Stephen and Sandra Rich’s collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia began with just a few serving trays.
Now an unknown number of pieces whose dates of origin span more than 100 years make up one of the largest private collections in the country.
The couple, both UNC alumni, will display a portion of their artifacts beginning tonight at the Love House and Hutchins Forum in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola.
Stephen Rich worked as an executive with the Coca-Cola Co. at its headquarters in Atlanta for 30 years.
As an Atlanta native, Rich said he inherited his collecting gene from his mother.
“What company better reflects our country and the south?” he said.
The couple’s memorabilia — including a life-size cutout of Michael Jordan holding a Coke, a 1904 oval plate of the St. Louis World’s Fair and a miniature model of Stonehenge with Coca-Cola products in place of rocks — is housed in their downstairs den.
Stephen said every piece has a story.
He first saw the Michael Jordan cutout on a marketing floor near his office about 20 years ago.