1953 Tonka Younkers Private Label Semi

Younker and Brothers Department Stores (Younkers) was headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa with stores (in the 1950s) located in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. Manufactured in 1953, the Younkers private label semi has a 1953 cab and a 1951 or very early 1952 trailer with a steel floor and slip-lever latch on the rear doors. It was common for Tonka to use mixed/leftover parts for many of their private label trucks. In a September 1987 article in The American Toy Trucker magazine, Tonka historian Lloyd Laumann notes "that approximately 7500 units were produced".

Tonka private label enthusiast/collector Richard Gresh contacted me in 2008 and again in 2012 with concerns that the number of Younkers semis manufactured would probably fall into the 50 to 75 range rather than 7500. "If 7500 had been made, the Younkers semi would be showing up every week on eBay", Richard states. He notes that only three known examples (as of December 2012) of this private label semi have been documented. The first is shown just below from the Mr. Moe collection; The second is an original, very good condition semi in a collection in Michigan and the third is an original, excellent plus condition semi owned by Richard Gresh featured in a photo below. NOTE: Richard also states; "The best information I have obtained, indicates that the Younkers semi was only given to employees and not sold to the public. Mine was originally owned by a women who worked at Younkers for many years."

The Younkers semi featured just below sold on eBay (without any rear tire assembly) for $1702 USD in late November 2008

1953 Younkers Semi

1953 Younkers Department Store semi. Courtesy the Mr. Moe collection

1953 Younkers Semi

Slip-lever latch
1953 Younkers Semi

Unique grille treatment for 1953 only

Younkers logo

The Younkers logo is yellow with a red shadow

1953 Younkers Semi

Front of trailer
1953 Younkers Semi

The trailer floor is steel

1953 Younkers Semi

The semi above is original, complete and unretouched. From the Richard Gresh collection

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