Other GamesView in Gallery
The Company or others put out a few card decks, or materials relating to use of regular playing cards, that were for other games. There is a quite old Household Words deck that has a Coca Cola card. From other cards in the deck, it appears to be from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and to date as far back as the 1920s. There is a more recent rummy set from 1984, with an Enjoy Coca-Cola red background. This was used for employees and had tips on merchandising. Note the Pepsi penalty card reference. There is a sports trivia deck, with an Enjoy Coca-Cola logo, probably from the 1970s. And there is a repeated pattern white Enjoy Coca-Cola on a red background Trivia deck, also likely dating to the 1970s. Finally, there is an interesting football game to be played with playing cards. Note the complex rules, which would probably discourage anyone from actually playing!
Other Soda DecksView in Gallery
Foreign Coca-Cola DecksView in Gallery
Thanks to Matthew Schact for providing these pictures. I have not collected foreign Coca-Cola decks and Matthew has an outstanding selection. Coke was marketed around the world and has been found in almost every country for decades. And the Company used many of the same marketing techniques. Card games are common everywhere, so it isn't surprising that playing card decks were produced in many countries.
Advertising Price List MaterialView in Gallery
I have five items from various Advertising Price Lists pictured here. The first is from a manual dating to the late 1960s, I believe. These manuals were typically used over several years with updated material constantly inserted. This particular red manual had the girl with bowling ball and the girl with bridge cards decks available. No pricing information was actually in this manual. The second is from the early 1960s as best I can tell, and features the surfer boy and girl and the man and woman by the fireside decks. The pricing is available and the decks came in packages of 72 and were forty-four cents a deck to the bottler. The third dates to 1943 and shows both the operator and nurse score pads, as well as aircraft spotter versions of these decks. The autumn leaves and stewardess decks were also listed. Packaging was the standard 72 decks, at a cost of $47.52 for the entire package. It is not specified here that any non-spotter nurse or operator decks were included in the package and as I noted in the discussion of these decks, like most they were produced over a long period of time and I suspect that after the war the Company stopped making an aircraft spotter version. The fourth picture is of a 1945 price list and shows the autumn leaves and stewardess decks only, again 72 deck packages at the same price. Since the war was winding down by now, that may explain why the operator and nurse decks are not listed. The final picture was from a manual insert dated February 1960 which listed the skater and beach girl decks, once again in the 72 decks to a package format and at forty-four cents a deck.
PostersView in Gallery
AdsView in Gallery
Bridge DigestView in Gallery
Score Pads and Tally CardsView in Gallery
Game SetView in Gallery
This is a World War II era box set of various games, which includes two decks of cards, the nurse and phone operator in the aircraft spotter versions, and also includes some score pads. At one point I had a printer’s plate for the box cover and part of the picture shows a picture of that plate and some information about it.
Dealing AidsView in Gallery
Salesman's RoundupView in Gallery
Trump IndicatorsView in Gallery
A Day in the Life of a Playing Card SalesmanView in Gallery
Collecting Coca Cola playing cards and seeing the multiple designs through the years, and then seeing similar background designs on cards from other advertisers made me think about how these playing cards were marketed and sold. Many of the interesting decks are obviously from long before there was an internet. In person or catalog sales were very common. A lot of Americans were employed as traveling in person sales people or used the phone to persuade customers to buy an item. Many companies used a variety of items as marketing tools, and playing cards were very common. The playing card companies would hire salespeople and equip them with sample cards and decks. The salespeople would then do cold calling on potential customers, either by phone or in person. If a company had purchased cards in the past, they were undoubtedly recontacted multiple times for additional purchases.
Coca Cola used just about any household item you could imagine for advertising, including playing cards, which were used in almost every American home. Some were ordered by the Company or could be ordered by bottlers through the Company, but many of the most unique decks were clearly ordered by individual bottlers, probably in relatively small lots. If you look at the pictures, you will see many of the same designs that were used by Coca Cola bottlers featuring other advertisers. You can imagine the playing card salesperson sitting down with the marketing person at a bottler and going through his samples of card designs, trying to get an order. Not the easiest life, and I would imagine you had to sell a lot of decks to make a decent commission.