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December 11, 2008

Coca-Cola Santa dolls

Cocacola_santa_doll_2This is the time of year when many Coke collectors bring out a great holiday piece: the Coca-Cola Santa doll.

A lot of people – even those who don’t consider themselves “collectors” – have these dolls. I’ve heard a lot of stories from people who have hung on to these Santa dolls specifically because they were a part of their annual holiday decorating traditions that has been extended to a new generation.

Coke_african_american_santa_dollThe original Santa Claus dolls, made by the Rushton Company, an Atlanta-based toy manufacturer, were first given out by Coca-Cola bottlers as promotional items in 1957. Additional “models” (with changes such as different colors of boots) were produced during the late 1950s and 1960s.

Though the dolls were first sold for just $3 each (in 1957), today Coca-Cola Santa dolls from the 1950s and 60s sell for around $125. There is an African-American Santa doll (such as the one I’ve pictured here, from 1971) that sells for around $100.

As with every kind of Coke collectible item, of course, condition impacts price. And you have to make sure you don’t have a recently made doll, such as the 75th Anniversary model from 2006.

If you can find a Coca-Cola Santa today for anything near the $3 original price, you have found a real bargain!