1903 Coca-Cola sign to make $30,000?

An early Coca-Cola chewing gum sign from 1903 is the highlight of a sale of advertising memorabilia taking place at Morphy's Premier Advertising and Coin Op auction on October 4-5. The sign, which carries an estimate of $20,000-30,000, is embossed on enamelled cardboard.

Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions, commented: "It's the actual example shown in Petretti's price guide. It's a rare find, especially in such nice condition."

Morphy's Coca Cola 1903
The sign is featured in Petretti's price guide

It is rare for advertising dating from around the early 1900s to survive in good condition, and signs of this quality often change hands for large sums. In 2011 a Coca-Cola lithograph sign dating from 1896 sold for $105,000.

A number of coin op arcade machines are also featured and include a pre-1900 Puck 5-cent upright slot with an estimate of $18,000-22,000, and a 5-cent Bullfrog upright slot valued at $25,000-30,000.

Both machines are in working order and were made by Caille Brothers, one of the earliest US slot machine manufacturers.

Machines built by Caille are popular collector's items - in 2008 a rare Venus slot sold for $225,000 at Showtime Auction Services.

Slots from this era were used in bars in much the same way as modern machines are used now - although they often paid out drinks and cigars rather than cash.

Elsewhere a Wurlitzer Model 81 on an original Mae West stand brings a high estimate of $15,000. Considered the most desirable of counter models, jukeboxes of this quality can perform well at auction. Last year an identical machine sold for $17,000 against a $10,000-15,000 estimate.

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