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On the Shelf

If you could walk into a grocery store frozen in time at 1962 you would find cereal boxes displayed much as they are today, organized by company, brand and size (weight in ounces). Most Post cereal brands had more than one size for each brand; some had three and others only one. The size of the box naturally led to different physical dimensions which would accommodate a variety of cards on the back, ranging from one to seven with every number in between.

Depending on the width and height, some boxes featured cards with no white space to cut between the cards as they were butted up against each other—common border cards. This made the adjacent cards virtually impossible to cut without overlapping into another card. The other boxes of all brands and sizes were printed with enough white space between each side of the card or the edge of the box to navigate scissors without getting into an adjacent card. Of course, we know that's not what happened on the vast majority of cards, but it was possible. There were some kids at the time who either had tremendous foresight or were just lazy—not wanting to trim more than necessary—and cut between the black lines leaving all the borders intact.

Seven card boxes were arranged in four, two card rows with one of the cards at the top replaced by a header that displayed football characters and the phrases "NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE", "FOOTBALL TRADING CARDS", "200 TOP STARS", "Collect Them on Post Cereals!" The header was placed in the upper left on panels with seven cards except for Post Toasties 12 oz. boxes. Each of these boxes had a strip of adhesive placed across the top to attach the plastic liner bag to the box. This resulted in the top card on each seven card panel ending up with a horizontal strip of adhesive (often called wax or glue) across the top card on the panel. Again, Post Toasties 12 oz. boxes are sometimes the exception in that the top card is more often than not free of the adhesive and, when present, is a thin strip. Twelve ounce Post Toasties boxes came in the standard top flap configuration as well as a pour spout test box. Pour spout boxes had a flap on the corner so the cereal could be poured and then resealed. These boxes did not have a liner but the inside of the box was treated with a wax-like substance that gave the cardboard a light appearance, leading the cards from these boxes to be commonly known as "white backs." Other boxes with seven cards were Alpha-Bits 13 oz., Bran Flakes 16 oz., Grape Nuts Flakes 16 oz., Post Toasties 18 oz., Sugar Coated Corn Flakes 10 oz. and Sugar Crisp 14 oz. Panel identification for Post cereal boxes, except where noted, begins with the upper leftmost card.

Seven Card Boxes
Alpha-Bits 13 oz. Bran Flakes 16 oz. Grape Nuts Flakes 16 oz. Post Toasries Top Flap 12 oz. Post Toasties 18 oz. Sugar Coated Corn Flakes 10 oz. Sugar Crisp 14 oz.
Alpha-Bits 13 oz. Bran Flakes 16 oz. Grape Nuts Flakes 16 oz. Post Toasties 12 oz. Post Toasties 18 oz. Sugar Coated Corn Flakes Sugar Crisp 14 oz.


Boxes with six cards had a header at the top as wide as the box with three, two cards rows underneath. Small size boxes of Alpha-Bits, Bran Flakes, Crispy Critters and Sugar Crisp are all common border panels and have six cards on the backs. The adhesive on these boxes was used only at the top, thus affecting only the top of the backside of the header and not the cards. Grape Nuts Flakes 12 oz. and Top 3 10 oz. boxes had enough room on the back to accommodate white space between cards. Both brands used a spray of adhesive vertically down each side that affected most every card. Sometimes the bottom two cards, one on each side of the panel, escaped the application of adhesive.

Six Card Boxes
Alpha-Bits 8 oz. Bran Flakes 11 oz. Crispy Critters 8 oz. Grape Nuts Flakes 12 oz. Sugar Crisp 9 oz. Top 3 10 oz.
Alpha-Bits 8 oz. Bran Flakes 11 oz. Crispy Critters 8 oz. Grape Nuts Flakes 12 oz. Sugar Crisp 9 oz. Top 3 10 oz.


Oat Flakes 10 oz., Post Toasties 8 oz. and Raisin Bran 14 oz. boxes all carried five cards per box back. The cards were arranged under a header the width of the box that overlapped the top of the upper right card. Individually, the upper right card often is seen with the color of the border still outlining the top of the cut card. The cards were arranged as two vertical cards on the left and three horizontal cards on the right. Oat Flakes 10 oz. boxes were applied with adhesive on the center of the back such that the upper right card would be the only one affected and that area would be behind the upper left front of the card. There were times when the adhesive also happened to be applied in a random fashion and affected most every card. Post Toasties 8 oz. backs had two narrow strips of adhesive on the vertical edges and about a one inch wide strip down the center. The adhesive would range from about halfway down the inside of the box to nearly the bottom. Raisin Bran 14 oz. packages had only a horizontal adhesive strip behind the header that stayed above the cards.

Five Card Boxes
Oat Flakes 10 oz. Post Toasties 8 oz. Raisin Bran 14 oz.
Oat Flakes 10 oz. Post Toasties 8 oz. Raisin Bran 14 oz.


Ten ounce Rice Krinkles and 10 oz. Raisin Bran boxes featured four cards per box in different arrangements. Rice Krinkles were laid out like five card boxes, except the upper right card was replaced by header information about the action toys that came inside the box. The inside of the box was more or less randomly sprayed, so most Rice Krinkles cards have small amounts of adhesive. The small Raisin Bran boxes were arranged so that if you looked at it from the back the horizontal header would span the box. These boxes simply had a horizontal strip of adhesive across the header that didn't show on any of the cards. From the upright position, turning the box 90° clockwise would put the phrase "200 TOP STARS Collect Them on Post Cereals!" at the top. The cards were printed in two rows of two cards each with the upper left card (after the box is rotated) being considered the first card for purposes of panel identification.

Four Card Boxes
Raisin Bran 10 oz. Rice Krinkles 10 oz.
Raisin Bran 10 oz. Rice Krinkles 10 oz.

 

Three card panels came on Post Tens variety pack trays and Grape Nuts 16 oz. boxes. Post Tens featured ten individual serving boxes up to an ounce in weight. The boxes were placed in two rows of five boxes on a tray that was folded up about an inch on each of the four sides to corral the little boxes. The whole thing was then wrapped in cellophane. The cards, visible by turning the pack upside down, had a red header on the left side. Three cards then followed to the right of the header. There was no adhesive on the backs. The large size Grape Nuts box also featured a red header in the upper left corner with the vertical card to the right considered to be in the first position. The second and third cards, also vertical, followed clockwise. Grape Nuts boxes had pour spouts that were meant to be opened from the top right corner while facing the back. Instructions located in the area of the spout said "Push In Here Pull Up" and resulted in most of the cards in the first position having their upper left corner torn or badly creased. There was no liner and so no adhesive stains on the back.

Three Card Boxes
Grape Nuts 16 oz.
Grape Nuts 16 oz.
Post Tens
Post Tens


Grape Nuts 11 oz. boxes had a red header with two horizontal cards stacked below. As with the large size box, they also had a pour spout and no liner, meaning no adhesive stains.

Two Card Box
Grape Nuts 11 oz.
Grape Nuts 11 oz.


Alpha-Bits ¾ oz. boxes had one card on the back of their boxes. The card was wrapped with a blue border around the right two-thirds of the card on three sides. The backs of the cards had a strip of adhesive along the bottom of the card and another rectangular spot midway up the back of the left (photograph) side. One of these boxes came with Post Tens and two were placed in the six count Treat Pak.

One Card Box
Alpha-Bits ¾ oz.
Alpha-Bits ¾ oz.