Coke Fantasy Pieces Continue to FoolBy Mark Chervenka
Coke Fantasy Pieces Continue to Fool
This fantasy Coca-Cola push plate has been in the market since the 1970s. Yet it continues to fool buyers.
You won't find this piece in most books on Coca-Cola collectibles is because it was never made by or authorized by Coca-Cola. It is what collectors call a "fantasy item," a new piece created solely by reproduction wholesalers. Despite the prominent 1901 and earlier dates, no old counterpart to this piece ever existed in the 19th century or any other time.
This piece is designed to resemble a door push plate. Push plates were used to protect doors, particularly doors to stores and offices, from the constant wear of customers' hands pushing the door open. It was common for many companies to put advertising on push plates because of their high visibility and proximity to where sales actually took place.
Logically, vintage advertising push plates had to be very strong and well made to stand up to the heavy daily use of commercial doors. By contrast, the new piece is made from very thin stamped tin. The gold finish on the new piece is frequently mistaken for brass or bronze.
In the 1970s these pieces wholesaled for only a few dollars and that is about what they are worth today. One book on Coca-Cola collectibles, Petretti's Coca-Cola Collectibles Guide by Allan Petretti (Krause Publications) devotes an entire chapter to fakes and reproductions.