Coca-Cola enlists TV show in hunt for artworks
ATLANTA—Coca-Cola is teaming up with a television show in its search for three iconic paintings by Norman Rockwell which could be worth a total of about $1.5 million.
Antiques Roadshow has put the works of art on its "most wanted" list, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (http://bit.ly/a1eK). That means the show will feature the Rockwell pieces in its most-wanted segment, which focuses on everything from stolen art sought by police to furnishings that seem to have vanished into thin air.
The illustrations were created by Rockwell in the 1930s for the Atlanta-based company's calendars and billboards. The illustrations, which depict Americans enjoying the soft drink, have been valued by one appraiser at up to $500,000 each.
The paintings are described by Ted Ryan, a spokesman for Coke's archives, as the biggest missing pieces of the company's extensive collection of memorabilia.
Ryan and archive head Phil Mooney have searched nationwide for the pieces, including private collections, auctions and at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts and the American Illustrator Museum in Rhode Island.
"These paintings have been the top of the list for us as long as I have been here and that's been about 15 years," Ryan said.
They are among six illustrations Rockwell created for Coke -- four for calendars and two for billboards. Three were recovered over the years, two of which hang at the World of Coca-Cola. The third is in the office of Coke Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent.
Now, Coke hopes to locate the missing illustrations. Whoever has one of them -- or all three -- is sitting on a pot of gold, said Adam Monahan, an associate producer for Antiques Roadshow.
"The interesting thing is that there is someone out there with a winning lottery ticket," he said.
Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com