John Coker’s Oct. 29-30 No-Reserve Auction Features Two Fresh, Long-Held Collections of Toys, Lunchb The Saturday auction contains more than 450 lots of toys and folk art. The Sunday auction features approximately 360 lunchboxes.
The consignor also built a sizable collection of folk art and unusual advertising items. The auction will include a Meaders family stoneware vase adorned with a snake, leaves and grapes; and 20-25 face jugs, including around five from the fabled Medders family of potters. Other noteworthy items include two Nipper ‘His Master’s Voice’ chalk figures, and a 6-ft.-high Leland McNamee’s Minstrels poster.
The Sunday, Oct. 30 session features approximately 360 lunchboxes, 30+ loose Thermoses – some quite scarce and desirable – and box lots of Thermoses and lids.
The lunchbox collection came from the estate of a man who collected from the time he was 15 until the day of his passing last fall. “His collection reflected pleasant memories of the lunches his mother packed for him when he was a boy,” Coker said. “His family owned a grocery store that made local deliveries, and his mother, who worked at the store, was an excellent cook. She would fix unbelievable sandwiches for the children, and opening their lunchboxes at school each day was an eagerly anticipated event.”
In his adult life, the collector traveled to shows far and wide, searching for lunchboxes. He bought metal, vinyl and plastic lunchboxes; and brunch bags, and he favored those that depicted robots/space, Western scenes and TV series of the 1950s and ’60s.
“There are many very rare lunchboxes in this collection, and they’re in absolutely beautiful condition,” said Coker. Among the highlights: Captain Kangaroo, Beany and Cecil, three or four Tom Corbett Space Cadet boxes in baby blue and red; five different Roy Rogers lunchboxes and many coveted dome-tops, including a Porky Pig model. An especially nice brunch bag promotes Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. It is finished in bright yellow and black, and emblazoned with the show’s best-known catch phrases.
The rarest of all lunchboxes in the sale is the 1954 ADCO metal Superman box depicting the Man of Steel fighting an evil robot with eyes that can ignite anything in their path. With its colorful graphics and superhero theme, it is considered the ultimate prize to lunchbox collectors.
“There is so much to see in this sale. If I were a collector of toys or lunchboxes, I would make it my mission to view the contents of these collections, either in person or online,” said Coker. “Everyone loves fresh collections, and these are two of the freshest.”
John W. Coker’s Oct. 29-30 auction will take place at the Coker gallery at 1511 W. Hwy. 11 East in New Market, TN 37820. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. Tel. 865-475-5163, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Coker’s online at www.antiquesonline.com.
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Smith-Miller pressed-steel and wood Coca-Cola delivery truck, complete with wood Coke crates. John W. Coker Auctions image.