They’re far from works of art. Small, often crooked and completely dead on the back.
In 1969, though, Nabisco saw its color photos of baseball players more as ‘mini posters’ than baseball cards. It was an artsy era, but considering their appearance and the traditional cardboard back and collectors know better.
The 1969 Nabisco Team Flakes issue consists of 24 rectangular subjects–a set that rarely gets mentioned when discussing late 1960 baseball cards. In fact, it might be one of the more underrated sets of the modern era.
1969 Nabisco Team Flakes Stars
The set packs incredible star power. Aaron, Brock, Clemente, Gibson, Kaline, Marichal, Mays, both Robinsons, Rose, Santo and Seaver are among the names you’ll find. Despite that, ungraded cards are dirt cheap.
Making the Cut
The odd size of the cards (less than 2″ tall) and the fact that they were cut from cereal boxes meant that only a small percentage were ever saved. Those that were suffered from miscuts inflicted by tiny hands and scissors, creases and scuffs from one cereal box rubbing against another.
The cards were printed on the back of Team Flakes boxes and shared a common, dotted line border meant to guide cutting. Thus, a card cut with dotted line s showing means the cards that surround it have no dotted line showing at all; the kiss of death for those hoping to achieve a high grade upon submission to a grading company. Add to it the fact that Team Flakes weren’t exactly a sugar-loving kids favorite and you have the recipe for a scarce set.
PSA has examined only about 750 Nabisco cards as of this writing with only 50 reaching a 9 or 10 grade.
Today, only six braves souls have tried to complete a set for the PSA Registry with only three on the Current Finest list. The top three sets have GPAs of 7.19 to 8.91.
A few cards have proven exceptionally difficult to obtain in high grade. There has never been a Rick Monday card graded above a 6, likely because of his position on the lower right of the box. Mel Stottlemyre, Tony Oliva, Jim Lonborg, Tommy John, Jim Fregosi and Richie Allen all have only a few graded 8 or above by PSA.
Ungraded sets are valued at between $140 and $475 according to the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. Clemente is the most valuable card in the set, usually available at between $75 and $100, with common cards usually available for under $10 each in better grades. High-grade Hall of Famers will sell for hundreds of dollars because of the dearth of available examples.
Issued in three series of eight cards, the 1969 Nabisco Team Flakes cards have plain yellow borders and since Nabisco apparently didn’t pay for MLB royalties, no team insignias are shown.