Noname Antiques » Vintage Coke Machines (History, Serial & Price Guide)

Vintage Coke Machines (History, Serial & Price Guide)

Most corner grocery stores kept cold Coca-Cola bottles in coolers at the beginning of the 20th century. After ages of self-service, the first coin-operated vending cooler for keeping Coca-Cola bottles was introduced in 1910.

The first model was impractical since it held only 12 bottles, but the first Coca-Cola machine appeared in the mid-1920s. After Vendo was founded in 1937, the new Coke machine era began. Since they are highly collectible and pricey nowadays, it is crucial to check the vintage Coke machines price guide before purchasing.

Vintage Coke Machine History

Vintage Coke Machine History

In the early 20th century, customers brought their bottles of Coke to the corner grocery store and got a drink kept in coolers. The first coin-operated vending cooler that held 12 Coca-Cola bottles was created in 1910.

Numerous companies started making coolers for Coke bottles by the 1920s when Icy-O made the first Coca-Cola machine in the mid-1920s. Glascock Brothers created the first electric machine in 1928, and it hit the market two years later. The next essential step was dry refrigeration, introduced in the 1950s.

Vendo company from Kansas City, Missouri, became the most prominent name for Coca-Cola machines after its founding in 1937. The first all-red models had the words Ice Cold at the bottom, while two-tone models with white tops were created after 1955.

Another famous Coca-Cola vending machine company was Cavalier. In the late 1940s, they designed the C-27 machine and an unusual C-102 model dispensing soda from two sides. One side was Whites Only, and the second was Colored Only.

 

Determining Vintage Cola Machines Value

Determining Vintage Cola Machines Value

Since Coke machines are collectible nowadays, you can look for one on the Net. Owners sell most models on auction sites such as Etsy and eBay. Unfortunately, you won’t get total value when selling that way since these sites charge a commission.

Another option is to visit a Cola Machines forum and offer your vintage vending machine there. It is crucial to determine its real value, whatever way of selling you choose.

The best way to evaluate your item price is to check one of the websites, such as:

  • Cola Machines.com
  • Soda-Machines.com
  • The Soda Jerk Works

They will help you educate about collecting and restoring vintage Coke machines. The best of all is the possibility to connect with experts and other collectors and find answers to any questions you have.

Additionally, there are excellent books about the subject you can find on Amazon, including:

The rule of thumb is to avoid arbitrary pricing. A better option is to check the prices of already sold machines in similar condition. The same is when you are a buyer. Always find past sales to estimate the real amount of money you need to set aside for a desiring model.

 

Coke Machine Prices

Coke Machine Prices

Most fully restored vintage Coke machines cost $5,000 to $6,000. The prices vary for pieces in original condition and are typically in a price range of $2,000 to $3,000. If you choose this option, be aware that restoration is expensive.

A mechanical machine will cost you about $3,000, while an electronic type will be more pricey. As you can imagine, antique Coke machine prices can significantly vary, depending on:

  • Manufacturer (machine brand)
  • Machine age, model, and size
  • Machine customization
  • Model popularity in the current market
  • Machine appearance and working condition
  • The seller’s location

Brand

When looking for a Coke machine, the first thing to check is the manufacturer. As always, famous brands will increase prices.

The officially oldest Coca-Cola vending machine you can find was produced by the Glascock Manufacturing Co., founded in 1928. Sometimes, you can find rare 1931 Glascock Countertop coolers online. Their price primarily depends on the condition, and they often cost $550 to $3,600.

Other famous brands started manufacturing Coke vending machines a few years later:

  • Westinghouse in 1935
  • Cavalier in 1936
  • Vendo in 1937
  • VMC in the 1940s

Vintage Coke machine specifications

Coke machine Production year Capacity Size
Vendo 23 1949 to 1960 23 bottles of 8 ounces (0.24 l) 36 by 24 by 21 inches

(91.5 x 61 x 53.3 cm)

Vendo 39 1949 to 1954 39 bottles of 7 to 8 ounces

(0.2 – 0.24 l)

58 by 27 by 16 inches

(147 x 68.5 x 40.6 cm)

Vendo 44 1956 44 bottles of 8 ounces (0.24 l) or 40 aluminum cans of 12 ounces (0.35 l) 57.5 by 16 by 15.5 inches

