Friday, 25 May 2018

More Post Variety - (Volume 1 Update)

Three years ago I outlined the visual differences in 1963 Post cereal box back cards that had different varieties issued in this Post Variety blog entry. So now I think it is time to highlight additional information that has come to light about both the 1962 & 1963 Post card issues, because of which Volume I of Collecting Canadian Football (2010) is not as entirely accurate as it could be.

1962 Grocery Store Advertising display  

First up is the uncatalogued large in store advertising promotional associated item that was printed on some sort of waxy paper stock. The item illustrates (some partially) six of the cards that appeared in the set, although not all of them occur on the insert panels that are specified in the artwork. It is not clear if this particular item has been somewhat trimmed from the original size or if it was issued this way to fit a specific shaped backing stand for store placement. If I recall correctly this item sold for somewhere around $300 on ebay a few years back, you don't see too many of these around.

Next as explained in Volume I there were ten short-printed cards identified as "White Backs" which were printed on a different type of cereal box stock than the normal brown backed cards, three of which also had regular brown backed versions of the card making the white back a variation. Now if you are holding the card in your hand or have a scan of the back it is pretty easy to tell if you are looking at a short print or not, but if all you have is a scan of the front of the card on ebay, it can help to know how to easily spot some of the variants.


Card No.1 Don Clark regular brown back at left, white back at right. Some of the scans were kindly provided to me by Rick Pauloski and were taken with the cards in sheets so that is why you see the sheet pocket hologram at bottom right. 

 The first of the three cards with a white back variant is pretty difficult to tell apart as the photo cropping is just about identical. You can always tell in person as the white backs have black borders and text and the brown backs have dark blue borders and text, but as you can see from all of these scans variations in colour registration, light levels and scanner calibration can make it just about impossible to be 100% sure of a cards composition just from the image alone. Black and dark blue look an awful lot alike in most cases online.

In Clark's case the regular card seems washed out and the short print has deeper more vivid colours, but this may just be these particular scans as the other pairs pretty much exhibit the opposite effect.    

Card No. 51 Jim Rountree, regular brown back at left, white back at right. 

The second of the three cards again is cropped almost identically, but the regular card has the deeper colours and the short print is washed out and less intense. This player is unusual also because of the studio shot instead of the normal outdoor photograph.

Card No. 82 Kenny Ploen, regular brown back at left, white back at right. White back example has some paper loss bottom right. 

The third card is easy to differentiate as no left shoe laces are visible on the regular card and Ploen's hand touches the image border while the short print shows the left shoe and Ploen's hand does not touch the border.

Card No. 30 Dave Thelen, regular brown back at left, white back at right. 

Since publication of Volume I two more white back short prints have been identified, Dave Thelen and John Barrow. Thelen's cards again show the colour intensity difference but the easiest way to tell them apart is the team name OTT. on the left and OTTAWA on the right.

Card No. 56 John Barrow, regular brown back at left, white back at right.

Barrow's cards show the colour intensity difference, have either two windows on the building top right or three, have visible fingers on his stance hand touching the ground or not and his French language position is Plaqueur on the brown back and Bloqueur on the white back.

It was thought that the original ten white backs had been printed 5 per 2 short printed box back panels, so now perhaps there were six per panel or perhaps there was a third panel and more short prints variants have yet to be confirmed.

1963 Alpha-Bits 7 oz. intact box paired next to 1963 Alpha-Bits 10 oz. intact box, both sides

Moving on to the 1963 Post set the above images show that the side panel checklist and order form (both catalogued as individual associated items in Collecting Canadian Football Volume I) came in different sizes depending on which cereal box it was printed on. There were 27 different panels produced on nine different brand / size box combinations, ranging from unknown product weight through 7, 8 1/2, 10, 13, 14 and 15 oz. product weight boxes.  Since some of the boxes from different brands may have been the same dimensions it is not known exactly how many distinct sized side panels exist.

1963 Alpha-Bits 7 oz. intact box paired next to 1963 Alpha-Bits 10 oz. intact box, fronts

  What this photo of the two boxes makes clear is that the size of the promotional cards on the fronts also varied depending on the brand / size of the product. Since Volume I catalogued only a single instance of each of the nine players (one from each team) and certain players are known to exist in more than one size, those listings were obviously inaccurate.

Now it would be tempting to think that with nine teams and nine selected promotional players and 27 different boxes in terms of the panels, that each promotional player appears on three different sized box front cards, but this is far from certain and there is no guarantee that the promotion was laid out that symmetrically. Since the box brand / weights varied so much and so few are known intact, we really don't know what the corresponding card size is for every potential product.

