Magnus Kolstad, Flickr
Magnus Kolstad, Flickr

10 Discontinued Beverages Coveted by Collectors

Magnus Kolstad, Flickr
Magnus Kolstad, Flickr

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

gavin rice, Flickr

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. A citrus version called simply Crystal shared a similar fate. It saw a brief resurrection in the mid-2000s in Mexico, where it sold as “Pepsi Clear.” Today, a yellowed 16-ounce glass bottle of the stuff can be had on eBay for around $40.

2. Billy Beer – 1977-1978

Chris Coyier, Flickr

Another notorious beverage of yore sought by collectors is Billy Beer, a brew promoted in 1977 by the late Billy Carter, kid brother of then-President Jimmy. The younger Carter, a Georgia gas station attendant with a reputation as a drinker and a bit of a hayseed, 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. They 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. Collectors looking to own some of the ephemeral beverage can find bottles or cans on eBay ranging from $15 to over $100.

4. Surge – 1996-2002

Magnus Kolstad, Flickr

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 in 12-packs, which quickly sold out and found their way to eBay, where prices range from $8-15 per can to more than $50 for a 12-pack.

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 current active auctions, but recent prices online for a six-pack have hit $250.

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 will set you back around $20 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. Citra graced store shelves for more than eight years before it was re-branded in 2004 as Fanta Citrus, which itself was shortly thereafter discontinued. The original Citra, however, was introduced in test markets in India last year to gauge interest for a wider national rollout. A can of the original U.S.-marketed Citra costs about $4 on eBay, with bottles going as high as $19.49.

8. Pepsi Blue – 2002-2004

A more recent belly flop in the world of soda was Pepsi Blue. As the name suggests, the soda was known for its glass cleaner-like blue tint. Pepsi 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 soft drink never really took off, it remains a popular beverage in parts of Asia, and you can buy cans on ebay for around $5.

9. Pitch Black Mountain Dew – 2004-2005, 2011

Released in 2004 as a Halloween-themed version of the popular soda, Pitch Black Mountain Dew was a dark-purple, grape-flavored soft drink, promising “a blast of black grape.” Pitch Black also had a sequel—a sour version with the moniker Pitch Black II was released for a limited time for Halloween 2005. It also had a brief promotional reappearance in the summer of 2011. While discontinued in the U.S., Pitch Black fanatics can still get their hands on some in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, or Singapore. Vintage cans on eBay go for about $8 each.

10. Jolt Cola – 1985-2009

bjoern, Flickr

The drink on our list with the longest staying power by far is Jolt Cola, which fueled countless all-night cram sessions and had kids bouncing off the walls at birthday parties for nearly 25 years. The super-caffeinated drink, put out by the defunct Wet Planet Beverages, boasted that it contained twice the caffeine of regular colas. As stiffer competition emerged in the energy drink market, Jolt tried numerous gimmicks to stay relevant like wacky noise-making packaging and a widely expanded selection of flavors, even lending its name to a line of gum. Wet Planet went belly-up in 2009, taking with it an iconic former staple of dorm fridges everywhere.

9 Curses for Book Thieves From the Middle Ages and Beyond

It may seem extreme to threaten the gallows for the theft of a book, but that's just one example in the long, respected tradition of book curses. Before the invention of moveable type in the West, the cost of a single book could be tremendous. As medievalist Eric Kwakkel explains, stealing a book then was more like stealing someone’s car today. Now, we have car alarms; then, they had chains, chests … and curses. And since the heyday of the book curse occurred during the Middle Ages in Europe, it was often spiced with Dante-quality torments of hell.

The earliest such curses go back to the 7th century BCE. They appear in Latin, vernacular European languages, Arabic, Greek, and more. And they continued, in some cases, into the era of print, gradually fading as books became less expensive. Here are nine that capture the flavor of this bizarre custom.


A book curse from the Arnstein Bible, circa 1172
A curse in the Arnstein Bible
British Library // Public Domain

The Arnstein Bible at the British Library, written in Germany circa 1172, has a particularly vivid torture in mind for the book thief: “If anyone steals it: may he die, may he be roasted in a frying pan, may the falling sickness [i.e. epilepsy] and fever attack him, and may he be rotated [on the breaking wheel] and hanged. Amen.”


A 15th-century French curse featured by Marc Drogin in his book Anathema! Medieval Scribes and the History of Book Curses has a familiar "House That Jack Built"-type structure:

“Whoever steals this book
Will hang on a gallows in Paris,
And, if he isn’t hung, he’ll drown,
And, if he doesn’t drown, he’ll roast,
And, if he doesn’t roast, a worse end will befall him.”


A book curse excerpted from the 13th-century Historia scholastica
A book curse from the Historia scholastica
Yale Beinecke Library // Public Domain

In The Medieval Book, Barbara A. Shailor records a curse from Northeastern France found in the 12th-century Historia scholastica: “Peter, of all the monks the least significant, gave this book to the most blessed martyr, Saint Quentin. If anyone should steal it, let him know that on the Day of Judgment the most sainted martyr himself will be the accuser against him before the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Drogin also records this 13th-century curse from a manuscript at the Vatican Library, as notes. It escalates rapidly.

"The finished book before you lies;
This humble scribe don’t criticize.
Whoever takes away this book
May he never on Christ look.
Whoever to steal this volume durst
May he be killed as one accursed.
Whoever to steal this volume tries
Out with his eyes, out with his eyes!"


