520 vintage lunchboxes go up for auction in Mt. Sterling

Posted at 6:59 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 22:13:18-04

MOUNT STERLING, Ky. (LEX 18) — A family’s massive collection of vintage lunchboxes are up for auction in Montgomery County, and the event is taking people down memory lane.

The collection of 520 vintage lunch boxes is the product of a 40-year passion project of Lancaster native Marvin Brown.

“When people saw them, usually, the first expression was ‘Wow. How did he collect so many?’” said Mark Brown, Marvin’s son.


Mark said his dad bought the first lunch box in the 1980s when he was a child.

Metal lunch boxes rose in popularity in the 1950s alongside the boom of television shows. The very last metal lunch box was printed in 1985 and featured Rambo. Brown said the lunchbox is among his dad’s collection.

“It was always interesting to get to look at the old boxes and think about the kids that would have taken them to school,” he said.

Marvin Brown passed away on July 4, 2020. The Brown family does not have space to store the collection and has decided to give them a shot at a new home instead of letting them be thrown away or collect dust.

Caswell Prewitt Realty is in charge of the lunch box auction.

“I was so excited because I like quirky collectibles,” said auctioneer Dave Diedrich.

The lunch boxes feature all sorts of characters, including Strawberry Shortcake, Batman, the Jetsons, Barbie, and more.

Currently, the highest bid for the collection sits at $1550 for a Toppie the Elephant lunch box. Only 12 were ever made, according to Diedrich.

The oldest lunch box in the collection is a simple metal box made in 1885.

Auctioneer Omar Prewitt said it’s worthwhile from a historical standpoint to visit and see the lunchboxes, even if you don’t plan to place a bid.

“[The lunch boxes] evoke memories and [viewers] start talking about the kid they sat next to in school or a bully who stole their lunch,” Prewitt said. “I think [people will] be entertained just seeing and reminiscing.”

The first lot closes at 6 p.m. on Nov. 7.

To make a bid or find out more information about viewing the collection, you can visit here.