Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

July 9, 2013

Coca-Cola collection to be auctioned

Greensburg Daily News

---- — TERRE HAUTE — If it is Coca-Cola – toys, buttons, bottles, banners, signs, vending machines, serving trays and decals – it will be auctioned off July 12 in Paris, Ill.

The collection belonged to Ralph Butler, a long-time Coca-Cola employee, who died last March. He was 97.

The auction will feature more than 270 lots — or bundles — of Butler’s lifetime collection of Coke-related items.

Butler, who some called the “Coke Man,” started off delivering the soft drink to local businesses by truck, and by the early 1960s worked his way up to plant manager at the Coke bottling plant in Paris, said Mindy Mood, his granddaughter.

Among the merchandise featured at the auction, a few rare items will be up for grabs.

“The 48-inch metal Coca-Cola sign and the six-foot tall Coca-Cola bottle sign are two of the more unique items,” auctioneer Matthew Moss said. “It is hard to find these items in good conditions. Usually people have them outside, so they get weathered. These have always been stored indoors.”

Butler often worked with Terre Haute’s Chapman Root, according to the Moss auction company, because both were involved with Coca-Cola bottling operations.

Root opened Root Glass Works in 1901 and began bottling Coca-Cola by 1904. Eventually the company developed a cocoa tree pod type design that was selected to become the contoured shape that Coca-Cola has used for years.

Tagline (right aligned):Details for this story were provided by The Tribne Star in Terre Haute, Ind.