Manila, Philippines—The Coca-Cola Collectors Club Philippines recently made its debut along the sidelines of the Coca-Cola Bottle Art Tour’s Manila leg last October 2 to 4. Recognized just last January as the local chapter of Coca-Cola Collectors International, the Club currently has about 800 members.
The Coca-Cola Bottle Art Tour, which is mounted in celebration the Contour Bottle’s 100th Anniversary, brought the new members together to come face to face with about half a century worth of Coca-Cola-inspired art from names like Andy Warhol, Clive Baker, Peter Blake, and Norman Rockwell.
The Club, which was originally founded in 1974 as a non-profit organization in Atlanta, Georgia, is devoted to all things Coca-Cola—from its history to collecting memorabilia. To date, it has over 46 chapters across the world with the biggest one being in Atlanta.
“Although The Coca-Cola Company does not sponsor the Club, we try to help with special projects and support their annual meeting. I am glad to meet the Philippine Club for the first time, see them enjoy the Bottle Art Tour, and share their plans to grow membership. The Club has become a great community of people with common interests, in as much as it has also been a regular venue to trade both items and stories,” says Ted Ryan, curator of the Bottle Art Tour and Director for Heritage Communications of The Coca-Cola Company.
It started with four fans
Coca-Cola Collectors Club Philippines President Jay-Ar Mendoza said the Club began with just him and three other friends, who are avid fans of the brand. In 2014, they set-up a Facebook Group and started accepting people in until it became a very active community of individuals who love Coke history.
“Not all of them are collectors,” says Jay-Ar, “but we constantly encourage them to start their own pool of tokens or souvenirs. In other countries, the collectors would really allot money for expensive items and participate in auctions–here it is not the case because of certain financial limits. Nonetheless the love for brand stands and we are just as passionate as the other collectors around the world,” says Mendoza.
In January 2015, they decided it was time meet-up, formalize the organization, and be recognized by Coca-Cola Collectors Club International. But Jay-Ar’s story with Coca-Cola began as far back as the early 90s—back when the Always Coca-Cola Classic Commercial was still airing and neighborhood sari-sari stores served as very important trading points of two commodities: pogs and slammers.
About the same time, the four-piece Coca-Cola Truck Attack collectibles were also being traded and kids were clamoring for mini Coca-Cola bottles and their mini crates. From a small holding area, Jay-Ar slowly and methodically decked three walls with items, gathering trinkets from the countries he visited and occasionally getting some packages from his Atlanta-based parents.
Asked what his most-prized item is in the collection and he said it was the Cebu bottling plant inauguration bottle that was produced in the 70s.
What does the future look like for Coca-Cola Collectors Club Philippines? Jay-Ay says his dream is to be able to mount a local Coca-Cola Convention, complete with auctions, seminars, and swap meets.
For more information, checkout Coca-Cola Collectors Club Philippines on Facebook.