Cereal premiums milk the memory

August 11, 1991|By McClatchy News Service

You think you have problems getting the kids through the cereal aisle without whining? Meet Jerry Cook, age 51..

Mr. Cook recently paid $1,000 for a Lone Ranger Frontier Town Map, once a Cheerios premium.

"The map goes with houses that were printed on the back of the boxes," explained Mr. Cook. "You cut out the houses and placed them on the map. Then you could follow the Lone Ranger radio stories."

Mr. Cook's most prized possession, however, is a Lone Ranger Atom Bomb Ring he bought at an antiques store for $40.

The ring and the map are just two items in his collection of 600 premiums. He also collects cereal boxes with premium offers and, at last count, had 1,400. Mr. Cook, who lives in Hacienda Heights, Calif., has been collecting since 1979.

"It started when I saw a ring in a junk shop that was like one I had when I was 10 years old," Mr. Cook said. "I bought it and I was TTC hooked."

Ted Hake, owner of Hake's Americana & Collectibles in York, Pa., says there is no such thing as a typical collector, but that if there were, Mr. Cook would fit the bill.

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