Are you planning to buy a vintage Coca Cola machine? Well, you have come to the right place.
Coca Cola vending machines have existed for more than 100 years and are still produced to this date. These machines are bought by both store owners as well as collectors for their functionality as well as their antique quality.
The Coke machines that were created prior to the 1990s are considered to be vintage, and collectors go all around the country to acquire a piece for their collection.
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History of Vintage Coke Machine
Most small grocery stores in the early twentieth century iced their Coca-Cola bottles in refrigerators to keep them cold.
However, with the initiation of the self-service concept and automation, vending machines replaced these refrigerators.
A coin-operated vending cooler intended specifically for Coca-Cola bottles was introduced in 1910.
When Georgia bottler George Cobb developed his Vend-all cooler, he had the right idea, but merchants couldn’t use it because it only held 12 bottles which was impractical from a sale perspective.
Soon after Icy-O invented the first Coca-Cola machine in the middle of the 1920s, a plethora of companies began manufacturing coolers specifically designed to accommodate Coke bottles.
In 1928, Glascock Brothers invented the first electric machine, and in 1930, the product was first made available to consumers. The development of dry refrigeration in the 1950s was the next significant stage in the process.
After its establishment in 1937 by the Pierson brothers, the Vendo firm of Kansas City, Missouri, grew to become the most well-known brand name for Coca-Cola vending machines. Their machines are widely used throughout the world even today.
The Pierson brothers, Elmer F. and John T. purchased the patent for a clean and dependable vending machine lid. The lid was designed to lock on top of the chest coolers from brands like Westinghouse and Frigidaire.
Many grocery stores and gas stations used these chest coolers to chill sodas that they would sell on the honor system, where customers would grab a soda and pay at the counter.
Anyone who went to a bowling alley or another public place that had vending machines during the late 1960s and early 1970s is likely to be familiar with the Coca-Cola-supplied graphics that were used on Vendo’s machines.
By the 1950s, Vendo was arguably the king of Coca-Cola vending machines.
Other companies, such as Cavalier and Vendolator also flourished as a result of creating vending machines for Coca-Cola. The little machines produced by Cavalier are particularly well-liked among collectors because of their design and structure.
Vintage Coke Machine Identification
Because Coca-Cola memorabilia is such a sought-after collectible, there is a plethora of information available for you to utilize if you are attempting to determine the age of a vintage coca cola machine.
There are specific ways you can find out whether a vending machine is vintage or refurbished by a restoring company.
To get you off on the right foot, here are a few distinct temporal indicators that you can use to help you estimate the age and value of a vintage or antiques Coca Cola machine:
1. Find Out Which Brand It Is
If you want to date a Coca-Cola machine, one of the first things you should do is try to identify the brand under which it was built.
Throughout the course of the 20th century, many manufacturers started production of Coca-Cola vending machines at various times, which means that you can pinpoint a date range for these machines based on the brand names of the machines themselves.
For example, the Glascock Manufacturing Company is responsible for the creation of one of the first official Coca-Cola vending machines so it can be dated back to the 1920s.
The following is a list of some of the most well-known brands, along with the year in which they began producing vending machines for Coca-Cola:
- Glascock Brothers – 1928
- Westinghouse – 1935
- Cavalier – 1936
- Vendo – 1937
- VMC – 1940s
2. Pay Attention to the Design
The designs of vending machines are also a distinguishing feature that can be used for dating and identifying purposes.
Some antique coke machines are easy to date because they all have common design characteristics that were implemented at various times throughout the 20th century. These old coke machines have some iconic designs that you should know about:
- Bottle Compatible vs. Can Compatible
Before Coca-Cola’s introduction of the 12-ounce can in the 1960s, vending machines were not designed to accommodate smaller cylindrical containers.
Coke vending machines with interior shelving that only accommodates cans were manufactured after 1960, and the ones with interior shelving that accommodates only glass bottles were manufactured prior to 1960. So it is easier to identify their era.
- Coin-Operated and Painted Prices
The initial Coca-Cola vending machines were not coin-operated, but after World War II, they were rapidly converted to coin-operated vending machines.
Moreover, the gradual increase in the price of the beverage painted on the vending machine also highlights the newness of the machine. With the passage of time, the price also increased, which is also a way of identification.
- Round top vs. flat top
The old coke machine used to have round tops. It was after 1950s that flat tops could be found in the new manufactured vending machines. The 1970s coke machine and afterward are all found to be flat top.
3. Identify the Serial Numbers
The serial number of a Coke machine is the most accurate way to date it. Depending on the age and manufacturer of your machine, you will need to locate different serial numbers.
Nonetheless, if you find the metal plates (typically affixed to the doors), you can cross-reference them with Coca-Cola serial number directory for authentication.
You can check out the website of Grand America Jukebox, a great restoration company with a comprehensive internet database of Coke machine serial numbers and dates of issue.
Vintage Coca Cola Machine
After learning how to identify your vintage coke vending machines, the question that comes to mind is whether the vending machine you have or wish to buy really is vintage or antique.
