The cup was originally designed by Leslie Buck of the Sherri Cup Co. in 1963, to appeal to Greek-owned coffee shops in New York City — and was later copied heavily by other companies. The genuine Anthora depicts an image of an Ancient Greek amphora, a Greek key design on the top and bottom rim, and the words "WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU" in a font that is intended to resemble ancient Greek writing. The blue and white colors were inspired by the flag of Greece. The cup subsequently became the metropolitan area's definitive coffee-to-go cup.
Sales of the cup reached 500 million in 1994 (when it was by far the most popular design for the company's cups ), but fell to about 200 million cups annually in 2005. One New York Times writer in 1995 called the Anthora "perhaps the most successful cup in history". By 2007, it was mentioned in passing in a New York Times television review as "one of those endangered artifacts".
The trademark was acquired by the Solo Cup Company, which licenses sales of the cup. The Anthora coffee cup is featured in movies and television shows that are set in New York such as NYPD Blue, Nurse Jackie, Castle, Lipstick Jungle (TV series), Damages, Mad Men and the Law & Order franchise.
Buck never made royalties from his design, but as a salesman he was remunerated handsomely from the success of the product. When he retired from Sherri Cup Co. in 1992, he was presented with 10,000 Anthoras printed with a testimonial inscription. On the occasion of Buck's death in 2010, a New York Times writer described the motto on the cup as having "welcome intimations of tenderness, succor and humility".
- Margalit Fox (April 29, 2010). "Leslie Buck, Designer of Iconic Coffee Cup, Dies at 87". The New York Times.
- John Freeman Gill (June 26, 2005). "Urban History to Go: Black, No Sugar". The New York Times.
- Jesse McKinley (October 15, 1995). "F.Y.I./A Cup of Inspiration". The New York Times.
- Virginia Heffernan (May 27, 2007). "To Sleep, Nay, Perchance to Stay Wide Awake". The New York Times.
- The New York First Company
- Cassie Spodak (April 30, 2010). "Iconic coffee cup creator dies". CNN. Archived from the original on April 30, 2010.
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