World’s Largest Cracker Jack Prize Collection to Be Auctioned

Posted by at 1:07 pm on July 21, 2012

Profiles in History, run by Joe Maddalena, has announced 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.

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.

The collection includes:

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 available for viewing in person at the Profiles in History offices and is expected to fetch $40,000 – $60,000

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