Pep Cereal was a long-running Kellogg’s brand that was produced from the 1920s into the 1970s. Mostly, it was viewed as a competitor to Wheaties. In 1937, Kellogg’s created a unique ‘stamps’ set for the product that featured a variety of athletes. Here’s a closer look at the pre-war 1937 Kellogg’s Pep Cereal Stamps set.
1937 Kellogg’s Pep Cereal Stamps Basics
The 1937 Kellogg’s Pep Cereal Stamps set was distributed in four-card panels. Each cereal box included only one panel inside, so collecting a complete set would have been quite the achievement as there were a total of 90 in the set. They are called stamps because of their miniature size but they are more like small cards. The stamps could be perforated and then placed into an album (more on that in a bit).
The issue is cataloged as F273 in the American Card Catalog by Jefferson Burdick. Numerous Pep Cereal stamp sets were actually created and Burdick placed them all into subcategories. This series is known as the ‘Sports’ set and has a sub-number of 27 (thus, the entire ACC designation for the set is F273-27). In all, there are a total of 39 Pep Cereal stamp sets cataloged by Burdick with most being non-sports related.
The stamps are colorful and small. Each individual one measures only approximately 1 1/8″ x 1 3/4″. There can be slight variances as collectors separated them by hand. Those, however, are kept to a minimum as they were perforated and thus, ‘pre-cut’ in a way.
Since 90 stamps were included in the set, that might seem to present sort of an interesting problem as they were printed in panels of four and 24 different panels are known. However, Kellogg’s double-printed a total of six stamps. Today, the stamps are so rare that the double-printed stamps are not really much of a factor when it comes to the pricing.
Stars, Stars, and More Stars
Of the 90 stamps in the set, 18 were baseball players and 18 were football players. The baseball subset had many big names, including Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, Johnny Evers, Leo Durocher, Rick Ferrell, Joe Medwick, Paul Waner, Bill Terry, Mordecai Brown, Gabby Hartnett, and Luke Appling. As evidenced by that list, both current and retired players were included in the set.
One interesting baseball addition is that of Lew Fonseca. Fonseca isn’t a big name but it is easy to see why he was selected for inclusion. He had a good relationship with Kellogg’s and in 1938, they actually created a set of box panels around him as sort of a precursor to an instructional baseball summer school.
Football also included several heavy hitters. Early stars Red Grange, Jim Thorpe, Bronko Nagurski, and Ernie Nevers are all on the checklist.
While those are obviously the two sports that draw the most attention from collectors, there are some other big names from the world of sports here. Also found here are golf legends Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen, boxing champion Gene Tunney, and tennis star Bill Tilden.
Along with the stamps, Kellogg’s also distributed an album where collectors could keep them. The album not only housed the stamps but also included a few games inside which included small playing boards/surfaces, game pieces and spinners.
The albums were relatively inexpensive and still can be found today. Each album was available for only ten cents and one Pep cereal box top.
1937 Kellogg’s Pep Cereal Stamps Prices
Despite being a later pre-war issue, the 1937 Kellogg’s Pep Cereal stamps aren’t all that easy to come by. When found, individual baseball and football commons are usually in the $15-$25 range with stars being more and commons in other sports a little less.
Collectors should note that price does not carry over for full panels that have not been separated as there is a premium for those. Full four-stamp panels generally start in the $75-$100 range and are significantly more for panels with bigger names.
You can see what’s listed on eBay by clicking here.