People collect baseball sports cards and other memorabilia in order to reconnect with their
childhood memories and to satisfy the simple urge to surround themselves with organized
assortments of precious objects.
For others, it is a love of history and the great players of the past that drive their pursuit.
And, of course, others collect sports memorabilia because it may be profitable to do so; in
fact, sometimes the appreciation for sports memorabilia is greater than that realized in more
conventional investments (i.e., stocks or bonds) perhaps because of the scarcity of these
items (e.g., how many really nice, strong signature Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig baseballs are
available for sale?). Regardless of their motives, individuals often develop deep personal
connections to the objects they collect.
Baseball Sports card prices are affected by a variety of factors including the cards’ age,
condition, scarcity, and the status of the players pictured on them. Other, not so obvious,
factors may also influence the value of sports cards, such as the race of the player who is
pictured. The research thus far into “customer racial discrimination” has generated mixed
results. Some scholars have found collector bias in the prices of sports cards of Black and
Latino baseball players.
Kellogg's Baseball Cards
Some people collect Kellogg's cards in their original wrapper but Mick Cornett feels that can
be risky and expensive. "Unopened packs are for the riverboat gambler," he said and Ratz
agreed. He added that "unopened" does not always equal "unblemished" for cards in these
packs. "I've opened about 100 Kellogg's 1971 football cards from their sleeves and about 70
percent are in good shape and the others are cracked," he said. The collector said sealed 1971
Kellogg's football packs generally sell in the $20-$25 range for common players and
$125-$200 apiece for stars like Unitas and Butkus.
In 2004, a complete 1971 Kellogg's football set in its wrappers and in top shape changed hands
for about 52,500. An "open" 1971 set in comparable condition normally sells for $750-$1,000.
The 1970 Kellogg's 60-card football collection, meanwhile, their only other gridiron 3-D issue
of that decade, regularly sells for $75-$125. The 1971 Kellogg's baseball packs can bring
similar prices to their football counterparts and that 1975 3-D baseball cards still in their
wrappers are also hard to track down. Common 1975 packs go for $10-$15 and stars like Nolan
Ryan and Mike Schmidt can bring up to $75-$100.
Some collectors just keep the packs sealed and still others get them graded. Either way, you
can normally see enough of the card through its somewhat clear wrapper to identify the player
Luckily complete Kellogg's baseball sets in near-mint "opened" condition of the era's players
are fairly plentiful from most years of their 1970 to 1983 run, and usually cost less than
$100, with some priced at less than $35.
Meanwhile, two other Kellogg's baseball offerings from this time stand out. In 1972, Kellogg's
produced a pair of 3-D baseball sets, the "regular" one and an "All-Time Greats" collection
with long-retired superstars Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, among the fifteen cards. The
"Greats" cards, a re-issue of the 1970 Rold Gold Pretzels 3-D set, were available in boxes of
Kellogg's breakfast rolls. The next year the cereal maker tossed collectors a curveball with
its only vintage try at 2-D or "standard" style baseball cards as promotional items. With all
their quirkiness, both the "Greats" and 2-D sets enjoy popularity with several hobbyists.
Every year of Kellogg's cards has its fair share of cracking. It is a chore to find one year in
addition to 1971 in solid shape. The 1975 Kellogg's set ($175-$250) is the most difficult in
general, to find in good condition because they crack a lot easier and they are not as common
as people realize.
Regardless of the year, Kellogg's 3-D cards are routinely found with at least a slight curl to
them. Kucera urged collectors to avoid cards with "a serious curl." When trying to return
moderately curled cards to their original state.
Tips For Collecting Baseball Cards
Place the cards individually in a poly or plastic sleeve, a flexible and easily found single-pocket
clear plastic pouch, and then in a nine-slot storage page inside a notebook.
Don't lay it down and put pressure on the cards. Over a period of two to six months the cards
generally settle into place.
There should be widespread hobby interest in early-to-mid 1970's Kellogg's cards for many
years to come, especially for nicer-condition professionally graded examples. They are
becoming more and more popular because of their smaller set size, their affordability, the
relative high number of star players and their looks.
With trading cards, the three-dimensional effect was achieved, with varying degrees of
success, by placing a clear photo of the main subject between a blurry background and a top
layer of ribbed plastic. Other 3-D cards have entered the hobby since the early-to-mid-1980's
but none as consistently popular and available as the Kellogg's cards issued in the 1970s.
Topps Baseball Cards
Topps, the trading card-producing giant, experimented with 3-D baseball cards in 1968. Those
twelve "test" cards with extremely limited distribution at best, usually bring big money for
top condition samples, even in top-notch but "ungraded" condition. Commons, for instance, go
for $300-$400 each and the set lists around $9,000. In 2008, a PSA 10 Clemente from this
issue realized some $40,000 at auction. Looks-wise, the 1970 Kellogg's offering strongly
resemble the 1968 Topp's 3-D cards.
The Cards That Came Inside Cereal Boxes
Cereal box prizes have been around for several decades. From the 1950s on, some of the
"freebies" have ranged from little plastic toys and trinkets to Matchbox cars, compact discs,
and computer games. Often the bonuses were tucked inside the boxes; on other occasions, you
had to cut the prizes from a portion of the cereal container itself.
|Collecting Baseball Cards