1963 JELL-O ROGER CRAIG
The years 1961 through 1963 represent the golden age of cereal-box cards.
The Post company plastered the backs of packages of Toasties, Rice Krinkles, Grape Nut Flakes, and the like with cutout cards of all the stars (and many lesser lights) of the day. And the sugared-up kids of the early sixties broke out their safety scissors and did their level best to cut along the dashed black lines…
In both 1962 and 1963, Jell-O products displayed cards that were nearly identical to the Post issues, with just some minor formatting differences to distinguish the respective sets.
One of the fun things about these cards is the fact that the pricing can be a bit topsy-turvy. For example, this 1963 Jell-O Roger Craig is more expensive than cards of Harmon Killebrew, Yogi Berra, Al Kaline, Brooks Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and other higher-profile names from the same set.
The reason for this disparity comes down to scarcity. It is thought that certain players were featured on less popular flavors, and/or appeared on fewer varieties of the company’s gelatin and pudding mixes, resulting in fewer cards being printed and preserved.
A little research reveals that Craig adorned the back of raspberry-flavored mix in 1963, as shown in this scan from a 2011 Legendary Auctions lot:
Although raspberry was one of the original Jell-O flavors when the product launched in 1897, it is not a stretch to imagine that it got a little lost on the shelves in 1963, by which time Jell-O was offering more than a dozen other gelatin/pudding varieties.
These Bob Lillis boxes from that same auction demonstrate the point regarding the impact of frequency on current book price:
In a collecting vacuum, Lillis and Craig are equally common, but in the 1963 Jell-O set Lillis is worth less than half of what Craig is worth. This is unsurprising when we consider that Lillis appeared on both the raspberry box and the no doubt very popular lemon box…