The Christmas Coca-Cola Steins of the mid-1990s
SCI Master Steinologist, member of the Burgermeister chapter
the mid-1990s Coca Cola entered the Christmas character stein
business with four entries. The first three steins all used the basic
shape of the old fashioned Coca Cola bell-glass as the body of the
stein. The stoneware bodies for the three were made by Gerz in
Germany. The steins bore a flat pewter lid and stylized thumblift. Atop
each of the three flat pewter lids was installed a different hand
painted Santa figure made of cold-cast resin. These figures were made
in Scotland and were permanently mounted on the flat pewter lid. The
three year run was produced by Longton Crown. Each stein was a limited
edition of 8000. They came with a Certificate of Authenticity which
described the stein body decoration.
Coca Cola had been using Santa as a salesman since the 1920s. Starting in 1931 Coca Cola
used an American illustrator, Haddon Sundblom, to
prepare at least one Santa painting each year. His "realistic"
depictions of Santa helped bring the character to life. Several
of those paintings were then converted into posters. The three steins
were based on paintings/posters crafted by Mr. Sundblom.
The first in the series was copyrighted in 1993. It is based on a 1949
Sundblom painting entitled "Santa Refreshed". The painting includes not
only Santa and a team of reindeer but also a Coca Cola character named
"Sprite Boy" who wears a Coca Cola bottle cap as a hat and is holding
the reins for the reindeer. Santa is not depicted on the body of the
stein. The term "Coca-Cola" adorns the body of the stein. The top of
the stein bears the bust of a fully dressed Santa drinking from a
bottle of Coca Cola. The base reads: "Produced in Germany For The
Second in the series is the stein entitled (and bearing the words): "The
pause that refreshes". This stein, copyrighted in 1994, is based on a
1960 Sundblom painting entitled "A Merry Christmas Calls for Coke."
The body of the stein depicts Santa sitting in an easy chair, being
served a glass of Coca Cola by one of his elves, while two other elves
are playing a bugle and bass drum respectively. The words "Enjoy Coca
Cola" adorn the face of the bass drum. This depiction is based on the
poster drawn from the painting which originally had three additional
elves. The flat pewter lid is adorned with a resin figure which
duplicates the Santa figure depicted on the stein body. An additional line has been added to the base to indicate the copyright date of 1994.
The last in the series, copyrighted in 1995, is based on a 1936
Sundblom painting entitled "Me too." The stein depicts Santa sitting
cross-legged pointing to a bottle of Coca Cola. On the floor
surrounding him are a doll, a toy duck and a train set. A sign
saying "Drink Coca-Cola" is also incorporated in the body design. The
"Me too" title and "The pause that refreshes" have been added in gold to
the body. The lid figure duplicates the Santa depiction on the body.
The base contains the 1995 copyright date.
In 1996, Coca Cola moved away from this series to produce one of its
most popular pieces - the polar bear stein. The polar bears were first
introduced as part of the Coca Cola sales group in 1993. The
advertisement campaign became an instant hit. To capitalize on its
popularity, the stoneware polar bear stein was introduced. It shows the
bear holding a Coca Cola bottle with two of his cubs near a fir tree. One cub has a red scarf around its neck, the other is wearing a red cap with one ear peeking out.
The thumblift is a pewter recreation of the red Coca Cola disk which appears at the bottom of the front of the stein. The stein was made in Brazil and
distributed by M. Cornell Importers as reflected on the base.
Each of these steins was of good quality and used versions are
available on ebay and other secondary markets. None are overly
expensive and they can add a dose of Holiday Cheer to your celebration at
this time of year.
Wishing everyone a
Very Happy Holiday Season!!! Prosit!!!