It’s been a crappy horrible day, but here’s something to end it on that should make you smile. The kids today may not be aware that Cracker Jack gifts weren’t always lame-of pencil toppers (seriously — who the hell needs a pencil topper???) but were once an array of tiny toys and gadgets all assembled from die cast plastic. And now it seems largest collection of Cracker Jack toys ever assembled going up for auction. It’s all part of the Dreier Collection, a massive pop culture collection which is being auctioned off by Profiles in History on July 28th. You can view the whole thing below.
With a little over a week until their four day July Hollywood auction, Profiles in History, run by Joe Maddalena, is proud to announce that the largest collection of Cracker Jack toy premiums ever amassed will be up for auction. The Cracker Jack toys are a part of The Dreier Collection, which will be auctioned off on, Saturday, July 28th. Their Animation Auction will be, Sunday, July 29th, and the Treasures from the Hollywood Vaults auction has been moved to, Monday, July 30th and Tuesday, July 31st. All auctions will take place in Los Angeles.
When German immigrant Frederick “Fritz” William Rueckheim and his brother Louis concocted an early version of their popcorn, molasses and peanut confection at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, they called it simply, “Candied Popcorn and Peanuts.” But in 1896 Fritz devised a way to keep the popcorn kernels separated by adding a small quantity of oil to each spinning vat. Prior to this innovation, the product stuck together in chunks. In 1896, the first batch of “Cracker Jack” was made. An enthusiastic customer is said to have coined its household name by exclaiming, “That’s crackerjack!” Later, the song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” gave Cracker Jack priceless publicity for free when the line, “buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!” was first sung in 1908. In 1912 mystery novelty items or “prizes” were included in every box of Cracker Jack. Among the very first prizes were baseball cards. Over time, prizes have included everything from charms to whistles; from tin toys to temporary tattoos. The original tagline for Cracker Jack was, “Candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize.” The prizes attained pop-cultural fusion with the term, “came in a Cracker Jack box,” referring to an object of limited value. To this day, Cracker Jack mystery prizes are as popular as the product itself. In this special collection, you’ll find some of the earliest, rarest and most sought after examples of Cracker Jack memorabilia in existence. It spans a century and is the most extensive single private collection ever assembled for offer to the public. Profiles in History strongly encourages interested parties to come view this massive collection in person at their offices.
Just some of what is included: a set of 1898 Paper Dolls, over 80+ pre-1910 Riddle Cards, 17 Victorian Women pin backs, Cracker Jack Bears postcards sets, 11 riddle books, baseball score counters, baseball spinner, water guns, various cast metal battleships, metal train cars, movie slide cards, metal baseball score counters, standing tin soldiers, spinning tops, storybooks, pot metal and celluloid lamps and trinkets, tin dollhouse serving trays, movie flip books, tin-litho horse and carriage, button mirrors, painted wooden boats, wood buildings, tin-litho parrot, and many more. It is quite possibly the last time this number and variety of Cracker Jack memorabilia will ever be sold at one time. The collection is pictured above and expected to fetch $40,000 – $60,000.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.