(146 x 40.6 x 39.4 cm)

Vendo 56 1957 to 1959 59 bottles of 6.5 to 12 ounces

(0.19 to 0.35 l)

52 by 25 by 18.75 inches

(132 x 63.5 x 47.6 cm)

Vendo 81 1955 to 1958 81 bottles of 6.5 to 12 ounces

(0.19 to 0.35 l)

58 by 27 by 16 inches

(147 x 68.5 x 40.6 cm)

Vendo 110 1948 to 1955 110 bottles of 6.5 to 12 ounces

(0.19 to 0.35 l)

63 by 32.5 by 18 inches

(160 x 82.5 x 45.7 cm)

Cavalier 64 1960 to 1963 64 bottles of 6.5 to 12 ounces

(0.19 to 0.35 l)

55.5 by 25.5 by 20.5 inches

(141 x 64.8 x 52 cm)

Cavalier 72 1958 to 1959 72 bottles of 7 to 12 ounces

(0.2 to 0.35 l)

56.75 by 24.75 by 22 inches

(144 x 62.9 x 55.9 cm)

Cavalier 96 1958 to 1959 96 bottles of 7 to 12 ounces

(0.2 to 0.35 l)

67 by 24.75 by 21.9 inches

(170 x 62.9 x 55.6 cm)

VMC 81 for Pepsi or 7 UP 1954 to 1959 81 bottles of 6.5 to 12 ounces

(0.19 to 0.35 l)

58 by 27 by 16 inches

(147 x 68.5 x 40.6 cm)

VMC 110 Early to late 50’s 110 bottles of 6.5 to 12 ounces

(0.19 to 0.35 l)

63 by 32.5 by 18 inches

(160 x 82.5 x 45.7 cm)

Vendo 23
Vendo 23
Vendo 39
Vendo 39
Vendo 44
Vendo 44
Vendo 56
Vendo 56
Vendo 81
Vendo 81
Vendo 110
Vendo 110
Cavalier 64
Cavalier 64
Cavalier 72
Cavalier 72
Cavalier 96
Cavalier 96
VMC 81 for Pepsi
VMC 81 for Pepsi
VMC 81 for 7 UP
VMC 81 for 7 UP
VMC 110
VMC 110

You can also find Coke machines produced by other lesser-known manufacturers, like:

  • Sure-Vend
  • Deep Freeze
  • Kelvinator
  • Victor
  • Quaker City Metal Products
  • General Electric
  • Jennings
  • Walrus

Remember that products from the same manufacturer will cost differently, depending on their popularity. For instance, the average price for a fully restored Vendo 39 is $5,000 to $6,000.

The Vendo 56 in the same condition is more pricey and typically costs $5,500 to $7,000. Finally, you need to set aside $6,500 to $10,500 for the most popular Vendo 81.

Vintage Coke machine value

Coke machine Price
Vendo 39 $1,100 to $6,000
Vendo 44 $1,500 to $6,800
Vendo 56 $2,500 to $7,000
Vendo 80 $885
Vendo 81 $2,000 to $10,500
Vendo 110 $800 to $2,000
Cavalier C 51 $650
Cavalier CS 64C $810
Cavalier CS 72 $5,800
Cavalier CS 96 $3,500 to $6,000
Westinghouse WD 5 $1,350
Vendorlator 27A $500

Except for less popular brands, you will rarely find any of these collectibles for less than $1,000. In most cases, prices start at around $2,500 for the machine in working order. Collectors also look for some less popular but beautiful vintage Coke machines, such as:

  • Rare CokeV-63

Rare CokeV-63

  • Westinghouse WD 20 Coca-Cola Cooler

Westinghouse WD 20 Coca-Cola Cooler

  • Jacobs 26 Coca-Cola 10 Cent Machine

Jacobs 26 Coca-Cola 10 Cent Machine

  • Jacobs Coca-Cola 5 Cent Vending Machine

Jacobs Coca-Cola 5 Cent Vending Machine

  • Nesbitt’s Soda Machine 15 Cent Vendor

Nesbitt’s Soda Machine 15 Cent Vendor

  • Coca-Cola Vendor Ice Maker Fountain

Coca-Cola Vendor Ice Maker Fountain

  • Ideal 55 Pepsi Cooler

Ideal 55 Pepsi Cooler

Be aware that sellers can ask for any sum of money they want, but a price listing won’t guarantee whether the machine will sell for the requested price.

