Star Wars collector searches the galaxy for cereal
When our new Star Wars cereal landed in the cereal aisle this summer, fans of the movie franchise were thrilled.
After our original blog post about Star Wars cereal, we heard from a collector who is especially excited about the limited edition package designs.
Gus Lopez collects all things Star Wars, including cereal boxes.
“I have the largest collection of Star Wars related cereal boxes in the world – over 1,400 different boxes from over 100 countries, including all the vintage General Mills cereals with Star Wars promotions from the 1970s in the U.S. and Canada,” Lopez wrote in an email.
Our light sabers dropped in amazement, and we had to learn more.
Lopez tells us he started collecting Star Wars related cereal boxes – any box with a Star Wars prize or mail-in offer also known as a premium – in the mid 1990s for a few different reasons.
“Nobody really saves old cereal boxes. They’re very, very, very hard to collect. That was one of the motivations – because it was one of the hardest things to collect, to try to assemble a full set.”
In addition to the challenge, Lopez enjoys the sentimental side of collecting cereal boxes.
“I always loved the cereal brands. They were kind of always part of Americana. They were iconic brands that as a kid you are really, really familiar with the cereals and the characters, so it was a nice crossover of Star Wars and that,” Lopez explains.
Back when Lopez began collecting, there were only about 50 cereal boxes with Star Wars promotions. The boxes came out with the original films in the ‘70s and ‘80s and were contained to the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
Lopez connected with other collectors and met people through fan publications. He obtained boxes from all kinds of interesting sources.
“It might be the printing company for a cereal company would have a set of flats years later that were available, or there were some given out promotionally, or grocery stores had some boxes of cereal flats. Sometimes, there’s old store stock. For weird reasons, boxes get stored and some people just happen to randomly save them,” he says.
The remaining 1,400+ boxes in Lopez’s collection are from the last twenty years and tie to the re-release of the original films and the release of the prequel films. The vast majority of the boxes are from other parts of the planet.
“Name a country, and they’ve pretty much done a promotion.”
Lopez has boxes from Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Norway, Turkey and the list goes on.
He travels internationally quite a bit for business (Lopez works for an internet company in Seattle) and for pleasure.
“When my wife and I were on our honeymoon in 1995 in Spain, in Barcelona, we found a Star Wars cereal box that was there, so we were buying a bunch of boxes. I remember vividly going through the cereal aisle and picking out a bunch of boxes!”
Many of the boxes in Lopez’s collection come from friends around the world.
“I have people in different countries, usually a couple in each country, that just look for me. Every time there’s a Star Wars promotion coming out, I will reach out to them.”
Out of all the cereal boxes in his collection, Lopez considers the vintage boxes of Boo Berry, Franken Berry and Count Chocula among his favorites. He also really likes boxes of Crazy Cow.
“There is an obscure General Mills cereal called Crazy Cow that existed in the ’70s and early ‘80s. I don’t even remember it as a kid,” says Lopez. “I just love it because it’s such a weird brand.”
Lopez has each and every prize or premium associated with the Star Wars cereal boxes in his collection, including the stickers and trading cards that came with the Monster Cereals and Crazy Cow.
A typical Star Wars premium from the ‘70s might go for $10 and a vintage cereal box in the low hundreds estimates Lopez, who has co-authored four books on Star Wars collecting.
For him, collecting cereal boxes isn’t about the cost or value. It’s about finding them.
“I was fortunate I was able to find lots of them. In fact, almost every single box known to exist for Star Wars I’ve found. There are just a few I haven’t, but by and large, I’ve found every single one.”
You can learn more about Gus, and see his Star Wars collection, here.
Subscribe to “A Taste of General Mills” by email – here – and we’ll notify you about our latest posts.