Antique pop bottles are a charming slice of Americana that is fun to collect. Although Coca Cola and what was to become Pepsi Cola were already producing soda pop by the 1890s, it wasn't until the mid-1930s that pop bottle production came into its own.
Embossed and Labeled Bottles
Early soda bottles are not as collectible as later ones simply because they are not as charming. Prior to the mid-1930s, soda brand information was either embossed on the bottle or affixed as a label. Bottles from this era can be fun to collect, but they lack the beauty of applied color label soda bottles.
Applied Color Label Soda Bottles
During the 1930s, pop bottles were labeled with the applied color process. Color was applied to the bottle and then fired into the glass. This made the label permanent and was much easier to read than embossed or paper labels. The process was common until the 1960s, and applied color label pop bottles reached their height between the 1940s and the 1950s.
Collectible Applied Color Label Pop Bottles
Many more companies produced soda pop in the middle of the twentieth century than do now. Small companies existed that sold only in their local regions, making collecting pop bottles more varied and challenging to find than you might think. These small companies were less concerned about uniformity than Coke or Pepsi were. Therefore, their labels tended to be more creative.
Bottles with larger labels are generally worth more than those with smaller labels. Pop bottles that are printed in two colors are more desirable than bottles with only one color. Pop bottles with Native American or cowboy motifs are also popular. Other designs include famous people, animals and airplanes.
Some of the more valuable applied color label pop bottles include:
Note that all of these brands are regional.
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