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Tonka Trucks

Originally known as the Mound Metalcraft Co., Tonka Trucks began production in Mound, Minnesota making sturdy pressed-steel trucks just after WWII. Mound Metalcraft purchased a building and several dies from the Streater Co., a company that patented several toys but never put them into production. With the dies from Streater’s toy-making venture, Mount Metalcraft Co. was prepared to enter the toy manufacturing business.

Though formed in 1946 by Lynn Baker, Alvin Tesch, and Avery Crounse, in November 1955, the company changed and incorporated their name to Tonka Toys. The word tonka is derived from the Dakota Sioux word for “tanka” meaning great or big.

Tonka saw a huge expansion in 1947 and 1948 with the popularity of their toy steam shovel and crane with clam bucket. This toy catapulted the company to the forefront of the pressed-steel toy industry. By 1955, the company had introduced dump trucks, wreckers, semi trucks, and box vans.

Quick Facts

  • Tonka’s pre-1955 box vans are sought by collectors today due to their private and commercial advertising labels. Several of these rare-labeled trucks have values in the thousands of dollars today
  • Tonka’s initial toys were not their own invention. They bought the original patents of dies and toys left behind by The Streater Co. after taking over their building
  • The steam shovel and crane with clam bucket were not Tonka inventions, but part of the patent models they purchased. Tonka later reinvented the two toys

Recommended Items at Auction

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TONKA TRUCK CAMPER TOY VINTAGE COLLECTIBLE
Oct 17, 1:00 PM CDT
TONKA TRUCK CAMPER TOY VINTAGE COLLECTIBLE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$225 Bids
TONKA TOY SEMI TRUCK LIVESTOCK HAULER
Nov 11, 9:00 AM CST
TONKA TOY SEMI TRUCK LIVESTOCK HAULER
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Restored Tonka Swanson Bros Movers Truck & Trailer
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Restored Tonka Swanson Bros Movers Truck & Trailer
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Original Tonka Thunderbird Express Truck & Trailer
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Original Tonka Thunderbird Express Truck & Trailer
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Tonka State Hi-Way road grader
Oct 19, 3:30 PM EDT
Tonka State Hi-Way road grader
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $2,000
$251 Bid
Tiny-Tonka Stinger No. 456
Oct 15, 9:00 AM CDT
Tiny-Tonka Stinger No. 456
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$151 Bid
Vintage Tonka Car Hauler
Oct 22, 9:00 AM EDT
Vintage Tonka Car Hauler
by Olde Tyme Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Tonka custom John Deere farm stake side truck
Oct 19, 3:30 PM EDT
Tonka custom John Deere farm stake side truck
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $2,000
$251 Bid
Tonka Starkist Tuna delivery truck
Oct 19, 3:30 PM EDT
Tonka Starkist Tuna delivery truck
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $2,000
$251 Bid
Tonka Green Giant delivery truck
Oct 19, 3:30 PM EDT
Tonka Green Giant delivery truck
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $2,000
$251 Bid
Original Tonka Our Own Hardware Truck & Trailer
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Original Tonka Our Own Hardware Truck & Trailer
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Tonka white stake rail truck
Oct 19, 3:30 PM EDT
Tonka white stake rail truck
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $2,000
$251 Bid
Tonka No. 04 Farm Stake Truck Box Only
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Tonka No. 04 Farm Stake Truck Box Only
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Original Tonka Thunderbird Express Truck & Trailer
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Original Tonka Thunderbird Express Truck & Trailer
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Original Tonka Private Label V-Stores Truck
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Original Tonka Private Label V-Stores Truck
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Tonka Gas Turbine Aerial Ladder No. 2998 In Box
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Tonka Gas Turbine Aerial Ladder No. 2998 In Box
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Tonka Trencher Loader No. 534 In The Box
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Tonka Trencher Loader No. 534 In The Box
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Tonka Square Fender Dump Truck No. 6 In Box
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Tonka Square Fender Dump Truck No. 6 In Box
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Original Tonka No. 40 Car Carrier Truck w/ Box
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Original Tonka No. 40 Car Carrier Truck w/ Box
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
Tonka No. 504 Stake Truck & Stake Trailer w/ Box
Oct 22, 10:00 AM CDT
Tonka No. 504 Stake Truck & Stake Trailer w/ Box
by Kraft Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$251 Bid
(3) Tonka Toys:
Oct 15, 10:00 AM EDT
(3) Tonka Toys:
by Gateway Gallery Auction
Est: $0- $0
$200 Bids
3 TOY CARS TONKA HOT WHEELS
Oct 12, 12:00 PM EDT
3 TOY CARS TONKA HOT WHEELS
by Converse Auctions
Est: $20- $40
$100 Bids
Tonka Car
Nov 05, 9:15 AM EDT
Tonka Car
by Olde Tyme Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$20 Bids
TONKA TOY SEMI TRUCK GRAIN HAULER
Nov 11, 9:00 AM CST
TONKA TOY SEMI TRUCK GRAIN HAULER
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Tonka Trucks


Kraft Auction Service

Kraft Auction Service

Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC

Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC

Millers Auction Co.

Millers Auction Co.