Nothing evokes childhood memories like a lunch box. Everyone had one. Close your eyes and think back to yours.
You can almost smell the baloney sandwich. Or maybe you had peanut butter and grape jelly every day. Then there’s the thermos of Campbell’s lukewarm soup.
A Mount Sterling auction house discovers that nothing sells like nostalgia. Caswell Prewitt Realty sells over 500 vintage lunch boxes, many with matching thermos.
This is the collection of the late Marvin Brown of Lancaster, who began collecting in the 1980s. Brown passed away last year and now the pieces are for sale in two lots. Some lunch boxes are very rare and fetch thousands of dollars.
“We saw it as a little auction that would be fun for the community, but it just took off,” said Omar Prewitt, co-owner of Caswell Prewitt. “This is the largest group of collectors for an item that I think I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in the auction business for 40 years.”
He said people contacted them as far away as California. Colorado collector plans to steal just to pick up the ones he wins.
When people come in to view the objects, “it conjures up a memory. They start talking about the time a bully stole their lunch or a kid they were sitting next to in the school cafeteria. … It’s just amazing the answer.
Two open houses are planned this weekend at Mount Sterling to allow potential bidders to view the boxes: November 5 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and November 6 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The online auction will close for the first 250 lunch boxes at 6 p.m. November 6. Auctions on 251 and above begin to close at 6 p.m. November 7. at auction.caswellprewittrealty.com and register.
The collection covers a wide range of 20th century pop culture: from the Beatles to Disney, from Star Trek to the Jetsons, from Evel Knievel to Holly Hobbie. TV shows from “The Addams Family” to “Zorro” including “The Brady Bunch”, “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “The Munsters”, “Welcome Back, Kotter”, “Davy Crockett”, “Charlie’s Angels” and “The Dukes of Hazzard” are all there.
Prewitt said they originally believed the items could sell for between $ 5 and $ 10 apiece.
So far the highest bids have come for a very rare 1957 lunch box and thermos with “Toppie” the elephant. By Thursday, the auction had already exceeded $ 2,000 on that one.
Why so unusual? Maybe because you could only get this item by redeeming Top Value Stamp Books. Only 12 of them exist, Dave Diederich said with Caswell Prewitt.
Diederich has cataloged the collection and thinks it will appeal to two groups of people: “Serious collectors nationwide who might be missing five or ten of those for sale, and they’ll bid competitively. Then there is the general population who could have worn peanuts when they were children and they want this one. “
The rarest in the offerings is “Chavo,” which was a TV show that aired in South America, Mexico, and Los Angeles. “It didn’t last very long in the United States and a very limited number of lunch boxes with it were made. So it’s rare, but maybe not as desirable, ”Diederich said.
He said it was all about original collectibles. “It was probably the most fun I’ve had to run an auction,” Diederich said.
After decades in the auction business, Prewitt said he thinks he’s seen almost everything.
“Then you get a lunch box sale. It really opened my eyes.