When Coca-Cola Engaged In Price-Fixing

In 1953, the cost of a bottle of Coke from a vending machine was a mere 5¢. Coca-Cola sought ways to increase the price, even approaching the U.S. Treasury Department to ask that they mint a 7.5¢ coin. The Treasury was unsympathetic, so that left Coca-Cola with only one option: price fixing. The company briefly implemented a strategy where one in every nine vending machine bottles was empty. The empty bottle was called an “official blank.” That meant that, while most nickels inserted into a vending machine would yield a full bottle of Coke, one in nine patrons would have to insert two nickels in order to get a full bottle. That effectively raised the price to 5.625¢. That didn’t last long, though. By 1959, the last of the nickel Cokes had been sold and the cost increased to 10¢. Today, an ice-cold bottle of Coke will set you back an average of $1.89.