Recently a fantastic assortment of these box front promotional cards has been available on Ebay here if you have very deep pockets. If you follow through to the description on the sellers website they have quite a bit of information on the cards including more accurate dimensions for one of the different sizes as I had rounded up to the nearest 16th of an inch in the guide. This lot allowed the seller to identify four distinct sizes:

  • Small (2 7/8 X 1 7/8)
  • Medium Type 1 (3 13/32 X 2 7/32)
  • Medium Type 2 (3 17/32 X 2 5/16)
  • Large (4 1/4 X 2 7/8)

Large sized card above left, Medium Type 1 card above right
Presumably the paws on the Large cards (whose measurements include the additional two tone frame, but could just as easily not include it) belong to Sugar Bear from the larger Sugar Crisp box
(It could also theoretically be a Crispy Critter's paws but unlikely since that cereal did not come in the larger size box) 

and we have the following 9 box product / size combinations (3 of each were issued) in product weight order where known, with the confirmed card size indicated where applicable:

  • Grape Nut Flakes ? oz.       
  • Alpha Bits 7 oz.                  (Small)
  • Sugar Crisp 8 1/2 oz.          
  • Alpha Bits 10 oz.                (Medium Type 1)
  • Crispy Critters 10 oz.          
  • Grape Nuts 10 oz. - Short Print White Backs
  • Sugar Crisp 13 oz.              (Large)
  • Bran Flakes 14 oz.
  • Alpha Bits 15 oz.

Medium Type 1 sized card above left, Small card above right
Besides the actual dimensions of the card the photo cropping is usually different, especially on the small cards, but otherwise the cards and their graphic elements are remarkably similar and seem to take up the same percentage of space regardless of card size 

As you can see without a detailed comparison of the cards side by side it is pretty difficult to determine which size you are looking at, especially since you will almost certainly never come across more than one at a time in a normal situation. I have tried to keep the images shown here in the proper width and height ratios for each card in relation to the other sizes. The white space around each card does get progressively larger from size to size so that is some help is viewing a single card front online.

Large sized card above left, Medium Type 2 card above right top, Small card above right bottom
So far Ray Purdin is the only Player to be known on the Medium Type 2 size but at least two more cards for this size are highly likely to exist. I have assumed that the smallest card image is of the stated Small dimensions but it is not guaranteed as this card image came from a different source than the comparative lot

So to sum up what we currently know here are the 16 cards that are confirmed by size and sometimes by cereal type:


  • Shatto, Henley , Kapp (Alpha Bits 7 oz.), Dixon, Purdin, Kruger

Medium Type 1

  • Jackson, Ploen, Shatto, Day, Dixon, Kruger (Alpha Bits 10 oz.)

Medium Type 2

  • Purdin


  • Dixon, Ploen, Purdin (All Sugar Crisp 13 oz)

Large sized card above left, Small sized card above right

Now we also know that it seems likely that each of the three boxes per cereal would have had a different player (like the Large cards) and that at least some players appear on three different size cards, and that the maximum number of different promo cards would be 27 (one per different box panel). But we don't know that the sizes of the cards on all of the different brands of say 10 oz. cereal would be any different so a player might have been issued multiple times but once cut from the box be indistinguishable from each other.

The lot seller also indicated that they believed the box front promo cards were produced regionally by CFL city, making the advertising cards from Montreal and Toronto the most available and the others, somewhat scarcer. In my opinion the chances that this was true are pretty much zero. For this to happen each of the 27 different box designs would have had to have been printed with Shatto for the Toronto market, with Dixon for the Montreal market and so forth. In an era when offset printing of the cereal boxes meant you needed to produce a specific large metal offset plate to print the cereal box (flat both sides together then folded to make a box) then this would have required production of 243 different plate designs instead of just 27.

Finally the most intriguing aspect of these box front promo cards, of which clearly a minuscule percentage survived compared to the regular box back cards, is that there would also have been three produced on the Grape Nuts 10 oz. - Short Print White Backs packaging. Just as the white backs are an order of magnitude rarer than the regular cards, white back box front promo cards could be considered the absolute holy grail of Post early sixties CFL cereal cards.

Alpha-Bits box back panel header card above left, Crispy Critters above right

Wrapping this blog entry up, as suggested in the write-up for the Post 1963 set in Collecting Canadian Football Volume I there were indeed different promotional box back panel header cards produced per cereal brand as the image above proves.