Vintage Non-Sports Cards
Buy/Sell/Trade Buy/Sell/Trade Vintage Baseball FAQs Links Gallery of Non-Sports Cards
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>  

3-Minute Airplanes Actually 3-Sets of 42 Cards

January 4 2017 at 2:19 PM

John Shupek  (Login BlackWidow23)

Recently while upgrading the F285 webpage on I had the 3-Minute "Airplanes" 42-aiplanes card set ready to publish. Then, all of a sudden ... dark clouds appeared directly over my house and a blinding flash of lightning brightened the night sky. Then a voice from the heavens said "John, use the Kalk"! Lee Kalk had recently send me his nine 3-MINUTE "Plane-Pack" airplane cards with two lines of branding and no box. This meant that there were actually two 3-MINUTE "Plane-Pack" sets of 42-airplane cards each. Once again that same voice thundered from the heavens and said "John look at the 3-MINUTE advertisement ... so I did! What I saw in the advertisement was startling! The advertisement reveled a third set of 3-MINUTE "Plane-Pack" 42-airplane cards with a single line advertising 3-MINUTE POP CORN. This of course meant that there were actually three 3-MINUTE "Plane-Pack" 42-airplane card sets (NOT ONE) issued by the National Oats Company via their trademarked "3-MINUTE" product line.

I have a complete set of 600-dpi original scans for the 3-line F285-3 series, 9 original card scans for the 2-line F285-2 series, and 0 scans for the single-line F285-1 series. I had to generate a simulated card image for the F285-1 card back from the below advertisement. If anyone has any additional information, or F285-1 cards, your help would certainly be appreciated. The write-up you see below was extracted from the website and is only a partial write-up. To view the entire article, go to The article on the website includes the original scans, enhanced presentation images, checklists, etc.

Series Title: 3-Minute “Plane-Pack” Series (aka “Airplanes”)
American Card Catalog No.: F285 (Generic)
Manufactured by: National Oats Company, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Obtained via Mail-Order: 3-Minute Oats, 3-Minute Raisin Oats, 3-Minute Pop Corn
Variation 1: F285-1: Back with single line of branding (3-MINUTE POP CORN)
Variation 2: F285-2: Back with two lines of branding (3-MINUTE OATS/3-MINUTE RAISIN OATS)
Variation 3: F285-3: Back with three lines of branding (3-MINUTE OATS/3-MINUTE RAISIN OATS/3-MINUTE POP CORN)
Number of Cards: 42-airplane cards per series
Numbering: unnumbered
Card Format: PLC (Playing Card) format with rounded corners
Card Dimensions: 56 × 87 mm
Circa: 1955
Checklist: F285 Checklist

3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Airplane Cards (F285)

During the mid-1950s, the National Oats Company issued their first series of 42-unnumbered airplane cards. Throughout the years, these cards have commonly been known as 3-MINUTE OATS “Airplanes” cards. However … SURPRISE … the official name of these sets are actually 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” airplane cards. The cards were available via mail order by redeeming 3-MINUTE trademark labels from their three main products. See the newspaper advertisement and mail order instructions for the initial 42-airplane card set below.


Full-size 600-dpi Image



Now let's take a very close look at the above 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” newspaper advertisement. Notice the card back in the advertisement. It has only one line of branding … 3-MINUTE POP CORN. This indicates that there was an initial 42-airplane card set of 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Series 1 (F285-1) with only a single-line of branding. As of 12/30/2016, to the best of our knowledge we have been unable to physically obtain or receive any scans of these F285-1 airplane cards … this just means that they are very scarce … if not rare! Skytamer Images enlarged a section of the above advertisement that contained the image of the card back. The image was then resized and overlaid on the same image from the F285-3 set. It was a perfect match except for the single-line of branding versus the three-lines of branding. We therefore concluded that the set does indeed exist, and seems to be exceptionally rare. Any help with scans of these initial F285-1 cards would certainly be appreciated. For talking purposes, computer enhanced sample card fronts and backs of the three F285 42-airplane card sets are presented below.







