Before kids were playing with iPads in restaurants, entertainment could materialize in less lustrous packages — literally, the package of a mediocre snack. The classic baseball gut-stuffer (along with peanuts and a couple of sweat-beaded hot dogs), the Cracker Jack combination of globbed-together popcorn, molasses, and peanuts always played second fiddle to the novelties lurking within each box. If you harbor fond childhood memories of ripping into boxes and grasping for prizes, you may want to drop by Calabasas Hills this weekend. On July 28, beginning at 11:00 a.m., Profiles in History will auction off the world's largest collection of Cracker Jack prizes as part of the four-day Dreier Collection auction.

The collection; Credit: Profiles in History

The collection; Credit: Profiles in History

Chad Dreier was CEO of the Fortune 500 company Ryland Homes from 1993 until 2009. He's also quite the pop culture vulture, as a hobby, building a semi-private Santa Barbara museum to house his baseball cards and costumes.

On Saturday, $40,000 to $60,000 worth of his memorabilia spanning over a century will be auctioned off: a set of 1898 Paper Dolls, over 80 pre-1910 Riddle Cards, 17 Victorian Women pin backs, Cracker Jack Bears postcards sets, 11 riddle books, baseball score counters, baseball spinner, water guns, various cast metal battleships, metal train cars, movie slide cards, metal baseball score counters, standing tin soldiers, spinning tops, storybooks, pot metal and celluloid lamps and trinkets, tin dollhouse serving trays, movie flip books, tin-litho horse and carriage, button mirrors, and painted wooden boats.

We're guessing that the folks willing to shell out for this stuff that once came gloriously “for free” won't return home to sprawl out on the carpet, zipping metal cars and battleships around a battalion of tin soldiers. It'll all go into special glass cases for display. Regardless of the ultimate use though, the best part about Saturday's auction is that you won't have to eat any actual Cracker Jack to get to the prizes.

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