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    John Pemberton's First Coca Bottle: The Precursor to Coca-Cola.

    French Wine Coca Bottle with Original Paper Labels. This bottle is a rare survivor from the pre-history of Coca-Cola. It contained Pemberton's French Wine Coca, a beverage designed to compete with Vin Mariani, a Bordeaux wine infused with cocaethylene (cocaine and alcohol). John Pemberton was an Atlanta, Georgia druggist and Civil War vet whose war injuries were assuaged with pain killers and other narcotics readily available at the time. His alcoholic "nerve tonic" was mixed with coca, kola nut, damiana and cocaethylene. Pemberton marketed his version as a panacea that would alleviate pain and improve sexual function. In 1885, Atlanta and Fulton County enacted temperance legislation. Fearing his new product might soon be banned from the market, Pemberton developed a new formula using the kola nut and the unrestricted coca (the first "New Coke"!). The result was the earliest formula for Coca Cola. Financial difficulties and the need to finance his own drug habit prompted Pemberton to sell his formula to Asa Candler in 1886. For a period of years, Coca-Cola still contained small amounts of cocaine and was marketed as the "Ideal Brain Tonic" that would relieve headaches and fatigue. Embossed at the base of the neck of the bottle it reads "Pemberton's Wine Coca." Although there is loss on the back label, the front is nearly complete. Typical of medicinal bottles made during the 1880's, this bottle has an applied lip and shows some residue or "sickness" to the inside. Size: 11" tall. We are aware of only three Pemberton "French Wine Coca" bottles in existence. This example is the only one with the labels largely intact.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    24th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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