Nearly 59 years after they showed up on the backs of Post Cereal boxes and launched a four-year run of pro sports-related promotions, a variation has been discovered in the 1960 Post Cereal set.
Avid collectors who specialize in the company’s sets tell us you’ll need one more card to complete a master set of the oversized, “wood grain” border sets that took up the back panel of some Post boxes in the first couple of months of the new decade.
The small but star-studded checklist included players from baseball, basketball and football. Somewhat rare today, the cards were actually more like photos and were issued on the backs of Grape Nuts Flakes, a product that didn’t have the kid appeal of brands made with a significant helping of sugar. The set featured Mickey Mantle, Don Drysdale, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, Bob Cousy, Bob Pettit, Johnny Unitas and Frank Gifford. The new variation involves Gifford.
The discovery had its genesis when collectors Ken Marks and Kirk Robinson got together to look over Robinson’s recent acquisition of some Post Cereal cards. Mixed in with a group of ’62 Post football were two 1960 Frank Gifford cards. While the size of the cut out card panel was the same on both, the layout was slightly different. It became clear to Marks and Robinson that the two panels had been cut from two different size packages of Grape Nuts Flakes.
The two then contacted other Post Cereal collectors via email, sharing front and back images of their cards. Their conclusion was that six players in the set (Mantle, Drysdale, Kaline, Mathews, Unitas and Gifford) appeared only on the 12 oz. packages and three players also appeared on the larger, 16 oz. boxes (Killebrew, Cousy and Pettit). Gifford, however, appeared on both. The cards from the two boxes are slightly different, with some differences in how the pictures are cropped and the positioning on the facsimile signature on the image.
Bottom line? Keep an eye open for the two variations if you want a true “complete” set of 1960 Post Cereal cards.
On a related note, a group of those same collectors who have been researching codes stamped on the bottom of Post Cereal boxes say they show “clearly and consistently” that the boxes of cereal containing the 1960 multi-sport issue were produced in January and February of that year, meaning the boxes were on grocery shelves around the country during the early months of that year.
If our parents and grandparents had only indulged in “healthy” cereal and been incurable pack rats…