Loading Spinner

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

See all items

Two Antique Pressed Steel Delivery Trucks
Jun 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Two Antique Pressed Steel Delivery Trucks
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$201 Bid
(3pc) Vintage Models, Nylint U-Haul, Tonka
May 25, 10:00 AM MST
(3pc) Vintage Models, Nylint U-Haul, Tonka
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
TONKA BY HASBRO PLASTIC TOY WRECKER
May 27, 11:00 AM CDT
TONKA BY HASBRO PLASTIC TOY WRECKER
by Dees Auction Company,LLC
Est: $15- $25
$20 Bids
TONKA SCRAPER
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
TONKA SCRAPER
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $80- $100
$400 Bids
Three buses
May 27, 11:00 AM CEST
Three buses
by Finarte
Est: €100- €150
€1000 Bids
Five buses
May 27, 11:00 AM CEST
Five buses
by Finarte
Est: €100- €150
€1000 Bids
Tonka & Ertl Dump Trucks
Jun 03, 6:00 PM EDT
Tonka & Ertl Dump Trucks
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
1958 TONKA FIRE PUMPER TRUCK
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
1958 TONKA FIRE PUMPER TRUCK
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
TONKA SAND LOADER & DUMP TRUCK
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
TONKA SAND LOADER & DUMP TRUCK
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
TONKA 1953 PRESSED STEEL UTILITY STAKE TRUCK
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
TONKA 1953 PRESSED STEEL UTILITY STAKE TRUCK
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
TONKA 1953 PRESSED STEEL UTILITY STAKE TRUCK
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
TONKA 1953 PRESSED STEEL UTILITY STAKE TRUCK
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
TONKA STATE HI-WAY HYDRAULIC DUMP w/ PLOW
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
TONKA STATE HI-WAY HYDRAULIC DUMP w/ PLOW
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
TONKA STATE HI-WAY BIG MIKE DUMP w/ PLOW
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
TONKA STATE HI-WAY BIG MIKE DUMP w/ PLOW
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $600- $800
$3000 Bids
TONKA #44 3 IN 1 HI-WAY SERVICE TRUCK w/ BOX
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
TONKA #44 3 IN 1 HI-WAY SERVICE TRUCK w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$4000 Bids
TONKA #0875-5 BUILDERS SUPPLY FLEET SET w/ BOX
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
TONKA #0875-5 BUILDERS SUPPLY FLEET SET w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $3,000- $4,000
$1,5000 Bids
Vintage Tonka High Ladder Fire Truck
May 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Tonka High Ladder Fire Truck
by TEG Auction Gallery
Est: $50- $110
$200 Bids
Vintage Tonka Truck
May 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Vintage Tonka Truck
by Cedarburg Auction & Appraisals LLC
Est: $100- $200
$250 Bids
Vintage Red Tonka Fire Truck
May 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Vintage Red Tonka Fire Truck
by Cedarburg Auction & Appraisals LLC
Est: $40- $60
$250 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Tonka Trucks


Milestone Auctions

Milestone Auctions

Finarte

Finarte

Cedarburg Auction & Appraisals LLC

Cedarburg Auction & Appraisals LLC

Premier Auction Galleries

Premier Auction Galleries