Nostalgia hounds often seek out a variety of oddball collectibles to scratch that yesteryear itch—even unopened bottles and cans of long-discontinued beverages. From the iconic to the downright bizarre, the following gone-but-not-forgotten libations still have their fan bases, some of whom shell out pretty serious cash for these vintage potables.
1. Crystal Pepsi (1992-1993, 2016, 2022)
Not even a splashy debut commercial featuring Van Halen during Super Bowl XXVII could stave off extinction for Pepsi’s short-lived translucent cola. The so-called “Clear Cola” hit the scene in 1992 and was discontinued barely a year later. The drink saw a brief revival in 2016, and Pepsi even gave a new version of it away for a contest in 2022. But there are no plans for a permanent spot on store shelves for the clear refreshment. Today, a yellowed 16-ounce glass bottle of the original stuff can be had on eBay for around $87.
2. Billy Beer (1977-1978)
Another notorious beverage sought by collectors is Billy Beer, a brew promoted in 1977 by the late Billy Carter, kid brother of President Jimmy Carter. The younger Carter, a Georgia gas station attendant with a reputation as a drinker, was approached by the Falls City Brewing Company to lend his name to the brew. It was a failure and may very well have been the final nail in the coffin for the brewery, which closed down after more than 70 years in business in 1978. Today, an unopened six-pack will set you back about $50 on eBay.
3. New Coke (1985)
Coca-Cola has touted its famous secret formula for decades, but in the mid-'80s, the company decided to shake things up. The soda maker tweaked the formula and introduced “New Coke” to a dubious public in 1985. The new, sweeter flavor was almost universally panned, and Coca-Cola, responding to customers’ negative reaction, re-introduced the original formula after less than three months, re-branding it “Coke Classic” in the process. Over the years there has been speculation that the switch was merely a sly marketing ploy, but the rumors are largely unsubstantiated. In 2019, the controversial cola made a limited-time comeback as part of a promotion for Stranger Things. Collectors looking to own some of the original ephemeral beverage can find bottles or cans on eBay ranging from $15 to over $100.
4. Surge (1996-2002, 2014)
Surge was an attempt by Coca-Cola to compete for the “in-your-face attitude” territory that Pepsi’s Mountain Dew had staked out. A citrus-flavored soda, it was marketed as an energy drink of sorts, touting itself as “a fully-loaded citrus soda with carbos” (carbos!). The commercials featured teenagers doing “extreme” things like hurdling over ratty couches in a race to snag a single bottle. The drink developed a bit of a cult following, and seizing on the enduring demand, Coca-Cola reintroduced Surge in September 2014 as an exclusive on Amazon.com in 12-packs, which quickly sold out and found their way to eBay. Now, you can expect to pay as much as $25 a can.
5. Josta (1995-1999)
Perhaps doomed by being slightly ahead of its time, Josta by PepsiCo is widely regarded as the first bona fide energy drink put out by a major beverage bottler. Launched in 1995, it was a fruity concoction containing guarana, one of the most highly caffeinated plants known to man. There are no active eBay auctions for Josta right now, but prices online for a six-pack have hit $250 in previous years.
6. Orbitz (1997-1998)
Before there was the online travel booking service, there was the soft drink. Orbitz was unleashed on the market by the Clearly Canadian Beverage Company in 1997, each bottle packed with tiny, brightly colored gelatinous balls, giving the drink a lava lamp-like appearance. The short-lived refreshment, which came in a variety of mixed fruit flavors, barely lasted a year. A bottle of Orbitz today could set you back upwards of $50 or $60 today on eBay—around the same price as an actual lava lamp.
7. Citra (1996-2004)
Citra was a grapefruit-dominant, citrus-flavored soda put out by Coca-Cola in 1996. It graced store shelves for more than eight years before it was rebranded in 2004 as Fanta Citrus, which itself was shortly thereafter discontinued. Today, a can of the original U.S.-marketed Citra costs about $19 on eBay.
8. Pepsi Blue (2002-2004, 2021)
As the name suggests, Pepsi Blue was known for its glass cleaner-like blue tint. The company pumped huge sums of money into promoting it, recruiting the likes of Britney Spears for television spots, and partnering with a host of corporate sponsors from the New York Mets to Volkswagen. While Americans’ taste for the berry-flavored drink never really took off, it was brought back briefly in 2021 and you can grab a bottle of the revived version on eBay for $10.
9. Tab (1963-2020)
Soda controversy erupted in 2020 as Coca-Cola announced that it was discontinuing Tab, the venerable diet soft drink that was first introduced to weight-conscious pop connoisseurs back in 1963. Tab survivalists have been hoarding the sugar-free commodity ever since—a quick glance on eBay shows prices as high as $97 for a 12-pack.
10. Super Mario Soda (1993-1994)
Mario was practically everywhere in the '90s, so it wasn't a shock to see the mustachioed plumber and his equally colorful cohorts slapped onto a new line of soft drinks in 1993. This was a licensing deal with soda maker Shasta and included flavors like fruit punch, cherry, berry, and apple. The cans were only 8 ounces (as opposed to the typical 12) and boasted that they also packed some vitamin C, likely to let parents believe there was something nutritious going on here. Today, you'll find eBay listings as low as $45 for two cans and as high as an eye-watering $450 for all four.
This article was originally published in 2014; it has been updated for 2022.