Vintage Cards: Regional Food Issues

The names don’t quite roll off the tongue like Topps, Fleer, Bowman and the like. Yet hard-core collectors and some trading card fans in general are familiar with names like Jell-O, Post Cereal, Glendale Meats, Stahl-Meyer Franks and Esskay when it comes to vintage trading cards.

Many of these issues were located only in certain parts of the country, be it East Coast, West Coast, around Chicago, etc. As kids collecting the cards, it often meant hunting the aisles of food markets for the missing cards in a set or begging mom for yet another box of apple Jell-O. Collecting them all was next to impossible, yet many of you tried our hardest to do just that.

And while the cards were located in only certain locales, now collectors from across the country and the world want to get their hands on them. Which is why they are such hot commodities on the auction circuit.

Just a taste, if you will, of some recent selling prices for recent sales of regional food issues shows the demand. A 1955 Esskay Meats Baltimore Orioles partial set of (16/26) brought $55,000 (without the buyer’s premium). A 1959 Morrell Meats Gil Hodges, PSA 8 sold for $2,604. There are going to be a collection of Esskay complete boxes int he upcoming Higgins & Scott auction that will involve heavy bidding.

There are tons of examples of some big prices for these types of cards, in high-grade condition. So the demand is there for the product.

What I am curious about is whether that same demand exists to read about regional food issues in a book. I’m not talking about a simple price guide with some introductory information on a set. Rather I’m thinking about a book that delves into the history of the set as a whole, the process kids had to endure to get the cards, the cards’ appeal and flaws, some of the context of the times when these cards were issued and why they are so darn hard to find and even harder to find in good condition.I’m thinking of a book with input from the major hobby players who deal in the cards and some collectors who chase them/

Is this a book collectors would pick up and read? Would they pay for it? Is the audience for such a book wide enough to warrant a print run? Or have we become so accustomed to reading snippets online that books aren’t the favorite break item getaway?

I am truly looking for some feedback on this because when it comes to the hobby, I think  it’s one area that is lacking any informative books of length. Tell me if I’m wrong. When I think back, a lot has been done on cracker Jacks, Topps and the elusive one-of-a-kind card, but not the regionals many of us are familiar with in our lives and how that market has evolved over time.

One thought on “Vintage Cards: Regional Food Issues

  1. I’d love to read such a book. (Maybe I’m the only one, though.)

    Don’t forget the Yuengling’s Ice Cream issues, put out in Pottsville, PA and thereabouts in the 1920s, with the original chase card, the Babe Ruth ice cream lid. IIRC, you could trade in a full set for a gallon of ice cream, but the Ruth lid was short-printed so they didn’t have to give out too many freebies. And if you made that trade–bad move! I’ve always wondered whether in a drawer somewhere in the Yuengling Brewery, where (at least some of) the brewing kettles were shifted to make ice cream during Prohibition, there are full sets of cards that were turned in for free ice cream.

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