In the days long preceding desktop publishing, many companies sent original oil paintings to designers for ad creation. After the work was completed, the paintings were returned to the company.
Usually. Sometimes, work created by popular artists didn’t return. That’s what happened to three Norman Rockwell paintings commissioned by Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). Today, the soft-drink giant is on a mission to get the paintings back, according to Bloomberg.
From 1928 to 1935, Rockwell created six paintings for the king of soda pop. Coke managed to keep only one of those paintings. The company has been able to buy back two more, but three masterpieces are still missing.
“Coke is very conscious of its heritage,” Ted Ryan, Coca-Cola’s director of heritage communications told Bloomberg. “In the 1960s we were one of the first companies to establish a corporate archives, and we now have 2,000 to 3,000 pieces of original Coca-Cola oil paintings in our collection. But somehow these three managed to slip away.”
Ryan did not disclose what each missing painting is worth, but he did tell Bloomberg that the amount it paid to buy back one of its paintings was significant.
“Let’s just say the family sent their kids through college with that painting,” he said.