A moment of silence for Leslie Buck, who died on Monday at the age of 87. Although his name may not ring a bell, the blue, white, and gold Anthora coffee cup he created in the 1960s occupies a place of honor among the city’s most enduring iconography.
The Times reports that Buck, who was born Laszlo Büch in what was then Czechoslovakia, was working as an executive at the Sherri Cup company when he created the Classical design: although he had no formal artistic training, he was inspired by the fact that most of the city’s diners were owned by Greeks. His cup’s design and simple slogan — “We are happy to serve you” — were an immediate success.
Buck never got any royalties from the design, but apparently made a mint in sales commissions. Although his creation’s ubiquity has been somewhat diminished by the rise of Starbucks and cups bearing advertisements, the continued popularity of its ceramic manifestations ensure that Buck’s legacy will continue indefinitely.