Leslie Buck (September 20, 1922 – April 26, 2010) was an American business executive and Holocaust survivor who designed the Anthora coffee cup, which has become an iconic symbol of New York City since its introduction in the 1960s.
Buck was born Laszlo Büch into a Jewish family on September 20, 1922, in Khust, Czechoslovakia. (The city of Khust is now located in the modern-day Ukraine). Buck's parents died during the Holocaust during World War II. Buck was imprisoned by the Nazis during the occupation, surviving his captivity at Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
Buck moved to the United States following World War II, settling in New York. Once in the United States he adopted the anglicized name, Leslie Buck. Buck partnered with his brother, Eugene, and ran an import-export business. The two brothers launched a paper cup maker based in Mount Vernon, New York called Premier Cup sometime in the late 1950s.
Anthora coffee cup
Buck left the family business to take a position with a start-up paper cup manufacturer called the Sherri Cup Company during the mid-1960s. He originally worked as Sherri Cup's sales manager, before becoming the company's marketing director.
As marketing director, Buck wanted to get Sherri Cup's products into New York City's diners and other eating establishments, many of which were owned by Greeks or Greek Americans. Buck designed the Anthora paper coffee cup using the blue and white colors of the Greek flag, though he was not trained as an artist. The name of the Anthora coffee cup came from a misprounciation of the Greek word, amphora, as Buck pronounced it with an Eastern European accent.
Buck designed the Anthora cup with the amphora, a Greek vase or urn, down two sides of the cup. The front of the cup pictured three gold-colored hot coffee cups. The cup's motto, "We Are Happy To Serve You", is written across the cup, originally using a Classical font, though the words have changed at times since its design by Buck.
Buck's Anthora cup was introduced in the mid-1960s and became a huge success throughout New York City. The cups became a ubiquitous symbol of the city, appearing in New York themed television shows including Law & Order. For decades, hundreds of millions of the cups were sold annually. In 1994, the Sherri Cup company sold 500 million Anthora cups.
Though not as widespread as it once was due to the growth of Starbucks and other coffee chains in New York City, the Solo Cup Company, which acquired the Sherri Cup Company, still sold approximately 200 million Anthora cups in 2005, and continued to manufacture Buck's cup upon request as of 2010.
Leslie Buck died of Parkinson's disease at his home in Glen Cove, New York, on April 26, 2010, at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife, Ella Farkas, (The couple had married in 1949); two daughters, Beverly Eisenoff and Linda Rush; one son, Robert Buck and four grandchildren. Though a resident of Glen Cove at the time, Buck had previously resided in Syosset, New York, and owned a second home in Delray Beach, Florida.
- Fox, Margalit (2010-04-29). "Leslie Buck, Designer of Iconic Coffee Cup, Dies at 87". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
- "NY coffee cup creator Leslie Buck dies at 87". The Daily Telegraph. 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2010-06-05.