EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 21 - September 09, 2000 - ISSN 1528-6703     8 of 11

Ask the Expert with Marlene Earle

By Marlene Earle

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Dear Ask the Expert,

I was hoping you might be able to help me out. A couple of years ago I acquired a vendo coke machine (free was a very good price!), and it was in sad shape. The power cord was chewed up and in pieces, the lock had had a chisel taken to it and the surrounding metal was bent, actually lots of little dents all over!

Well, what with one thing and another it sat in my shop for awhile and I have now begun trying to restore it. I cleaned it up, replaced the power cord and lock, changed the oil, etc. Then the big moment came, I plugged it in and it started working! Thought I might have to replace the refrigerant but in about 2 minutes it was putting out cold air! So cold in fact I had to turn up the thermostat to keep it from freezing the cans of pop! (It was designed to take 6.5 oz. bottles and up.)

Now my questions:
1. Can you help me identify it? The data plate is missing so all I have is the Vendo stamped into the metal. The last time it was serviced by a tech was in the 50's.
2. Once identified, where can I get parts? I.E. decals, seals (good now, but for how long?)
3. Is it possible to update the "money" hardware?

Thanks for your time.

James H.

*** Hi James,

Your machine is a square top machine, which was "born" in the 60's and originally took dimes and quarters. The 1950's machines were round top/corner. Even though your machine may have been manufactured in the very late 50's, it is still considered by collectors today to be a 60's machine.

I believe your machine (without knowing the measurements) is a VENDO 63, which were manufactured in the early 60's until the mid 70's.

The smaller size of your machine is gaining popularity today. There are larger versions, but in Coke machines the bigger they are, the less valuable they are. Your machine, the V-63, used to be called the "poor man's" 1950's VENDO 81or 56. (This was because the V-63 is similar in size but it just doesn't have that 50's look with its square top/corners.) But this is not true any more, with the prices of the 50's Coke machines always going up. The highly collectible 50's models V81 and V56 are selling restored at prices of $4,000 and up.

Most machine model numbers merely reflect how many bottles the machine vends, and has nothing to do with when it was manufactured. EXAMPLE: a Vendo 81 has 9 shelves that hold 9 bottles each, Total 81 BOTTLES. Vendo 39 has a drum that holds 39 bottles. (Very simple isn't it?)

The decal/sticker on the side has the Coke WAVE/stripe Logo, and that itself is from the 70's. That doesn't mean yours is a 70's machine, because that decal could have been added at a later date. Also, in looking at the photo, the Coke logo is missing from the top right. This came in two versions for this machine. The owner could have a solid metal plate with the Coke logo painted on a steel panel, or he could order a light up version that was simply inserted into the area and would be lit day or night.

The service record you have says it serviced in the 50's. It could have an older replaced compressor and that would explain the service tag. Where is the tag and what does it looks like?

You will be able to get everything like the correct older side and front decals, Coca Cola, Things go better with Coke, that belongs on the sides and parts for your machine. Possibly even a manual. Don't forget to get the most popular decal The Hand holding bottle decal (my favorite)

Yes, you can get the coin mech. updated also. Only if it's electrical.

I recommend you to send for a catalog from, FUNTRONICS Inc. Steve Ebner owner, P.O. Box 448, Middleton, MD 21769 Tel# (301) 371-5246

I have a special soft spot for the Vendo 63 machine. That particular machine was the very first machine I ever owned. Someone way back in the 70's gave one to us, also! (Boy did that start a chain of events.) I would love to see a picture of yours when it is finished. If you would like I can also send you a few pics too. (


About the author:

Advertising Memorabilia Editor Marlene Earle has an extensive collection of antiques and all types of advertising memorabilia. She recently sold her antiques shop to focus on online auction selling. Email her at earleandmoore @ eBay ID: cokeandmoore

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