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World's Fair Knife

Hello, my name is Ron. I own a pocket knife that says Coca-Cola 5 Cents from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. On the blade bottom, it is a little worn, but you can make out Royal USA. I looked this up at the library and I have a feeling its the real McCoy! Is there any way I can get this knife authenticated? If it is genuine I would very much like to sell it. Any info will be appreciated. Thanks.

This is one of those items that seems to be around everywhere. Unfortunately, the 1933 Chicago World's Fair knife is a fantasy item. That means it was never an actual item made or licensed by the Coca-Cola Company.

There are a lot of these around. In fact, I own one myself (pictured above). These items, however, are particularly objectionable to many collectors because these items are deliberately and illegally reproduced, without the permission of Coca-Cola. The "Fair" knives can be found with white lettering on a red handle or red lettering on a yellow handle. Many others of these have been reproduced. As far as collecting value goes, they aren't worth a thing. If you know these are not old and you want these for your collection, don't pay over $6-$7 for them.

Now, there are some newer knives licensed by Coca-Cola. There's nothing wrong with these for collecting, but they may not necessarily gain a lot in value unless they are special collector's items as opposed to these common types.

So what's so bad about these? The problem is there are many people who try to pass these off as "old" collectibles. (The bottom knife on the left actually had a starting selling price of $19.99 from someone in Atlanta on eBay! The one above that started at $10.) For those who know what they are getting, it isn't bad, but for the inexperienced collector, a lot of money could be spent on a virtually worthless item.

There are certain key things to watch out for when buying Coke collectibles. Beware of items with phrases like "Trans Pan Expo", "World's Fair" or "Pan American Exposition." Just because it looks old, it doesn't mean it is old.
If you really want to collect Coca-Cola memorabilia, I highly recommend getting a book like "Petretti's Coca-Cola Collectibles Price Guide," which provides lots of information on collectibles and tips for collectors. This book is not cheap, but if you really want to get into collecting, it can pay for itself in identification of fakes and really save you some big mistakes.