Wartime Era

Girl with Terrier

View in Gallery

These blue and yellow background decks have a girl sitting outdoors with a terrier. They are from 1943, are bridge decks and are fairly common. The yellow background version is also found in a green slip hard box and the blue one in a blue slip hard box. The back of the boxes has the silhouette girl on it with “Drink Coca-Cola The Pause that Refreshes”. As with some of my 1928 decks, a couple of these have Merry Christmas cards from the Louisiana bottler. I also have shown a double deck of the yellow and blue terrier cards in the same box as the Canadian double deck is found. If there were only one of these, I would consider it to be something put together by a person, but I have seen two so I believe these may have been put together by the Company or a bottler. Interestingly, the inside cover of one box says it is a product of the International Playing Card Co. and the inside cover of the other says it is made by the manufacturer of Congress Playing Cards. For both these decks and Ballerina decks, some of the jokers have the trademark in the tip of the C in Coca.


View in Gallery

These are companion decks to the terrier decks and have a yellow or blue background with two ballerinas. These decks are easily found and were produced in large quantities. Both the terrier and ballerina images were used in many other forms of Coca-Cola advertising. The ballerina decks also are bridge decks from 1943 but I have not seen any of these in the hard slip boxes. The aces for the terrier and ballerina decks have the silhouette girl and most often have a C 1920 or C 1925 code on the ace of spades. I am not certain of the manufacturer, but suspect it was the US Playing Card Co.

Military Themes

View in Gallery

During the second World War, several decks appeared other than those widely sponsored by the Company. I believe most of these decks were probably ordered by individual local bottlers. One has the eagle with arrows theme, a red, tannish gray and gold coloring pattern. It says “Drink Coca-Cola in Bottles” and was made by Brown & Bigelow. This deck has a calendar card with 1945 on one side and 1946 on the other, so I suspect it was made in 1945. The ace of spades has a W. 5. A. code. Another version has a yellow and dark blue background with an eagle, “Drink Coca-Cola in Bottles”. These are pinochle decks, made by Brown & Bigelow and the ace of spades just says B. One of these yellow and blue decks says “We’re not forgetting” and was produced by the Rhode Island bottler. This one is a bridge deck, same manufacturer, same ace of spades code. I have seen these three decks only in plastic boxes, which I do not think were the original containers. Finally there is a deck which just has the eagle symbol and “Compliments of Coca-Cola Bottling Plant” stamped on the box, with the same wording stamped on the ace of clubs. This was made by Brown & Bigelow and the ace of spades is coded B. 16 A. Rodney Neat has provided another very interesting photo of what is a military themed deck that seems to have used a recycled Coca-Cola autumn leaves girl box turned inside out and restamped as generic.

Nurse, Operator, Girl With Leaves & Stewardess

View in Gallery

Along with the ballerina and terrier decks, the Company produced several decks during the war years, including a blue background military nurse; a military telephone operator with a yellow background; a stewardess and a girl with leaves falling around her head. All of these decks were produced in very large quantities and are very common. The images on them were also used in many other forms of advertising. They are all considered to date from 1943. The nurse and telephone operator were originally produced in a version that had military aircraft on the suit side of the cards, used for spotting enemy or friendly planes, not that that was much of an issue in the mainland.

There are also non-spotter versions of these decks, which are relatively scarce, I would estimate that they are found in ratios of 15 or 20 spotter decks for every non-spotter one. There is an operator deck that I found in what appears to be a military green canvas deck holder. Since all these decks were used for several years, I suspect that as the war came to an end the Company stopped ordering the spotter version. Bruce Jacobs provided the picture of the stewardess card that seems to have a different color and is blank on the card side. This could have been a prototype or it may be a printing defect. And the box with the white stamp was used for sales to military personal who were exempted from paying the playing card tax.

The double deck in the aircraft company box is not likely original. I suspect someone took the original cards out and put Coke ones in.