Since Coca Cola has been producing vending machines in collaboration with various different companies for almost a century, there are a number of machines that collectors look for in today’s time.
Here are some of the most prominent and sought-after vintage Coca-Cola machine:
1. Vendo 39, 1940s coke machine
The Vendo 39 was a 1940s coke machine popular model that was manufactured from 1949 until about the middle of 1957. The capacity of this device was 39 bottles in total. The early variants could hold bottles of 6½ ounces, but the later ones could hold bottles of 12 ounces.
In earlier versions, the color scheme was entirely made of red, but in the late 1950s, it was changed to a combination of red and white. To learn more about this model, check out this video.
You can find this vintage coke machine for sale in your local flea markets, antique shops, or online shops like eBay.
2. Vendo-44, 1950s coke machine
The Vendo 44 is the most sought-after vending machine in existence. It is a 1950s coke machine manufactured between 1956 and 1959 with more than 8,000 units produced.
Throughout its production, it came in two-tone colors (red and white). It holds about 44 bottles.
The Vendo 44 was actually manufactured by the VMC company as a VMC-44 model. However, VMC merged with Vendo Company in 1956, leading to its rebranding as a part of Vendo production.
The metal tag on these machines reads “Built by Vendorlator for Vendo”.
Vendo-44 is the most sought-out vintage Coca Cola vending machine because it is the smallest vending machine ever produced with dimensions of 58×16×16.
Moreover, another factor that leads to its popularity amongst collectors is the fact that it was found along various gas stations and corner stores along Route 66, leading to it becoming an iconic part of history.
Since these vending machines are the most sought-after, they sell very quickly and for a very high price as well. A Coca-Cola Vendo 44 vending machine sold for $7500 by Miller and Miller Auctions.
3. Vendo 56, 1950s coke machine
The Vendo 56 is a 1950s coke machine model, first produced in 1957 and is quite valuable due to the fact that it is compact and has a coin-operated system. The device has a capacity for 56 bottles of virtually every size known.
The Vendo-56 is usually compared to the Vendo 81, but it is slightly smaller than the later. Due to the compact size of this machine, it is highly valued by collectors and museums.
A Vintage Coca-Cola Vendo 56 Vending Machine sold for $1500 on Liveauctioneers. You can check out your local antique shops and keep an eye on ads posted on online shops like eBay or craigslist for the model.
A Vendo 56-B Coca-Cola Vintage Coke Machine is selling for approximately $4500 on eBay.
4. Vendo H81, 1950s coke machine
The Vendo 81 Coca Cola machine was manufactured from 1955 to 1958.
As a result of the popularity gained by its larger multi-Drink soda machines, Vendo created the Coca Cola Vendo H81 for sites with low to moderate traffic. There were three distinct variations of this model.
The models included A, which was red with a green medallion on the bottle door; B, which had a two-tone paint; and D, which had the embossed area enlarged, had a wider door, and carried 6 12-oz. bottles in addition to 12-oz. bottles.
Vendo prepended the letter “H” to the model number to denote “Coin-operated” multi-drink standup machines. The vending machine of the Vendo H81 Coke machine holds 81 bottles and offers nine options.
These are considered to be vintage by various collectors of vending machines due to their coin-operated mechanism which works only on 5 or 10 cents.
This model is also sought out by Coca Cola memorabilia collectors because of its vintage quality. It is up for auction at YowCow auction for $5750.
You can check out your local antique shops and keep an eye on ads posted on online shops like eBay or craigslist for the model. A Vendo H81-B Coca-Cola Vintage Vending Machine is selling for approximately $13000 on eBay.
5. Cavalier-72 Coke Machine
Cavalier introduced the CS-72 model in 1957 to target small to medium size locations. This new model also came in two-toned colors.
The CS-72 vending machines were the first by Cavalier to feature an electronic coin mechanism that allows for current-day pricing as well. The electronic coin mechanism counts the coins and then actives the process of releasing the bottle.
You can check out your local antique shops and keep an eye on ads posted on online shops like eBay or craigslist for the model. You can buy it from Liveauctioneers. A Vintage Coke Coca-Cola Vending Machine Cavalier CS-72-A is selling for $2375 on eBay.
6. Cavalier-64 – 1960s Coke Machine
Cavalier introduced its model CS-64 Coke machine in 1960 after the success of the CS-72 model in the previous years. The CS-64 model was comparably smaller.
It was one of the first Coke machines to feature the “square top” cabinet style design and an optional “light up” Coca Cola Sign.
The CS-64 model went through a vast number of changes throughout the years. For instance, the logo “Thing’s Go Better With Coke” became an emblem all through 1964 till 1968.
This model manufactured before 1964 is sought out by collectors for its originality and quality. You can find this vintage soda machine for sale in your local antique shops or online shops like eBay.
Vintage Coke Machines Price Guide
Researching the prices at which different models of vintage Coca-Cola machines are being sold on online auction houses like eBay is one approach to get an idea of how much those machines are worth.
It is important to keep in mind that when you sell collectibles on eBay, you will likely not receive the full worth of those items. You might also try your luck in a forum dedicated to old vending machines, such as the one found on Cola Machines.
