Pre-expansion collectible is a must for serious collectors
We all played with Marbles when we were kids. Recess was the best time. Heel a small hole in the hard packed school yard and delicately roll your beauties towards it. Now there were several types of games and depending on how good you were could also decide on what size “Crown Royal” bag you would be carrying. Crown Royal has a status all to its own and to marble collectors it meant a great looking tote bag. Kids love to collect things, although I suspect kids today may not know what a marble or alley is.
A time honored tradition still popular today is beating our brother or sister to the cereal box to get the prize. So, imagine during the late sixties our delight when pouring out a box of Sugar Crisp two marbles rolled out. Post cereal had been one of the leaders with sports cards decorating their boxes since the early part of that decade. In the mid sixties they offered “hockey tips” cards as a move away from the NFL – CFL and MLB cards that had a reserved spot on the box backs the two previous years. For almost 30 years prior other companies produced hockey items such as the Bee Hive Corn Syrup cards, Quaker Oats cards, cards in cigarette packs and even under York peanut butter jar lids.
Remember the very popular Sheriff/Salada coins? In Canada during 1968 we were introduced to something a little different. Those Marbles inside the cereal box were not like any we had ever seen. They had faces in them. Some were blue and some red and they were plastic! The 1968 Post Marbles and game board are a very sought after collectible even today. Marbles for 15 Montreal Canadiens and 15 Toronto Maple Leafs were released. I don’t think anyone ever collected a complete set back then and not many of us ordered the game board display rink either. Funny thing is we didn’t play with them at school much either because the girls weren’t interested in losing their good marbles for the chance to win a plastic marble with a hockey players face inside.
What remains today is a set of the star players of the two Canadian teams. It’s filled with members of the 1967 Stanley Cup Final and new players like Paul Henderson and Wayne Carleton. The marbles themselves were unique in that they were actually three separate pieces. The team colored bottom, a tiny piece of paper with an even tinier picture on it and the clear plastic lens. It actually was a magnifying type lens that enabled us to focus on those little faces.
The game board–or as I call it the holder as the game is pretty simple–is as nice a piece of memorabilia as the marbles themselves. It is delicate so I doubt many survived intact. The marbles actually came sealed in a tiny plastic bag and recently I saw a few for sale still inside the bag. Depending on condition $400 is not out of the realm for a decent board and all 30 marbles.
I know that some of you reading this are smiling right now because you remember these marbles and like me remember the thrill of finding them way back when. That’s part of the fun of bringing them back to life for this story.
Thom Racine lives in Cornwall Ontario and writes a weekly column for “Seaway News”. ■