I started collecting tin soft drink signs when I was a teenager. My mom had a small design and antiques business, so she spent a lot of time with pickers (yes, I knew that term long before the eponymous TV show), at estate sales, flea/antique markets (there’s an excellent one in Atlanta called Scott’s), and antique stores. I tagged along.
Growing up, I wasn’t interested in “real” antiques, but I did like early 20th century items. Many things I liked weren’t the price range of a teenager, but some drink signs were, and I began collecting them.
Some people collect any and all Coca-Cola signs. That’s where I started, and I have several, but what I really grew to love are the more obscure drinks (ones like Diet-Rite, Pop Kola, etc.) and interesting graphics or type-face.
I don’t actively collect signs these days. I have visions of hanging the best in my NYC apartment. But shipping hassles, differing roommate aesthetics, and the like have kept the best ones in Atlanta. For now.