Friday, November 4, 2016

Cracker Jack Bears - Part I [1907]

From John's old postcard collection ...

You may wish to know the background for this post before viewing the cards. If so, please listen to my audio clip ...

Presenting the Cracker Jack Bears series of 16 postcards ...

No. 1
The "Cracker Jack Bears" No. 1
The "Cracker Jack" bears from Lincoln zoo
Together away in an airship flew,
And vowed that they would not
                                come back
Until the world ate Cracker Jack.

No. 1 back of card
Unused but someone appears to have removed a stamp.
No. 2
The "Cracker Jack Bears" No. 2
 As off they sailed, they heard below
The children shout a wail of woe,
Said one, Why not begin at
So Cracker Jack to earth was thrown.

No. 2 Back - Postmarked April 2, 1908
No. 3
The "Cracker Jack Bears" No. 3
 At Niagara Falls this daring bear
I'm sure no one his deed would share
No thought of fear can call him back
His thoughts are all of Cracker Jack.

No. 3 - Back of card Postmarked June 29, 1908
No. 4

The "Cracker Jack Bears" No. 4
"Hurrah for liberty" they cry,
Who holds the lamp of freedom high,
The only thing that she can lack
Is just a box of "Cracker Jack."

Cards 5 through 8 will be in Part II, 9 through 16 in Parts III and IV all coming your way on John's Island in the weeks ahead.

This week's Postcards for the Weekend theme is "Foods of the World" so we'll dare to include Cracker Jacks! Thanks, Maria, for hosting!

More info on the Cracker Jack Bears postcards ...

Link to Cracker Jack Collectors Association is here.

Our research found the following Antiques Road Show segment ...

These cards come from... primarily my grandmother, from Minnesota and from New York state.

"GUEST" at Antiques Road Show in
San Francisco, August, 2003
(This lady has No. 4, Liberty, which I am missing!)

I would think that the item that we get the most of, on ROADSHOW, is postcards. I usually flip through and I give my standard spiel that most postcards are worth anywhere from a quarter to 50 cents to a dollar. You know, I'll stop if there's anything exceptional or worth more than a few dollars. And I began to flip through here, I pointed to this card that was worth maybe three dollars and I kept going and I said that trolley-related things have a slight premium so you're looking at a little more. And I flipped and I came to these cards and I stopped, if you noticed. Remember? I stopped. And I looked at just this one, and my eye caught it, and then I looked over here and I saw the other one and I said, "I'm going to turn the page and see if there's any more of them." And there were three more. So there's five all together. They're Cracker Jack cards, and there were 16 cards in this series. Now, most Cracker Jack prizes came in the box. There were little toys. The Cracker Jack cards, you had to take the panel off the side of the box and send it in, and they would send you the 16 cards.

Oh, okay.

Very few people did that. The cards are quite scarce. The Statue of Liberty card is worth about $50. The Cracker Jack cards are famous for bears. They're from 1907, and this card is worth between $75 and $100.

Oh, nice.

Then you had the bears playing baseball, which brings you to $100 to $150. You had these guys, which are a good $80 to $100, and then you had... the ultimate card.

Oh, it is?

Well, the Teddy Bear, as we know it, came from the famous political cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt sparing the life of two bear cubs and that's how we got the Teddy Bear, and this card was related to that and this card sells for about $200. I kept on going-- here we are with rather mundane and not very expensive cards, until I came to this card, which is "Teddy's Bears." These are embossed cards, these are usually... Like this one over here, they're very inexpensive greetings. But these two cards and the one down here with "Teddy B..."

Oh, yes.

That's Teddy Bear... again, you're looking at $100 each. So I said, "I got to see what's in the rest of this book." ( both laughing ) And we came to a Santa Claus in a red outfit. And I started to say, "You know, if you have a Santa in a non-red outfit, it's worth a lot of money." And here... is Santa Claus in mauve.

Oh, yes. I never noticed that.

Yeah. Before the 1930s, Santa Claus came in all kind of colors. There's green, purple, blue. Mauve is very scarce. This card would sell for about $80 to $100, whereas the other Santa Claus in a red outfit... three, four dollars. So always look for the funny-looking Santas. I go through all these albums all day long and I will not see anything worth more than five dollars, and in this one, small item, you're looking at about $1,400 to $1,500.

Oh, very nice.

It's really sort of like striking a small gold mine with some great examples of the kind cards to look for, and I really appreciate you bringing them in and brightening my day.

Oh, thank you very much. It brightens mine.

Here is the Appraiser's info ...

Images of the Cracker Jack boxes ...

The original box ...
Today's box ...

Closing Thought ...
The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnified world in itself.
     Henry Miller


  1. Good thing to collect, Cracker Jack in the UK used to be a childrens program so the carcker jack bears are new to me. People collect cards like that here so no doubt they would go down well.

  2. Love that olde advertising! Who thought this up?


  3. I loved listening to your voice in the audio clip. And I am old enough to remember the original Cracker Jack box! Very interesting series, John. :-)

  4. What a cute series. I've eaten a lot of cracker jacks in my time.
    So nice to hear your voice. : )

  5. Interesting post.I have not tasted Cracker Jack in years, but it sure was good back then.I love the closing thought.So true.

  6. pretty cool old cards! and that your grandmom was a guest on the show. :)

  7. ...and did I tell you that I really like cracker Jack. Interesting background on the post cards.

  8. I've never eaten Cracker Jack...but those are very interesting cards. It is quite amazing that they are so valuable, but wonderful too. Thanks for posting them.

  9. Craker Jack are also new to me. I love these vintage postcards.

  10. Hello John, I remember the crackerjacks but not the bear. They are so cute, love the cards. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  11. How interesting John! I've never heard of Cracker Jack. Is this something I can still buy from the stores? Perhaps I can try when I finally get to Seattle! Thanks for linking up and for the very informative post & postcards.

  12. Thank you for sharing these cards and for your audio explanation! Cracker Jack and the bears also were new to me!

  13. these cards sound like a treasure from the past .
    how precious memories they have along in your heart .
    your thought in last sounded like a beat of my heart because i am a huge ponder of small things .flying string in the air or crawling dry leave on ground can hold my thoughts for long
    thank you for the very lovely sharing

  14. That music is both fun and comforting. Nice!
    Some of my fave products still haven't changed packaging and I love that. It's good to shave the familiar around.

  15. wow that's neat that they are worth that much.

  16. It has been a long time since I've eaten any cracker jacks...if only the bears were still flying over distributing some! Neat to learn about the value of the cards.


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