We complied a list of resources to help you research Cracker Jack prizes. Because of the vast number of toys and items distributed in Cracker Jack boxes and packages, there is not a complete list of every type of every color and variation of Cracker Jack prizes. What we have provided should help if you want to find out more about Cracker Jack collecting.
Books About Cracker Jack
Of all the books about Cracker Jack, the best one for collectors is Larry White's Cracker Jack Toys: The Complete, Unofficial Guide for Collectors. Hands down, if you are going to collect, you should have access to this book. There are issues with the printed version of this book, mainly that it was published in 1997 and has not been updated in book form since then. For more, please read on.
BEST Book for Cracker Jack Collecting
Cracker Jack Toys: The Complete, Unofficial Guide for Collectors by Larry White, paperback, 262 pages, color photos, Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, 1997.
- PROS: Includes a listing by decade of Cracker Jack prizes dating back to 1910 and continuing to the 1990s. While the list of prizes appears comprehensive, do not expect images for 100% of the items--compiling that would've been a Herculean task and nearly impossible. The book does provide an excellent sampling of prize images (according to the Amazon product description there are "over 290" photographs). Note that many of the images show groups of related prizes and in some, front and back views of a prize. Lastly, in this book, Larry White has done an excellent job cataloguing the prizes given the varied nature of the prize production--many items came in sets or were related or a variant of another prize while others were purely random.
- CONS: Since this book was published in 1997, the price guide will not be entirely valid. Please note that new editions of this book (with an ISBN-13 number) are available on Amazon, but the contents have not been updated.
- HELPFUL TIPS: Larry White is still a dealer of Cracker Jack prizes and other antique and vintage items. His online site is www.larrywhite2.com. While the book version of Cracker Jack Toys: The Complete, Unofficial Guide for Collectors has not been updated since 1997, White does have an updated version of his Cracker Jack guide book in PDF form and distributed via CD-Rom. It can be purchased from his online store.
BEST Book for Cracker Jack Inspiration
Cracker Jack Prizes by Alex Jaramillo, hard cover, 96 pages, color photos, Publisher: Abbeville Press, 1989.
- This is a lovely book about Cracker Jack prize history with lots of wonderful images. THIS IS NOT a guidebook for collectors, although it does provide a nice overview on how Cracker Jack prizes transitioned over time from the early years through the 1980s. Really nice images, use this book to inspire you--what type of Cracker Jack collector do you want to be?
- These are available for resale on eBay and Amazon. If you can find one that hasn't been in someone's basement for the last decade, they make nice table top books. The pictures included in the book display a wide range of Cracker Jack prizes from its early days to its height in the 20th century to the start of its demise when the prizes became increasingly inferior.
Other Cracker Jack-related Books
- The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseballs Prized Players by Tom Zappala (Author), Ellen Zappala (Author), Joe Orlando (Foreword), John Molori (Contributor), Jim Davis (Contributor), hard cover, 192 pages, color photos, Publisher: Peter E. Randall Publisher, 2013. This book celebrates the most prized of all Cracker Jack prizes--the 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack Ball Player card series. For Cracker Jack collectors, the baseball cards are in a league of their own with prices out-valuing almost all other Cracker Jack prizes. In 2010, it was reported that a complete set of the 1914 cards was sold at auction for over $500,000. Not too shabby. This is a great book, it will not help the average Cracker Jack collector, but if you're interested in the cards or a baseball fan, you will probably like this book.
- Cracker Jack Collectibles: With Price Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Ravi Pina, soft cover, 112 pages, color photos, Publisher: Schiffer, 1995. This book provides some nice images, but is lacking in terms of providing a comprehensive list or price guide. Also, many of the images are redundant and focus mostly on mid-century or later Cracker Jack prizes.
- Cracker Jack Collecting for Fun and Profit by James D. Russo, paper-back, 52 pages, black-and-white photos, privately published, 1976 and out-of-print. This was an early book on Cracker Jack collecting. While it is not extensive, it provides a few good images on the earlier Cracker Jack prizes.