Design

Design is one of the crucial characteristics you should check when identifying a Coke machine. Things that can help you effortlessly determine the desired model’s age include:

Round-top vs. flat-top models – The early vending machines created in the 1940s and 1950s came in a round-top style. A new flat-top design with wood paneling appeared in the mid-20th century.

Compatibility with bottles and cans – Before the 1960s, vending machines were made for glass bottles and didn’t fit cans. Coca-Cola changed that when introducing models for cans of 12 ounces (0.35 l).

This information will help you determine the age of the model sought. Coke vending machines with interior shelving for glass bottles were created before the 1960s, while those for cans came after 1960.

Coin-operated models with painted prices – The earliest Coke machines didn’t use coins, but that changed post-war. The higher the painted price for offered beverages you can see, the newer model is.

Serial number

Finding the serial number is the most precise way to date Coke machines. Always check a metal plate screwed on the doors and cross-reference it with Coca-Cola serial number list.

Condition

Officially, you can grade the Coke machine’s condition as:

  • Mint – This machine looks new and is unused. In rare cases, you can find a piece in unopened original packaging.
  • Excellent – It comes with original, sometimes opened packaging and has tiny marks, scratches, and stains due to use.
  • Good – This piece is scratched with visible flaking, dents, and rust.
  • Poor – This grade is reserved for worn, badly rusted, chipped, and dented machines.

Keep in mind that each machine is worth the price the seller and buyer agree on. The Coke machine value is roughly determined by demand in most cases, and it can vary despite official data.

 

Vintage Coke Machine Buying Guide

Vintage Coke Machine Buying Guide

Once you decide to buy a vintage Coke machine, you should consider a few crucial things. Since numerous brands and models are available on the market, it can be challenging to find the right piece at a realistic price.

The first step is to determine the vintage cooler or vending machine model suitable for your needs and the space you have at your disposal. Let’s see.

The way you plan to use the vintage Coke machine

After determining whether you want to use a Coke machine or need one for decoration, it is necessary to check a few things. If you plan to use it, you should know that older models fit only glass bottles.

You should look for a newer machine that accepts cans if you prefer buying them. Models created for cans of 12 ounces (0.35 l) appeared in 1960. If you want an older machine, it is crucial to check which model can be modified for using cans.

If you prefer glass bottled Coke, you should know that the bottle shape has changed over time. Having a machine with a vertical bottle stack of the wrong size can bring a problem with limited bottle stacking in an upright position.

When you want to use a vending machine as decoration, it is wise to think about your preferences. Models in original condition bring the old patina, while fully-restored ones look beautiful but are also more pricey.

Whether the vintage Coke machine works appropriately

It is a vital question if you plan to use your machine. Replacing the cooling system is costly, and it can bring you unwanted expenses you didn’t count on.

Always check whether the inside temperature gets below 40 F (4.5 C). Be aware that an original cooling system hasn’t run for years, so it will likely quickly stop working after you start using it.

Plus, you need to replace the decayed wiring, which will increase your bill. However, those things don’t need to bother you if you look for a vintage machine as decoration.

The vintage Coke machine size

The rule of thumb is that collectors look for smaller Coke machines, making them more expensive. For instance, Vendo 39, Vendo 44, and Vendo 81 models cost more because their dimensions are practical for keeping.

Even though larger machines can hold more bottles or cans, only a few admirers have a place to store sizable models like Vendo 216. If you plan to keep a machine in your office or game room, you should look for a smaller one.

On the other hand, the size won’t be crucial if you want to put the machine in the garage or outdoor patio.

Extra tips

Finally, you should decide whether you want a round-top model from the 1940s and 1950s or a modern square-top one starting in 1960.

Remember that prices rarely follow the market demands. Most prices you can see are approximately 50% to 100% higher than the accurate estimation. Therefore, you should bargain, especially if you want to restore the machine, which is an expensive process.

 

Summary

Vintage Coke machines are highly collectible nowadays. The most appreciated pieces are those produced by Vendo during the 50s, but many other companies designed widely accepted models. Most of them are expensive, but the final price depends on each piece’s condition and restoration.

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