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Famous Coca-Cola Museum in Kentucky Closes Its Doors

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky.) -- If you happened to be in Elizabethtown, Kentucky Tuesday and wanted to stop by the famed Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia, you were out of luck.

The museum closed up for good without warning.

However, if you happen to be a Coca-Cola memorabilia collector in the market for some really valuable one-of-a-kind items, you are definitely in luck because the family of Bill and Jan Schmidt will be selling all of their 80,000 artifacts at auction beginning this September.

The Schmidts, who owned a Coke bottling plant, founded their museum in 1977, which features everything from old coke bottles and trays to soda fountains and antique delivery trucks.

An archivist with the Coca-Cola Company ranked the Schmidt collection as one of the top three private holdings.  In fact, the museum has many Coke items that the Coca-Cola company doesn’t.

Larry Schmidt, whose father, Bill, died four years ago, said that the family will hold periodic auctions in order not to flood the market, which would devalue other private collections.

It’s expected that the Schmidt family will reap about $10 million once the auctions are completed several years down the road.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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