Cracker Jack Collectors Association (CJCA)
The Cracker Jack Collectors Association (CJCA) is the national collectors' club for "people who have fun finding those CJ prizes and related items." They have a website online that features some Cracker Jack prizes as well as a discussion forum. The discussion forum is good for reference as members of the association will respond to requests for help in identifying Cracker Jack prizes. When researching Cracker Jack prizes on the web, our Google searches often produced search results pointing to discussion content on the CJCA forum. It's worth checking out.
Online Sites to Research Cracker Jack Prizes
The best websites to research Cracker Jack prizes on the Internet are sites that sell them. Here's our list, though there may be others:
There are also websites specifically developed for collectors that can be used to obtain Cracker Jack prize information and prices. These are paid services with monthly or annual subscription prices. Here's a couple that we are familiar with:
Things to Note When Researching Online
When using the Internet to research Cracker Jack, consider the source. For example, if you are using Larry White's online store or Times Passages Nostalgia to find an item or to check for pricing, the information provided is very likely accurate as these are long-time sellers of vintage items. However, if you are doing a similar search on eBay or Etsy, make sure to verify the sellers feedback or past eBay sales and check the pictures for condition:
- Not everyone is an expert and sometimes things are grouped as Cracker Jack or "crackerjacks" even if they are not.
- Sellers sometime sell broken items because they do not know that they are broken. If there are broken or missing pieces, the seller should inform you, but they don't always do that. Remember "Caveat emptor" or "let the buyer beware."
Try to use multiple resources to vet Cracker Jack items that you are researching. In our research, we tend to use Larry White's book with eBay and Worthpoint. Sometimes, if we need a picture, we will also scan Alex Jaramillo's Cracker Jack Prizes to see if we can find the item in the pictures or something similar. On eBay, we have found a good number of excellent sellers that are selling Cracker Jack prizes for fair prices. We rely on the information that is provided in their eBay listings and consider those sellers as "trusted" sources.
Things to Note When Determining Prices for Cracker Jack
Determining a value for a Cracker Jack prize depends on many of the same factors for evaluating other collectibles. It's all about availability and what's going on in the market.
The things to consider are:
- Age and rarity
- Condition of the item
- Marketplace and the economy
Prices for any type of collectible will fluctuate over time. Further, to our knowledge, there is no 100% accurate price guide of all the Cracker Jack prizes that have ever existed. This is where time and research is required.
The best place to check Cracker Jack prize values are online sites that sell them as they provide the most updated prices. When determining prices, it's important to compare what price the item is currently listed versus the amounts it was previously sold in order to provide a good price range. Online sites like eBay provide the capability to view recently "SOLD" or "COMPLETED" listings. When assessing Cracker Jack prices, try to check several sources to establish a more accurate price range.
Knowledge is Power
The resources we've provided should hopefully help you verify if the item is truly Cracker Jack as well as provide a price range for the item. If amassing a Cracker Jack collection has become your hobby, acquiring good research tools and techniques is your best investment.
- Get Larry White's book or CD-Rom. "New" and used book versions are currently available on Amazon. Again, the "new" book on Amazon is still from 1997 and the contents have not been updated. The CD-Rom version with the searchable PDF is currently only available on Larry White's website.
- Read Cracker Jack Prizes by Alex Jaramillo for an overview on the history of Cracker Jack as well as how the Cracker Jack prize changed over time. The book has great photographs including several hard-to-find Cracker Jack prizes like the elusive Native American chief's bonnet made of paper.
- Review the Cracker Jack Collectors Association (CJCA) website and consider if joining makes sense for you.
- Check out the various online resources that are provided above. See which ones work for you. We recommend starting with "free" online sites that sell Cracker Jack prizes.
- If you are going to use eBay, determine which sellers may be your "trusted" sources by reviewing their listings, feedback and past sales. Once you have determined the quality of the seller, use their listings for reference when researching Cracker Jack. Again, not everyone that sells Cracker Jack prizes on eBay are experts, but if you look you can find some really good ones.
- Lastly, check out the rest of The Art is Cracker Jack website. Unlike Larry White's book, this website will never be a comprehensive list of Cracker Jack prizes. This website is an appreciation site and we hope to share as many images of the art that is Cracker Jack as we can. Check out our Gallery for more inspiration.