Amusing Avocations: Cereal Collectors

Dean Robbins, Allegheny Campus Staff

Amusing Avocations is a new series looking at niche hobbies from cereal collecting to baseball cards to elevators. If you have a hobby you think would fit in this series, email me at [email protected]

The blog “Cerealously” is dedicated to being “your online hub for all information on breakfast cereal and its surrounding culture.” It’s also a center for a small group of cereal enthusiasts. Collectors will sometimes pay hundreds of dollars for a vintage box of cereal. In an article by Eater, author Whitney Filloon mentions an unopened box of “Post Tens” sold for over $2500.

The hobby is rooted in nostalgia for eating sugary cereal every morning, often while watching cartoons. Cereal manufacturers used colorful boxes, cartoon commercials and iconic mascots to sell a myriad of delicious breakfast cereals. Many of these mascots are still well-known today. Who doesn’t know Tony the Tiger, Cap’n Crunch, Count Chocula or Lucky the Leprechaun? These characters are etched into our collective memory. Even the taglines are iconic. Remember “Wheaties: Breakfast of Champions” or “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”? Of course, you can’t forget “Snap Crackle Pop.” Therefore, it makes sense there is a dedicated hobbyist community centered on it.

I am not a cereal collector though I have action figures of Cap’n Crunch, Jean LeFoote and other mascots. I love the marketing more than the cereal, to be honest. So, where can I find these enthusiasts? I mentioned the Cerealously blog. I also recommend the website “Mr. Breakfast” which features a small forum on cereal. The website covers the broader topic of breakfast. It’s pretty neat. The site “The Freakie Magnet is an online “zine” whose site clearly hasn’t been updated since 1998. The name is a reference to the popular cereal Freakies. There are also a few YouTube channels dedicated to the topic. One of the most well-known is “Cereal Time TV” who has been on the site for over five years. His videos are well-edited and discuss the history of a certain cereal. They are quite interesting, even if you don’t particularly care for cereals. Another cereal channel is “Cereal Snob” who discusses cereal news. The site Antiques Almanac has a page discussing the history of cereal collecting. They sum up the hobby well: “Just about everyone grew up with cereal boxes. And today, a small group of dedicated collectors cherish them because they bring back fond memories of their childhood. And that’s the key reason people collect cereal boxes—for the nostalgia.” Thanks for reading this installment of “Amusing Avocations.”