Sunday, May 18, 2008

Coca-Cola fake or reproduction trays

Hello Coca-Cola collectors! Tim the Tray man here! I have decided to post this blog about how to tell the difference of original Coke trays and the reproduction trays. I will start with just a few examples and will add to this blog as time permits. I have seen too many people buy repro trays for hundreds of dollars that have been listed as originals. Some times the sellers don't know themselves if the trays are original or not. Other times, the sellers do know and are trying to make money on unsuspecting or un-educated buyers. I have seen sellers even paint the back of the trays and then scuff them up to try and fool you.


I collect trays, and have for many years. I am a member of the Coca-Cola National Collectors Club and I am also the 'Merchandiser" for the Central Florida Coca-Cola collectors club.


The most common reproduction tray out there that can fool even long time collectors is the 'Tarzan' tray which has pictured Johnny Weissmueller and Maureen O'Sullivan. The original tray is from 1934, the reproduction tray came out in the early 1970's. Also, a Company from South Africa "Metalix" produced a repro as early as 1959.


1st the original 1934 'Tarzan' tray. Measures a standard 10.5" x 13.25 ".

  1. original has a black back, no other colors
  2. original will show bottom center in the green stripe, American Artworks, Inc. Coshocton, O
  3. all verbage on original is in the green stripe, bottom, such as Coca-Cola Co 1934 and Made in USA. (note: no red stripe on the original)
  4. 'Trade Mark Registered is in the tail of the 1st C of Coca-Cola (note: repro also shows Trade Mark Registered in the tail of the 1st C also)
  5. Gold trip on outer rim, bright and metallic in appearance
Now about the reproduction or fake Tarzan tray:
  1. will not have a black back unless someone has spray painted it that way to try & fool you. The repro will have a white back, or red back, or ivory back, or light gray back
  2. repro tray does not have sharp colors, kinda fuzzy overall compared to the original.
  3. repro will not show the manufacturer, American Artworks, Inc. Coshocton, O.
  4. all verbage on the repro is in a small red stripe, bottom (note: no red stripe on original)
  5. No gold metallic on outer rim. usually a mustard color or red but not gold as the original is.

My camera isn't the best & cannot capture the small print as I would like it to but you can still see the differences from the original 1934 Tarzan & the repro from the 70's.

The 1st 3 pictures are the original. Note the black back & green stripe that surrounds the artwork which isn't present on the repro. I will post more trays as time permits. Hope this helps you from paying the big bucks for a fake tray. Compliments from:

Tim the Tray Man!








reproduction tray

6 comments:

FrocksandFrillsVintage said...

Hey this is really helpful! Do you still check this site? I have a tray that I think might be an original but I'm not sure how to tell because I don't see any print on it.

Tim the Tray man said...

Hello! Tim the tray man here. Tell me more about your tray. Any info will help. What year do you think it is and what artwork is on it. Thanks Tim

teodu09 said...

i have a reproduction tray about 1934'one with johnny weissmuller and maureen o'sullivan . i would like to know if i can sell it and at what price . thank you very much

kimkat52 said...

Hi...I have a tray, rather large with scalloped type edge. The picture is of coke bottles (smaller size), fondue pot, sliced bread for dipping, a cheese round & fresh fruit. It is black with berry? vines all around the edges. I can't find any printing on it. The back is black. Can you tell me if this is a fantasy tray, repro or original? Thanks so much.

Lisa Osanna said...

Hey Time I have a question regarding a tray! It is the 1950's Thirst Knows no season tray. It features a women from Placerville,Ca. 1st how do I know it this is an original or a repo, secondly do you know who the women is that is featured in this tray.

Lisa Osanna said...

Hello Tim! I have a couple of questions for you about a tray that I have. First off it is the thirst knows no seasons tray, How do I know if this tray is a repro or an original? Secondly I was told that it featured a women from Placerville, CA. do you know who that women might have been?