Short Prints

One of the first things Post cereal football card collectors want to know is which cards are the hardest to collect. It doesn't take very long to pull out a guide and see that #93 Dave Baker and #74 Sam Baker have two of the highest prices in the set. Those prices were set years ago and haven't really been updated accurately over time. The guides originally believed Sam Baker's card was the scarcest of the pair of Bakers—and by quite a bit. With the proliferation of online card sales, it is easier to get accurate data and track card trends. Anyone who has been collecting Post cereal cards for even a short period of time quickly finds that Dave Baker's card costs much more than Sam's, leading to the conclusion that Dave's is rarer.

Angelo Coia's card #110 appeared only on a Rice Krinkles 10 oz. box, Jim Martin's card #55 was only on one 14 oz. Sugar Crisp back panel and Darris McCord's card #54 was printed on two separate panels of Sugar Coated Corn Flakes 10 oz. boxes. There are distinguishable characteristics between the cards from each panel, yet McCord's card was printed only on one product. These are the only true single print cards in the set. The term single print is often erroneously used as a synonym for short print. Other than McCord, Coia and Martin, every card in the Post cereal football set was printed on at least two back panels from unique products. Rather than "single print," this would make other cards in low supply "short prints"—the term that will be used here for the Post cereal football cards that are most difficult to obtain.

Why are some cards in low supply?

Low production numbers of certain products

Some cereals simply didn't sell as well as others. Thus they weren't produced and distributed in volumes as high as other cereals. This will be verified and the page "Panel Card Data" which shows the percentage of individual back panels for each cereal product.

Mechanical printing failures

Whether there was mechanical failure while printing a particular Post cereal football product isn't known. The panel card data isn't evidence either way. This discussion will move forward without speculation on this subject.

Quality control issues

Former Post employee and veteran collector Bill Rothney has indicated there were times when an employee would remove amounts of flat boxes from production before they were filled with cereal due to printing issues. Since it is unknown how many flats and which products were removed, again, we'll go forward without ruminating on which products may have been affected.

Distribution issues

Spoilage or damage during shipping could have occurred. It should probably be viewed as part of the process and not necessarily as a factor why some products were in shorter supply than others.

Duplicate printing of back panels

If you haven't read the page titled "Producing Post Cereal Cards," this would be a good time to go back a few pages and see how cards were printed. In addition to double printing of whole back panels of paired products such as Crispy Critters with Alpha-Bits, Grape Nuts Flakes with Top 3 and Post Toasties 12 oz. cereal in different style boxes, certain cereal products' back panels were printed more often than others of the same product. For instance, Grape Nuts Flakes 16 oz. boxes were printed in a three across by two back configuration, meaning that two rows of three boxes were printed with each rotation of the engraved cylinder. This would print six boxes at a time, yet there were only four different back panels. To illustrate, the boxes with back panels 136 and 117 may have been printed on the left side of each row in the first "column," while two boxes with back panels 6 and 70 were printed to their right in both rows. This would result in twice as many cards from panels 6 and 70 than from panels 136 and 117. This brings a disparity in the number of cards printed from a particular product even though they are all of the same brand and size. Del Shofner, #28, cards were on single printed panel 136 while #25 Dick Nolan and #44 Chuck Weber were on double printed panel 6. Although the other cards of Shofner, Nolan and Weber were single printed on 10 oz. Raisin Bran boxes, the double printing of the GNF16 panels is reflected by Shofner's card being quite a bit scarcer and more valuable.

What is a "short print" Post cereal football card?

So which Post cereal football cards are short prints? Just as interesting, why do these cards qualify? In this section titled "Scarcity" issues such as which cards and panels are difficult to obtain will be addressed. A high price for a card doesn't necessarily mean that card is a short print—it may mean that although the supply is reasonable, the demand is higher for some cards. Other cards, even some with reasonably low prices, are more difficult to find than one might expect. What follows is a discussion of factors surrounding the areas of short print Post cereal football cards.