A book curse from an 11th century lectionary
A book curse from an 11th century lectionary
Beinecke Library // Public Domain

An 11th-century book curse from a church in Italy, spotted by Kwakkel, offers potential thieves the chance to make good: “Whoever takes this book or steals it or in some evil way removes it from the Church of St Caecilia, may he be damned and cursed forever, unless he returns it or atones for his act.”


This book curse was written in a combination of Latin and German, as Drogin records:

"To steal this book, if you should try,
It’s by the throat you’ll hang high.
And ravens then will gather ’bout
To find your eyes and pull them out.
And when you’re screaming 'oh, oh, oh!'
Remember, you deserved this woe."


This 18th-century curse from a manuscript found in Saint Mark’s Monastery, Jerusalem, is written in Arabic: “Property of the monastery of the Syrians in honorable Jerusalem. Anyone who steals or removes [it] from its place of donation will be cursed from the mouth of God! God (may he be exalted) will be angry with him! Amen.”


A book curse in a 17th century manuscript cookbook
A book curse in a 17th century cookbook

A 17th-century manuscript cookbook now at the New York Academy of Medicine contains this inscription: "Jean Gembel her book I wish she may be drouned yt steals it from her."


An ownership inscription on a 1632 book printed in London, via the Rochester Institute of Technology, contains a familiar motif:

“Steal not this Book my honest friend
For fear the gallows be yr end
For when you die the Lord will say
Where is the book you stole away.”


One of the most elaborate book curses found on the internet runs as follows: "For him that stealeth a Book from this Library, let it change to a Serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with Palsy, and all his Members blasted. Let him languish in Pain, crying aloud for Mercy and let there be no surcease to his Agony till he sink to Dissolution. Let Book-worms gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final Punishment let the Flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye.”

Alas, this curse—still often bandied about as real—was in fact part of a 1909 hoax by the librarian and mystery writer Edmund Pearson, who published it in his "rediscovered" Old Librarian's Almanack. The Almanack was supposed to be the creation of a notably curmudgeonly 18th-century librarian; in fact, it was a product of Pearson's fevered imagination.

5 Things We Know About Deadpool 2

After Deadpool pocketed more than $750 million worldwide in its theatrical run, a sequel was put on the fast track by Fox to capitalize on the original's momentum. It's a much different position to be in for a would-be franchise that was stuck in development hell for a decade, and with Deadpool 2's May 18, 2018 release date looming, the slow trickle of information is going to start picking up speed—beginning with the trailer, which just dropped. Though most of the movie is still under wraps, here's what we know so far about the next Deadpool.


The tendency with comic book movie sequels is to keep cramming more characters in until the main hero becomes a supporting role. While Deadpool 2 is set to expand the cast from the first film with the addition of Domino (Zazie Beetz), the return of Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and the formation of X-Force, writer Rhett Reese is adamant about still making sure it's a Deadpool movie.

"Yeah, it’ll be a solo movie," Reese told Deadline. "It’ll be populated with a lot of characters, but it is still Deadpool’s movie, this next one."


Fans have been waiting for Cable to come to theaters ever since the first X-Men movie debuted in 2000, but up until now, the silver-haired time traveler has been a forgotten man. Thankfully, that will change with Deadpool 2, and he'll be played by Josh Brolin, who is also making another superhero movie appearance in 2018 as the villain Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. In the comics, Cable and Deadpool are frequent partners—they even had their own team-up series a few years back—and that dynamic will play out in the sequel. The characters are so intertwined, there were talks of possibly having him in the original.

"It’s a world that’s so rich and we always thought Cable should be in the sequel," Reese told Deadline. "There was always debate whether to put him in the original, and it felt like we needed to set up Deadpool and create his world first, and then bring those characters into his world in the next one."

Cable is actually the son of X-Men member Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey named Madelyne Pryor (that's probably the least confusing thing about him, to be honest). While the movie might not deal with all that history, expect Cable to still play a big role in the story.


Although Deadpool grossed more than $750 million worldwide and was a critical success, it still wasn't enough to keep original director Tim Miller around for the sequel. Miller recently came out and said he left over concerns that the sequel would become too expensive and stylized. Instead, Deadpool 2 will be helmed by John Wick (2014) director David Leitch. Despite the creative shuffling, the sequel will still feature star Ryan Reynolds and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

“He’s just a guy who’s so muscular with his action," Reynolds told Entertainment Weekly of Leitch's hiring. "One of the things that David Leitch does that very few filmmakers can do these days is they can make a movie on an ultra tight minimal budget look like it was shot for 10 to 15 times what it cost,"


No, this won't be the title of the movie when it hits theaters, but the working title for Deadpool 2 while it was in production was, appropriately, Love Machine.


The natural instinct for any studio is to make the sequel to a hit film even bigger. More money for special effects, more action scenes, more everything. That's not the direction Deadpool 2 is likely heading in, though, despite Miller's fears. As producer Simon Kinberg explained, it's about keeping the unique tone and feel of the original intact.

"That’s the biggest mandate going into on the second film: to not make it bigger," Kinberg told Entertainment Weekly. "We have to resist the temptation to make it bigger in scale and scope, which is normally what you do when you have a surprise hit movie."


More from mental floss studios