Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Kaufmann and StraussQ: I have an old Coca-Cola tin sign that is tacked to a wooden frame. On the left side are the words "Relieves Mental & Physical Exhaustion." In the upper right it says "Delightful Summer and Winter Beverage." On the back it says "Kaufmann & Strauss Company NY." Any idea of its date, history and value?

A: Kaufmann & Strauss was a company that made tin signs and advertising trays from 1890 to the early 1930s. It is unusual to find the printed name of a company on the back of a sign; usually the printing is only on one side. Coca-Cola used the picture of a girl in a blue dress sitting at a table on its 1898 calendar and other advertising items. A 20-by-28-inch tin sign is pictured in Petretti's Coca-Cola Collectibles Price Guide, 10th ed., with a value of $15,000. In 1886 John S. Pemberton, a pharmacist in Atlanta, developed Coca-Cola syrup as a patent medicine that was advertised as a cure for headache or "tired feeling." By 1900 it was usually advertised as a soda fountain drink and not as a headache medicine. Your sign, even bent, rusted, and filled with holes, could sell for a few thousand dollars if it's original. Beware. The frame is new and the sign has a surprising number of holes; it's possible it's a copy. The actual sign, not a picture of it, should be seen by an expert to determine the value.

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Anonymous said...

The fact that Coca Cola originally included a marginal amount of actual cocaine in it's early formula may account for the boast that it "Relieves mental and physical exhaustion." Oh, the good old days!
Today's formula is sans the cocaine, but today's Coke addiction comes from the enormous amounts of corn sugar and caffeine added. -pbd