Last night we told you about the memorablilia collection of Ralph Butler.
He was known around Paris, Illinois as the "Coke Man" and his huge Coca-Cola memorabilia collection was auctioned off today.
Tom McClanahan was at the Edgar County Fairgrounds and joins us now in the studio, Tom.Tom says, "Sydney, you saw all of the Coca-Cola stuff in Ralph's estate in your report last night."
This morning, the bidding began to an audience literally around the world.
Matthew Moss, says,"Anybody in the world can bid on this stuff and have it shipped to 'em." It was not just a packed house at an activities building at the fairgrounds, but bidders around the world wanting to buy something from Ralph Butler's collection. Bids were received from those watching online. Butler worked for years at the Paris Coke bottling plant, ultimately managing it. Rather than throw promotional material away, Ralph kept it. Now his estate is reaping the benefits.
The first item for bid, a somewhat faded thermometer in a Coke bottle, was bought by this man from Shelburn, Indiana for around 65 or 70 dollars and the party was on. People from far and wide. This man from Spencer, Indiana, who saw several interested bidders and more.
Dave Snapp says, "There's also some die-hard collectors here, too we've noticed." Tom asks, are you a diehard? Dave replies, "Yes, don't tell anybody."Janet Heuerman came from Teutopolis with another reason. She says, "My husband and I collect a lot of soda memorabilia but we also own a business that we restore soda machines. We actually sell parts to people who restore them. My husband restores soda machine, also." The sale went well. Larry Moss, founder of the auction service used, actually appraised Ralph's collection years ago. The demand has certainly changed since then.
Larry says, "The sale's only about 20 percent now, it's not 20 percent yet, but he's probably already raised more money that i totaled the whole thing at."The sale lasted about three hours eliminating a lifetime of memories collected by the "Coke Man."
The exact total of the money raised by the auction was not released. The auction team did say it doubled their expectations.
The money goes to Ralph Butler's estate. The items sold now go to the shelf of some serious collectors.