1950s and Later

1951

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Beginning in 1951 the Company began to authorize two decks every few years. These decks are all bridge decks and all very common. Most of the sets have a seasonal theme. And the images are all ones that were used on many other forms of advertising. The 1951 set was a cowgirl image paired with a girl at a party.

1956

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The next set is from 1956 and has a girl on the beach on one deck and a skater girl on the other. These decks are labeled with Refreshment through 70 Years as they are issued in the 70th year since the Company’s founding. Quite by accident I noticed that a few of the beach girl decks have a different ace. Both aces are shown in the pictures. There are different aces because the manufacturer of the deck switched at some point. I have not observed this with the skater girl deck or with other Coca-Cola decks but I assume it is possible that has happened. I also have seen one of the beach girl decks with a gold slip cover that is from the Coca-Cola Bottling Company and says it is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

1958

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The next set is 1958 and has an ice snowman with Welcome Friend on one deck and several hands holding bottles and Refresh on the other.

1959

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Another set was produced right away in 1959 with a girl in a swimming pool on one deck and a girl and boy with a snowman on another.

1960

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At this point the Company had apparently become quite enamored with playing cards because it was producing a set every year. So in 1960 we have a man and woman on a beach and a masquerade party scene.

1961

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In 1961 we have a woman with a bowling bowl and another deck with a woman and a score pad.

1963

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1963 brought a young girl and young man with a surfboard and the second set has a couple sitting by the fire.

Things Go Better

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There is a set of relatively rare decks which use the slogan “Things Go Better With Coke” and have “Drink Coca-Cola” in a small white circle. These decks are likely from the early 1960s. There is a green and a red version, each with gold bordering; the red seems scarcer, and there is a third version with a white background, red and gold bordering and red “Drink Coca-Cola” circle label. They come in plastic cases and some have a cardboard slip cover over the plastic case. They were made by the Oleet Playing Card Co. of Mount Vernon, N.Y. I have a similar version, one red, one green, that have a frilly border. The red one is in a red cardboard box. The green one is in a grey cardboard box. The decks are sealed but the visible joker is different than the one in the other decks, so perhaps the manufacturer is different or the dating.

Camouflage

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These are a somewhat hard to find set of decks sometimes found single and sometimes double, in plastic cases. They have a green and brown camouflage pattern and Enjoy Coke on them. Made by Gemaco, probably in the 1970s.

Frozen

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A “Frozen” deck, likely from the 1960s, with a white background and the Coca-Cola label in a red box.

Bucks, Boy Scouts & Vendo

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A deck that celebrates the Milwaukee Bucks, put out by White Hen Pantry in the 1970s, with pictures of the players on cards. Bruce Jacobs sent the photo of the deck that is identical but does not have the basketball players. A boy scout jamboree deck from 1971, red cards with a white Drink Coca-Cola wave logo box. Vendo machine decks, red, with a soda machine outlined in gold, some of these decks have Vendo at the bottom of the cards and some say “Have a Coke”. The border is laced red and burgundy. From the ARRCO playing card company and I would estimate dating to the 1950s.

Waddington

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Waddington’s playing cards in England produced several single and double Coke decks with a bottle cap. Some are paired with a rum deck, at least one with a cigarette deck. All are prints by Michael English. They are dated from the 1970s . I doubt the Company authorized these.

Double Decks

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Pictured next are several double decks with some of the 50s and 60s decks. I suspect some of these were just put together by individuals and others may have been assembled by bottlers. The red plastic box with the gold Drink Coca Cola is gold script with gold leaves and it contains the 1960 decks. The blue U.S. Hamilton box has the 1963 surfboard and couple by the fire set while the red U.S. Hamilton box has two of the 1956 woman on a beach decks. The red box with the two 1959 girl in a pool cards on the cover has those decks inside. The other red box with the “Gemaco line 45-C Card Kit” on the cover has one of each of the 1959 decks in it. The green plastic box with the clear top has one 1959 and one 1960 deck in it. The light tan cardboard and felt bottom with the plastic slip cover has two of the 1956 bowling girls in it. There are two sets of book-like double deck sets, one white and one a dark burgundy. These have “Drink Coca-Cola” in the leave circle on the deck holders. The burgundy one came with the box, and has no decks in it. Interestingly, one of the deck holders has a burgundy inside and the other a grayish one. The white deck came with a non-Coke set of decks, manufacturer unknown, but a funny set of cards related to health care. I am guessing 1950s for these sets and I could not ascertain the manufacturer. And the greyish felt with the pull out box has the first 1963 set.

