Oat Flakes

Post distributed a list of "FOOTBALL CARDS ON POST CEREAL PACKAGES" that shows 28 cards were to be printed on both 15 oz. Oat Flakes and 10 oz. Sugar Coated Corn Flakes boxes. The original plan appears to have been duplicate back panels with four boxes of seven cards each on the two cereals. The 15 oz. Oat Flakes panels shown below are panels 15, 145, 54 and 153—numbered by the card in the upper left. Individual cards from Oat Flakes 15 oz. panels are not in circulation. Cards from Sugar Coated Corn Flakes panels were produced and sold in stores, but Oat Flakes 15 oz. boxes with football cards on the back were not produced beyond the quality control stage and therefore never sold in stores.

The panels shown below are courtesy of collector and long-time Post cereal employee, Terry Faulk. The images here are scans of photocopies from company archives. Terry's generosity in sharing the photos shows that Post did create proof boxes/panels of 15 oz. Oat Flakes cards. At some point in the production process, Post decided not to include any football cards on the backs of 15 oz. Oat Flakes boxes. Only two Oat Flakes 15 oz. panels are known to exist outside of company archives. Both panels start with number 153. The history behind those panels is that they were likely rescued from destruction by a Post cereal employee as the lack of adhesive on the back of both indicates that they were probably from a test run.

A complete 15 oz. Oat Flakes box with panel 153 on the back was discovered in 2021. The sealed box was empty so determining if adhesive was on the inside was not possible. As with the two existing panels, this box is assumed to be part of a test run. An image of the front panel is shown below.

In January 2022, the only known 15 oz. Oat Flakes box changed ownership. The new owner was able to open the top of the box revealing that no adhesive had been applied to the inside of the box in the place where the liner bag would have been attached. There were staple holes in the top flap demonstrating that this box was one printed by Post's quality control department before approval of a complete run. This OF15 box had been folded and manually glued on the bottom and side, apparently after leaving the factory.

This step was as far as production of 15 oz. Oat Flakes boxes got in the 1962 Post cereal football promotion. As has been shown on the How Boxes Were Made page, all of the boxes of the four different OF15 back panels were printed at the same time. Of the three OF15 back panels discovered so far, including this box, all three are of panel 153.

What do we know about production of Oat Flakes boxes for the 1962 Post football promotion?

In the November 3, 1959 edition, the Battle Creek (Michigan) Enquirer reported that Post was beginning to test market Oat Flakes in areas other than Battle Creek, although the report did not specify any possible places. The earliest known ad for Oat Flakes was on November 12, 1959 in the Bruning (Nebraska) Banner for a 10 oz. box. On June 16, 1962, The Battle Creek Enquirer, in an article on Post's year end report, stated that Oat Flakes went into general distribution. Evidently the test marketing of Oat Flakes had been successful enough over the previous 30 months that Post made Oat Flakes one of its standard products.

The earliest ad found for 15 oz. Oat Flakes boxes was in The Press Democrat from Santa Rosa, California, on June 20, 1962. At least one ad was found in each of the months from July through November, although the Paducah (Kentucky) Sun was the only newspaper to run an ad for 15 oz. Oat Flakes after September 8, 1962. The ads in June and July would have been for baseball cards as Post featured 14 players on the backs of two different seven card back panels. Which boxes were on the shelves of the stores placing the ads from August through November is anybody's guess. Those packages could have been leftover baseball boxes as there is no evidence that Post actually printed and distributed 15 oz. Oat Flakes football boxes other than the limited number in their initial quality control test run.

In a circa 1984 letter to Kirk Robinson, then Post employee Bill Rothney wrote that "15 oz Oat Flakes...were not in the 1967 production plans." He expounded on "several variables which could affect the scarcity of an individual card in the set. 1) The portion of the annual volume which was run with the promotion. Marketing personnel don't change the promotions on all of the cereals at the same time. Thus, anywhere from 10% to 35% of the annual volume could have been with the FB card promotion." Continuing on with another relevant point, "3) The projected volumes for the year may have been quite a bit different than planned. Sometimes the volume could be ± 25% of the projections."

Among collectors of both 1962 baseball and football cards with master set knowledge of each, there is belief that 10 oz. Oat Flakes baseball cards are much more plentiful than OF10 football cards. The market would support that belief as several OF10 football cards are somewhat costly, including the most expensive, #93 Dave Baker. Following up on Bill's marketing information from the previous paragraph, it is quite conceivable that Post distributed a large percentage of their annual Oat Flakes production as part of the baseball promotion since 800 million total cards were produced. Post's plan for the football promotion in 1962 was to distribute 500 million cards. Based on counts of sold cards by cereal brand on the Box Production Calculation page, about 2.2 million 10 oz. Oat Flakes boxes were produced, making OF10 the second lowest manufactured product. Had there been a relatively large quantity of Oat Flakes products, both 10 and 15 oz. packages, for the 1962 baseball promotion, it is conceivable that a surplus existed on store shelves resulting in a marketing adjustment for the upcoming football promotion.

Post's "FOOTBALL CARDS ON POST CEREAL PACKAGES" list shows that 15 oz. Oat Flakes cards were, indeed, part of the original plan. The Oat Flakes 15 oz. product had just been introduced as the earliest newspaper ad found was from late June, 1962 and Post had only recently acknowledged that Oat Flakes had passed beyond the test market stage. Orders from grocery stores for 15 oz. boxes likely wouldn't have been placed by the time full runs of football cards were scheduled. Sales data for 15 oz. Oat Flakes boxes from the baseball promotion may not have been available until past the time for printing football cards on the backs of boxes. While we will probably never know for sure why Post did not run the 15 oz. Oat Flakes boxes with football cards on the back, it may have boiled down to a readily available supply of Oat Flakes already in stores before printing of 1962 Post cereal football boxes even began.

Oat Flakes 15 ounce (OF15)
Oat Flakes 15 oz. panel 15 Oat Flakes 15 oz. panel 145 Oat Flakes 15 oz. panel 54 Oat Flakes 15 oz. panel 153
OF15 panel 15 OF15 panel 145 OF15 panel 54 OF15 panel 153

Oat Flakes 15 oz. front panel
OF15 front panel

Oat Flakes 10 ounce (OF10)
Oat Flakes 10 oz. panel 17 Oat Flakes 10 oz. panel 129 Oat Flakes 10 oz. panel 34 Oat Flakes 10 oz. panel 133
OF10 panel 17 OF10 panel 129 OF10 panel 34 OF10 panel 133

Oat Flakes 10 oz. front panel Oat Flakes 10 oz. inside back panel
OF10 front panel OF10 inside back panel

Brand and Size Card Numbers Players Notes
Oat Flakes 10 oz. 17, 36, 73, 92, 111 Brown (R), Dean, Smith (JR), Brodie, Ditka Adhesive top of third card, sometimes all cards
OF10 129, 147, 165, 183, 200 Nisby, Cook, LoVetere, Shaw, Toneff Light blue header
  34, 51, 67, 82, 93 Brookshier, Lane, Mitchell, Moore (L), Baker (D)  
  133, 145, 155, 169, 174 Tracy, Tubbs, Meinert, Pardee, Alderman