Vintage Cracker Jack Prizes
Vintage Cracker Jack prizes are small free gifts given away with the popular American snack food Cracker Jack.
History & Description
Cracker Jack is a brand of snack comprising of strong molasses-flavoured popcorn and peanuts coated in candy. Many food historians consider it as being the world’s first junk food. It was first produced by Frederick William Rueckheim and his brother Louis in the late-nineteenth century and was sold at the first Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
Prizes have been included in every box since 1912. In 1914 and 1915, the company produced baseball cards which depicted players from the major leagues as well as players from the short-lived Federal League. As well as cards featuring sports professionals, the prizes also include whistles, fans, buttons and various small toys such as cars, guns and figurines.
Guide for collectors
The most sought after and valuable prizes are the baseball cards issued in 1914 and 1915. Records show that complete sets – 176 cards – achieve the highest prices. On April 24th 2008 at Sotheby’s in New York, a complete set of 1915 baseball cards realised a price of $157,000.
In addition, 1914 baseball cards are also extremely desirable to collectors. This is because these cards are notoriously condition sensitive and, as a result, there are few numbers left on the open market. 1914 cards in mint condition are exceptionally rare.
Vintage Cracker Jack prizes are frequently sold through both national and international auction houses as well as eBay.
Notable auction sales
On June 10th 2005 at Sotheby’s in New York, a 1914 #30 Ty Cobb baseball card realised a price of $22,800.
On May 1st 2004 at Robert Edward Auctions in Watchung, New Jersey, a collection of twenty-eight 1915 baseball cards realised a price of $22,500.
On June 10th 2005 at Sotheby’s in New York, a 1915 #103 Joe Jackson baseball card realised a price of $20,400.
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