Remember the excitement of opening a new box of cereal and knowing there was a prize somewhere inside? I mean, if you’re a card collector, the feeling is similar to – and thus doesn’t stray far from – the sealed wax or unopened box of cards experience.
It’s all like a treasure hunt, with the main difference being you know for a fact the treasure is waiting for you, and the biggest unknown being just how cool or valuable that treasure might be. Whether it was a small toy, a game, or something else, there was something special about getting a little extra surprise in that box of sugar (not to mention that all you needed to do to reach that endpoint was down something chocolatey and delicious).
Given all of this, imagine being a kid and having that coveted treasure be a baseball card. Perhaps you experienced it firsthand, or maybe it was a time long before you got into the card game. No matter who you are, let’s crack that box, split that plastic, and dive headfirst into those Frosted Flakes on our way to uncovering some “sweet” details about Kellogg’s 3D baseball cards.
I will never forgive Kellogg’s for dropping 3-D baseball cards. The worst development in the history of breakfast. pic.twitter.com/eaT5ZqETmO— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) May 11, 2019
Kellogg’s 3D Card History
As mentioned here, Kellogg’s began producing 3D cards in the 1970s (just as Hostess was printing cards on packages. According to Baseball Alamanac, Kellogg’s first produced cards in 1970 and did so every year until 1983.
1983 Kellogg’s Baseball wrapped a long run of cards for the cereal maker: https://t.co/LpWjmCj4R5 pic.twitter.com/AOkKRHyxbS— Beckett Collectibles (@beckettcollect) December 21, 2020
Most of these sets followed the same formula—checklists of at least 50 or so cards full of the game’s hottest names at the time. One difference was the 1972 set, which was referred to as Kellogg’s All-Time Baseball Greats, and was 15 cards deep including historical figures such as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and others. Another difference was that the 1974 set didn’t have 3D cards; only cards printed on “regular” stock.
Here is a breakdown of the different sets from over the years:
Kellogg's 3D Cards List
Acceptance & Appeal
First of all, a run from 1970-1983 is a great run, and something that wouldn’t probably happen if it wasn’t well-received by the general public. Even as someone who was born after these cards stopped popping up in cereal boxes, I’m always taken aback by their look and beauty, and am often scratching my head at their relatively low value (more on this below).
In honor of #NationalCerealDay a 1974 ad for Kellogg’s 3-D Baseball Cards. These babies sold a lot of flakes. pic.twitter.com/KktEzuMZoJ— Beauty of A Game (@BeautyOfAGame) March 7, 2016
Design & “Technology”
As you can see from the ad above, the cards had everything a kid could ask for:
- “Lifelike” 3D technology
- Facsimile signature
- Bright colors
The cards were smaller than the traditional baseball card size, as GFG mentions: “although the size of the cards varies slightly from year to year, they are around 2-1/4 by 3-1/2.”
Here you can see the different designs over the years:
Regarding the 3D look, it comes from lenticular printing, which creates the 3D illusion of depth. Without getting into the specifics of the printing technology, when the cards are held at different angles, the lenses refract the light and give the cards their animated appearance.
Legitimacy & Value
Collectors, graders, and others definitely accept Kellogg’s 3D cards to be a legitimate part of the hobby. Some may refer to them as “oddball” cards, or cards that either aren’t produced by a major baseball card brand or are associated with a product line such as Kellogg’s, Post, Hostess, and others.
Nevertheless, there unique entries into the hobby have become cornerstones for collectors’ PCs young and old. You can see that reflected in the fact that many cards sell for good value. That said, given their beauty, vintage makings, and other factors, I’m actually surprised they don’t sell for more! Especially graded cards, and the fact that these 3D cards are susceptible to folding and cracking.
For instance, a 1970 Harmon Killebrew from the inagural 1970 set in PSA 10 condition sold for less than $80. Some of the better-selling players, though include:
- Reggie Jackson
- Roberto Clemente
- Nolan Ryan
- Bob Gibson
The highest recent sales I see on eBay include:
- 1972 Reggie Jackson PSA 10 $1,000
- 1971 Tom Seaver PSA 9 $1,009
- 1971 Roberto Clemente PSA 9 $710
- 1970 Roberto Clemente PSA 9 $575
- 1970 Reggie Jackson PSA 10 $500