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June 19, 2013

It's so sweet that you still have your children's elementary school lunch boxes stored in the attic. Guess what?  They're valuable!  I'm not talking 'pay-their-tuition-at-Harvard' money but vintage lunch boxes are worth some serious cash.

As with the majority of collectibles, their value depends on two main factors - the condition of the box and the rarity.  Another important factor is whether the original thermos is with the box.  Actually, to most collectors that's a deal breaker.


So, your big question is, "How much are these beauties worth?"

This 1968 Aladdin lunch tote and thermos sold for $223.61.

The winning bidder paid $168 for this 1977
Wonder Woman lunch box and thermos.

A 1977 Welcome Back, Kotter lunch tote and thermos
sold for $224 (wonder if the buyer was John Travolta.)

A serious collector paid almost $400 for this 1962 Barbie
lunch box even though no thermos was included.

The photo, above, shows the front and back of the 1968
Star Trek lunch pail that sold for over $300 in 2006.

A buyer paid almost $2,200 for this 1954
lunch box and thermos in January, 2008.

Considered one of the most sought after vintage lunch boxes, this Superman set sold for $13,225 by MastroNet, Inc., in December, 2003.   Source

This 1969 Wild Wild West lunch box with thermos sold for $450.

But over the last year the prices of vintage lunch boxes have softened.  For
those who might be interested in starting a collection, now is the time to buy.

The Popeye lunch box and thermos sold this week for $77 on eBay.

A generic 1977 skateboarding lunch box
and thermos sold 2 days ago for $104.49.

You can expect to pay $150 to $225 for a 1980 Dukes of Hazard set.

If you have lunch boxes from the 60s, 70s, and 80s hang on to them.
They're an important part of Americana  memorabilia and are sure to
increase in value.  Just remember - don't lose the thermos.

I'd like to send a Happy Birthday shout out to my BFF Lisa.  She
tolerates my crazies and loves me anyway.  Lisa, you're the cat's pajamas!


  1. Very interesting post. I wish I had kept those old lunch boxes the kids had.

    1. I still have my son's original Transformers and my daughter's Strawberry Shortcake lunch boxes but, alas, I didn't keep the thermos. That was about the time that the thermos design went from metal to plastic. Growing up, we just used an old brown paper bag! -- Jan

  2. Wow, great information here, especially as hubby and I begin a systematic cleanup and good riddance to all the "stuff" stuffing our house. I am sure we'll find a treasure or two, and I'll be back to check out more of your useful tips.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. Your key word is 'systematic' - it can be so overwhelming to downsize and get rid of stuff. It definitely helps if you have a system. Come back soon! -- Jan

  3. My parents held onto my Snoopy lunch box and Scooby Doo! Not sure what they are worth now. I wonder what kids today would say about carrying a tin box to school! lol..

    1. OMG, the Scooby Doo lunch boxes were the best! Remember the Mystery Machine?! Most school cafeterias look like Mall food courts now so it's hard to imagine today's kids even wanting to pack a lunch. I remember the stress of packing 'interesting' lunches for my kids - so often I took the easy way out and packed Lunchables! -- Jan

  4. Oh....Just love favorite is Popeye and Bed knobs & broomsticks!

  5. I remember having the black Barbie lunch box! Wish I still had it! Fun series of photos! xo