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Cereal Prizes

As with most cereal prize collectibles, finding premiums in original cellophane packaging is more desirable, but equally important is the condition, rarity and popularity of each piece. The market is generally driven by memory, as those who were kids in the 1950s might have a greater desire to relive their youth, than younger collectors unfamiliar with baking soda submarines or Lady and The Tramp figurines.


Cereal Prize Collectibles history: in the middle 1800s, North Americans ate meat for breakfast, including chicken, beef and pork. They had few grains and fiber, until it was realized that this was not the way to go for a healthy body and mind. The USA developed its first breakfast cereal in the early 1860s, called Granula. The cereal consisted of heavy chunks of bran husks, which needed to be soaked overnight before they could be consumed. Europeans and British were farther ahead, with a much longer history of using grains for other than animal feed, if only out of necessity due to periods of famine. When the farm animals could not survive, then their feed could be eaten in adjusted format by humans, giving rise to such staples as Scottish porridge.  

 

In the USA, a health movement in the 1860s caused the development of cereals. Food for hospital patients was a thin, baked dough, which caught the interest of W.K. Kellogg and C.W. Post. Both men, out of the necessity to adopt the trends of the day and create a healthy and hopefully profitable alternative to existing meals, devised grain cereals that could compete. In 1865, Post developed a hot drink made out of cereal, called Postum, which remains today, a plain but caffeine-free beverage which can be consumed by children as well as adults. In 1867, Post developed Grape Nuts which has equally endured over the years, with changes only to the composition and processing. 

It wasn't until 1906 that Kellogg's "Toasted Corn Flakes" appeared. By this time there were more competitors in the marketplace, including General Mills with its famous creation, Wheaties. Initially, the cereal was flat and unexciting, until the company invented a process to heat the grains, and puff them up. There have been many puffed cereals over the years, the most notable being Rice Crispies. With added ingredients to attract children, the drive away from health has always been a topic of heated debate. There was a shredding process, which brought us Shredded Wheat, bringing back health and nutrition. The swing of the pendulum and the demand to compete, as influenced by morning television marketing to children, has resulted in cereals being converted into candy, sometimes laced with chocolates and marshmallows. The competition for the children's market was biggest in the 1950s because of the advent of a television in every home. To compete with one another, cartoon characters, both original and licensed, were devised or added to the package. It was during this period that the premium technique was employed. This was not an original invention, having already proved successful with tobacco cards and the likes of Captain Midnight Ovaltine decoders. Cereal producers just did it better. The greatest innovation was the premium enclosed in the box that permitted the child the instant gratification and delight of finding any number of unique cereal toys. The write-away premium, was almost as popular, and functioned as a popularity survey.

As with most cereal prize collectibles, finding premiums in original cellophane packaging is more desirable, but equally important is the condition, rarity and popularity of each piece. The market is generally driven by memory, as those who were kids in the 1950s might have a greater desire to relive their youth, than younger collectors unfamiliar with baking soda submarines or Lady and The Tramp figurines.



 



 


  



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