Here comes the Coca-Cola Collectors Club convention
FROM space drinks to yo-yos, glass bottles to Barbie dolls, Coca-Cola has made its mark on millions of pieces of merchandise, to the delight of one particular group.
The Queensland chapter of the Coca-Cola Collectors Club is in the middle of its 12th bi-annual national convention at the Waterfront Hotel and the place is bubbling.
Chapter president Bruce Tindall was among the fans of the fizz who set up shop on the Coast earlier this week, enjoying the sights of the region as well as immersing themselves in all things Coke.
So how do you become a fully-fledged lover of the caramel taste sensation?
For 50-year-old Bruce, it all started with a trip to Ekka as a kid.
"I got started when I got my first Coca-Cola yo-yo at the Ekka," he recalled.
"The Coca-Cola show bag stall is where it all started and I'm a big yo-yo collector, knick-knack toys, marbles and aluminium bottles now."
And as for his prized possession, well, despite all the pieces he's picked up through the years, he couldn't go past that very first yo-yo.
For local punters interested, the group will hold a swap meet this morning at the Waterfront Hotel, open to the public from about 10am.
Anyone wanting to pick up a prized piece will have to get in quick but you never know what you might find.
"If there's limited numbers put out then you see some money involved in it," Bruce said.
"There can be some very rare, some over 100-year-old items which can go for $20,000 to $30,000 up to nearly $100,000 for some items from America."
For the Coca-Cola connoisseur, Bruce reckons the major international and European events, World Cups and Olympic Games were always producing some rare pieces of memorabilia.
"The Olympics are always fairly big and the aluminium bottles are big in Europe now and they'll follow designers or DJs like David Guetta and put out limited edition bottles that look special," he said.
And as for the holy grail of Coca-Cola merchandise, he said there was a Coke drink used on a space shuttle in circulation somewhere on the globe, which would have enthusiasts thirsty to catch a glimpse.