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Treasure Trove of Vintage Coffee Tins and Artifacts Up for Auction

From splashy colors and intricate hand drawings to clean, minimalist lines to plain, rustic craft bags, coffee packaging design these days is all over the map.

And yet as coffee is a consumable item of timeless appeal and a product of craft,   the nods to vintage, old-timey aesthetics in contemporary design are frequent and sometimes cyclical, depending on the aesthetics and marketing trends du jour.

For anyone with an interest in coffee or label design or, better yet, both, a fascinating auction is being staged by New York-based Weiss Auctions this week, offering up an extensive collection of genuine vintage and antique coffee packaging, advertising materials and other commercial memorabilia.

The collection belongs to Lowell and Barbara Shindler, who together founded the office coffee service company U.S. Coffee over 50 years ago. The National Automatic Merchandising Association named Lowell Shindler its 2015 Coffee Legend for his contributions to the industry over the course of his 44-year career. Sadly the honor was bestowed posthumously, as Shindler passed away in 2012. His widow Barbara Shindler is now auctioning off the couple’s extensive collection of coffee design artifacts — a collection of thousands of individual pieces, most of which are estimated to be valued in the hundreds of dollars apiece.

Phil Weiss of Weiss Auctions confirmed that the auction this Thursday, June 22, will be part 1 of what could be 10 or more sales in all, considering the sheer abundance of stuff. There will be another auction sometime this fall and two or three more in 2018, with the series continuing from there.

There are roughly 76 coffee-related lots in the auction this week, all of which are visible on the Weiss Auctions website, where bids can also be placed in advance of the actual sale. Online advance bidding ends 15 minutes prior to the actual sale, which goes live at 10 a.m. EST tomorrow, June 22.

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