Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Mini" 1960 Post Grape-Nut Flakes Mantle: Fooling collectors since 1982

It happened again recently.

Somebody was fooled by a fake 1960 Post Grape-Nut Flakes cereal box back Mickey Mantle that I had a hand in creating 30 years ago.

This time, however, it wasn't an unwary buyer at a local card show or on eBay, it was a major auction company.

In offering a complete set of the 10 box back "cards" that appeared on cereal boxes in 1960, the auction lot also included what was described as "a 6-1/2" x 9" ad card with Mickey Mantle that was hand cut from either some type of store display piece or more than likely from a Post cereal box announcing the upcoming promotion."

Actually, what this is, is a page from a book that I wrote in 1982 titled Baseball Cards A Collector's Guide.

The book was issued in a 100-page, spiral-bound 8-1/2" x 11" format by Beekman House books of New York. I wrote the book, and provided the 100+ cards illustrated in black-and-white and color, for the folks at Consumer Guide.

Many of the pictures printed in the book were actual-size photos that we had taken at Baseball Cards magazine in the early years of cards from the Larry Fritsch collection. The '60 Post Mantle panel was one of those.

The original box-back cards were printed in a 7" x 8-3/4" size including the wood "frame" around the color portrait photo. As it appeared in the Collector's Guide book, however, the card portion appeared in a reduced size of 5-3/4" x 7-1/8", with the entire panel measuring 6-3/4" x 9-1/8". That's about 82% of actual size.

When the page from the book is being offered to somebody as a "rare mini" version or some such, it is glued to a piece of cardboard to give the impression that it is printed on a cereal box.

In actuality, the book page has on its back half of a two-page spread picturing 1956 Topps cards that was printed in an early issue of Baseball Cards.

The "tell" that an undersized 1960 Post Mantle panel is from the Collector's Guide is that there is a poorly cut bottom border at the lower-right; that was on the original Fritsch card that we photographed. Naturally, if someone trims the page down to the wood border, that imperfection won't be visible.

Just remember, all genuine 1960 Post Grape-Nut Flakes box cards measured 7" x 8-3/4. There were no authentic pieces in other sizes, nor advertising or promotional pieces. With a genuine '60 Post Mantle worth hundreds of dollars depending on condition, that's valuable information to keep in mind.

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