Presentation Decks

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Shown are several double deck sets, most of which I think were probably gifts to customers or rewards to employees. The first comes from the Coca Cola Bottling Company of New York and appears to be tan leather. The cards inside are not Coca-Cola decks and are bridge decks. They were manufactured by the US Playing Card Co. Based on the bridge information card and the bridge information at the back of the score pad, this appears to be from the late 1930s or early 1940s. Another one is a darker leather, and is labeled as “Meritorious Service 1952 Hund & Eger”. It also does not have Coca Cola cards inside. The cards are bridge decks presumably were produced before or in 1952 and were manufactured by the US Playing Card Co. They are labeled “606 Congress" with an M 1662 code on the ace of spades and a 56 79 code on one of the extra cards/jokers. Another one is also tannish leather with “Drink Coca-Cola” on the outside. The cards are the reproduction early Coca-Cola girl decks. The score pad is in English and French, making me wonder if this is Canadian. I would guess it is from the 1970s or 80s. It has an unusual pen and loop closer. Next is a white or ivory leather that has “Drink Coca-Cola” in the fishtail logo stamped on the deck holders. The decks are bridge and not Coca-Cola. They were manufactured by the International Playing Card Company in Windsor, Canada. I would guess they were made in the late 1950s or early 60s. Next is a greyish/tan vinyl-like set with “Enjoy Coca-Cola” on the cover and two of the reproduction of early Coke girls decks inside. I am guessing 1970s for this set. The outer box is with this set. Next is a black leather set holding the decks lengthwise. This set has “Drink Coca-Cola” on the deck holder in gold with a leaf circle. It came with a used bowling girl and bridge-playing girl pair of Coca-Cola decks, so I am assuming it dates from about 1961. Next is a black vinyl double deck of the flapper girl set that says “Institutional Food Service Division Coca-Cola USA” on the inside, which is probably a meeting give away. Next is another set of early Coke girl reproduction decks with “Enjoy Coca-Cola” on a black cardboard box. I assume this is from the 1970s. A set in a plastic box with a gold and red “Enjoy Coke” with a wave metal label has two non-Coke decks in it. They have a fleur de lis design and say on the one card that can be seen that they were made for Zippo by the US Playing Card Co. I would guess 1970s or 1980s for this set. A nice wooden box with a metal engraving of the Coca Cola Company headquarters had no decks in it. Another wooden box with the Have a Coke and a Smile logo and multiple country logos around that also had no decks in it. A set of double decks came in an unusual fold-out holder that does not have Coca Cola on it but has a diet Coke and an “Enjoy Coke” with a wave deck, so I think this is from the 1970s. Decks are sealed and I am not sure who the manufacturer is. Finally, there is the eight pack double deck, said to date from 1970. The cards have four Coke bottles on them and the decks are sealed so I again cannot identify the manufacturer.

Bridge Set

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This is a box set of some of the Tiffany window decks with score pads and pen, probably used as a gift given by bottlers to customers.

1970s and Later

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As we got into the 1970’s and 1980s, a number of decks were put out, some in large quantities, some smaller, some ordered by the Company, some probably by bottlers and some not authorized. In no particular order in regard to the photos are two 1973 decks with the “it’s the real thing” theme; one has a girl sitting in grass and the other a spread of food and Coke. A pair of tennis decks from 1975 made by TDC Inc. Shows two different couples playing tennis, comes in single and double deck versions. There are a number of “Have a Coke and a Smile. Coke Adds Life.” Decks. Some have a red background and some a white. There are single and double decks and one white background version has an Enjoy Coca-Cola box logo. Also are a large number of “Coke is It” decks, red background, variations in the trademark. Two “Coca Cola adds life to everything nice” decks, with images of different activities, that date to 1976 or so. Two versions of decks with the same phrase but in repeated running script, one red and one black on white backgrounds, some single, some double decks. A pair of decks, found single in a gold box or double in a plastic case, one image is a soldier playing with an infant and one is young men in a soda fountain. The so-called Tiffany decks, with a veined red background and red or black border. They say “Drink Coca-Cola” Some are in silver cutout top boxes, some in gold. There are also double decks. There are variations of the border size and trademark statement. These are from the 1970s. A relatively hard to find 75th Anniversary Enjoy Coca-Cola deck from Hygeia bottling company, in a silver cutout top box. A white background, red print old soda machine deck in a gold cutout top box, made by Gemaco, likely from the 1970s. A Race for Safety deck, made by the Company or a bottler, likely for employees, with safety tips on each card, probably from the 1970s. “Coca-Cola adds music to my life” deck, white background, red image and words. Perhaps made by Liberty, likely from the 1970s. An Adventure 87 double deck, one red, one white in a red feltish box. This deck was made in 1987 for a competition among bottlers in which the winners won a trip. A pair of similar decks in a black cutout box is also likely from the 1970s, with Santa on one deck and the Sprite Boy with a bottle on the other. There is a yellow border with a flapper girl deck, made in Hong Kong. There is an Asian woman with a bottle deck, yellow border, Have a Coke and a Smile on the sides of the box, also likely made in Hong Kong. Several decks with pictures of older advertising female images, including a double deck.

Modern Era

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Over the last three or four decades the Company began to intentionally produce decks either to be sold as novelty items or to collectors. These are available in large quantities and in my opinion have no value. As you can see some of these decks reproduce older, original advertising images. Some are associated with other companies, for example, the Southwest and Delta airlines decks. Also included are the large variety of “Enjoy” and “wave” decks, as well as a number with a can image on the cards. These date from the 1960s forward and there are many types of boxes, trademark and logo styling and other variations.

Place Decks

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There are a variety of decks of Atlanta Georgia that have the Coca-Cola building on one or more of the cards. A number of those decks are shown here. There are also decks of New York City with a Coca-Cola card, also pictured. And there was a set of single and double decks produced in conjunction with the New York City World’s Fair in 1964, with one card having a Coca-Cola theme.