On eBay today, there are frequent auctions that include Cracker Jack prizes from the 1930s. Many, particularly the tin lithograph prizes, can be found in good condition considering their age attesting to the quality that The Cracker Jack Company put into the prizes that they gave away for free. As Cracker Jack has stood the test of time, so have the prizes.
Collect More Cracker Jack Prizes
While the 1930s brought forth The Great Depression, Cracker Jack popularity did not wane and the company continued on. While they introduced new products during the time, including a chocolate covered Cracker Jack variation, the tried and true original Cracker Jack snack remained its best seller. Also, prize quality and variety remained as high as ever. In keeping with their previous method of releasing prizes in collectible groups, The Cracker Jack Company continued to release their prizes in series in order to encourage its fans to keep collecting.
Join the Club, the Cracker Jack Mystery Club
The Cracker Jack Company released the Presidential Coin series in 1933 in conjunction with the Cracker Jack Mystery Club. To join the club, Cracker Jack devotees first needed to collect the Presidential Coins. Each Presidential Coin had "SAVE THIS METAL" or "SAVE THIS COIN" on the back with one of 32 (Washington to FDR) president's profile on the front of the coin. After collecting 10 (later 5) coins, potential club members needed to mail the coins back to Cracker Jack. The coins were then "cancelled" and return to original owner with a certificate of membership.
Cracker Jack only produced the Presidential coins until 1936, so Franklin D. Roosevelt was the last coin. Currently, they can be found on eBay or in coin collector shops. Supposedly, there are fewer "cancelled" coins available in the market which for collectors means they have a higher value.
C. Carey Cloud and Cracker Jack
In 1937, C. Carey Cloud, artist and toymaker, produced four finger puppets for Cracker Jack. Printed on perforated cardstock, a small child could make the puppets work by pushing his or her finger through holes on the card. The child's finger would then form the nose or tongue or even the feet (in this case two fingers were required) of the character on the card. There was the clown, the court jester, an elephant, and a girl.
These finger puppets would be one of the first prizes Carey Cloud created for Cracker Jack. From the late 1930s to through the 1960s, Cloud would create hundreds of types of Cracker Jack prizes from paper dolls to miniature figures to plastic squeeze toys. Some of the most memorable and collected Cracker Jack prizes today are those that were invented by C. Carey Cloud.