The vast majority of vintage Coca-Cola machines that have been properly repaired cost between $5,000 and $6,000. Prices for items still in their original condition can range anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 but normally fall somewhere in that price range.
Be mindful that the cost of restoration will be high if you select this alternative.
You can expect to spend approximately $3,000 on a mechanical machine, but an electronic model would cost you significantly more money.
As you may expect, the price of an antique Coca-Cola machine might vary greatly depending on the following factors:
- Manufacturer (machine brand)
- Age, model, and dimensions of the machine Machine customization
- The popularity of models in the present market
- The appearance of the machine and its current state of operation
- Working Condition of the model
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell Coca-Cola vending machines, arming yourself with as much information as you possibly can about these machines will make you feel more in control of the transaction.
Following is the list of some of the books explaining Coke Vending Machines and their operations on Amazon. You can access these books to learn more about these vintage vending machines:
- Classic Soda Machines, A field Reference and Price Guide
- Vintage Coca-Cola Machines a Price and Identification Guide to Collectible Coolers and Machines.
In addition, there are numerous excellent websites devoted to educating visitors about, collecting, and restoring vintage vending machines.
These websites will assist you in answering your queries and allow you to network with other antique coke vending machine collectors and restoration specialists.
Further, Game Room Antiques provides pricing information as well as auction information for several Coke vending machine models. Here are some examples:
Where to Find Vintage Coke Machine for Sale
Now that you know the price range and the way to identify a vintage coke machine, the question that comes to mind is, where can you find them?
Because of its size, transporting an antique coke machine may be out of reach for most consumers. Hence, it would be to consider shopping locally whenever possible since it will be easy with local pickup to get your vending machine home quickly.
An in-person examination is also a good method for determining any inconsistencies between the description of a piece on an online auction website and the item’s actual condition.
You can begin your search for an antique dresser both online as well as in different physical stores. Here are some good places to look for antique dressers.
1. Auction sites
Auction shops and sites are a must when looking for the perfect addition of a vintage coke machine to your collection. There are various sites and shops that are present in the current time that sells vintage and restored vending machines.
When looking up online, you can check out the Liveauctioneers site for different vending machines up for auction.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that eBay is a perfect site to find vintage soda machines, particularly if you’re looking for specific components to complete your collection.
If you do a search for “Vintage Coke Vending machines” or even a certain decade to see what’s out there, you’ll get a long list of items that you can look through to see what fits your needs.
3. Craigslist postings
At one period, anyone who wanted to resell their belongings could only do so on Craigslist, the one and only online market at the time.
While many other retail establishments offer pricing that is set in stone, the prices listed on Craigslist are up to negotiation.
You can always get in touch with the many dealers that are selling their antiques so that you may examine the piece that you are interested in purchasing from them.
4. Newspaper ads
Even while it might not seem like a good approach to find old Coca-Cola vending machines, newspaper ads are actually a terrific way to find them.
Individuals who are not accustomed to using technology, who are often older people, are more likely to choose newspaper ads. Therefore, ensure that you keep a close watch out for those.
Tips for Buying Vintage Coca Cola Vending Machines
A carefully cleaned and refurbished antique or vintage Coca-Cola vending machine can fetch six figures or even seven figures.
It is illogical to spend a big amount of money on a vending machine just to find out that it’s going to be a significant investment to get it either up and running or simply bringing it to your house.
Therefore, before you commit to buying your vintage Coca Cola vending machine, you should take some points into consideration.
- Determining the Purpose Before Buying
If you want a Coca-Cola machine that actually works, the greatest investment you can make is to find a more recent unit that has cooling systems that are still being manufactured and are simple to fix.
On the other hand, if you desire a machine for decorative or collecting purposes, an older machine that does not function well will serve your needs just fine.
- Buying a restored Vending machine
Buying a restored Vending machine is also a smart move. When it comes to restoration, machines like these, with their complex mechanical innards, can be money pits.
Therefore, it is wiser to shell out some additional cash up front rather than having to spend a significant amount of time and money later on getting your vending machine entirely gutted and spruced up.
- Buying locally or from auctions
Buying locally or from auctions is also a good option.
There is no question that you may locate these vending machines on online auction websites such as eBay; however, it is important to note that these websites are not always the greatest places for you to acquire them from.
The weight of Coca-Cola vending machines makes transporting them an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Even the more compact models of sliding machines still weigh hundreds of pounds.
Therefore, if you want to avoid spending an exorbitant amount on shipping fees, you should make an effort to determine whether or not there is anywhere in your area where you can get one.
Vintage Coke Vending Machines to Satisfy Your Thirst for Memories
Owning a vending machine from your youth brings up so many memories for middle-aged collectors.
These brilliant red and white antique and vintage Coca Cola vending machines may cost a hefty buck, but they’ll earn back their value one quarter at a time.
With our guide on Vintage coke machines and their value, finding the perfect addition to your collection should be significantly easier. You can get in touch with us via comments or email if you still have questions. Your input is always appreciated.