By the way nice bio and a friendly welcome to Antique Bottles. Collect what you like. Like what you collect. Remember that bottles are just stuff. The true treasure is not bottles, but friends. Hope you acquire many. This is a good place to find them. Nice collection too and it is well displayed.
 

Csa

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Welcome. I wish I had been into this hobby many years ago. I just started, and like you my wife and I frequent antique shops snd flea markets. Hope I find at least a few nice bottles in addition to the few decent ones I’ve found. You have been very successful at it!
 

embe

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Liking the Orange Crush (top of second pic), don't recall seeing that particular label before
 

cokemanracer

Commemorative Soft Drink bottles, all brands, ACLs
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Thanks, everyone for the kind words and welcome to the site. I appreciate it!
 

cokemanracer

Commemorative Soft Drink bottles, all brands, ACLs
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
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Liking the Orange Crush (top of second pic), don't recall seeing that particular label before

Hi - The Crush is from Mexico, first one I've ever seen like that. Will try to get a closer picture posted later today.
 

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