As noted above, the initial series of 3-Minute “Plane-Pack” Series 1 (F285-1) of 42-airplane cards was issued to promote the National Oats Company's 3-MINUTE most popular trademark product … 3-MINUTE POP CORN and contained the following single line of branding … 3-MINUTE POP CORN on the card backs. Evidently the 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Series 1 promotion worked well for the National Oats Company's 3-MINUTE POP CORN product line, and a second series was issued. The second series of 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Series 2 (F285-2) 42-airplane card set shared the same card fronts and backs as the F285-1 initial series, with the exception of the branding on the reverse side. This second series of 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Series 2 (F285-2) 42-airplane cards contained the following two-lines of branding on the reverse sides … 3-MINUTE OATS/3-MINUTE RAISIN OATS. It appears that both the single-line F285-1 and the two-line F285-2 airplane card sets were being issued during the same timeframe. Between the two sets, the National Oats Company was able to promote all three of their most popular 3-MINUTE trademarked products. Later, the first two series of the 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” were discontinued in favor of a third 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Series 3 (F285-3) set of 42-airplane cards. Again, this third set used the same fronts and backs as the previous two sets with the exception of the branding on the reverse side. This third set of 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Series 3 (F285-3) utilized the following three lines of branding surrounded by a rectangular box … 3-MINUTE OATS/3-MINUTE RAISIN OATS/3-MINUTE POP CORN. This third set (F285-3) was most likely issued due to financial considerations. The issuance of this third set (F285-3) allowed the National Oats Company to consolidate and promote all three of their 3-MINUTE trademarked products at one time. Essentially, they “put all of their airplane card “eggs” into one basket”, thus reducing the costs of printing, advertising, shipping and handling of multiple airplane card sets. The 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Series 3 (F285-3) set of 42-airplane cards is the set that we have all been familiar with over the last 60+ years, and assumed that it was the only airplane card set associated with the National Oats' 3-MINUTE trademarked products. At this time, the original issue dates of the three F285 42-airplane card sets appears to be lost in history.

The fronts of the cards show only American aircraft from the early to mid-1950s. The aircraft artwork is the same that was used in several contemporary aircraft card sets of that era and are later in this article. The backs of the cards are also the same as their contemporary sets with the exception of the product branding on the reverse side. The backs of the cards were printed in a portrait (vertical) format with black ink and arranged in a vertical stack of the following four segments: (1) The card title (aircraft designation); (2) A brief descriptive text of the aircraft; (3) A simplistic 3-view OML (outer mold line) drawing of the aircraft (Note, in some cases the drawing was not included since it was “CLASSIFIED”; and (4) Product branding at the bottom of the card. The cards measure 56 × 87 mm. The generic American Card Catalog reference number for the 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” 42-airplane card series is F285.

The 3-MINUTE “Plane-Pack” Series Image Guides

The photo-Guide for the series is at

 Respond to this message   

Daniel H
(Login PancakeBunny)

Re: 3-Minute Airplanes Actually 3-Sets of 42 Cards

January 4 2017, 9:56 PM 


Great post. Lots of detail, which I love. It's great to be able to see the results of your research presented like this.

Here's a ridiculous criticism: Raisinoats is one word, not two.


John Shupek (
(Login BlackWidow23)

I Agree ... it is rediculous!

January 4 2017, 10:15 PM 

I think that the printer did not have the extra $0.99 to buy a smaller font. It looks like they had a set font size and stuck with it, thus pushing the letters together and making it look like one word.

When I started this project, I did a double-take when I looked at the branding line. It only comes together when you see ads or the product itself.


John Shupek (
(Login BlackWidow23)


March 28 2017, 11:25 PM 


I also though for a while that "RAISINOATS" was a strange product name, until I was able to verify the real brand name from a 3-Minute store poster (similar to the Carnation poster) which I recently got on eBay. The poster shows a picture of the three products with "RaisinOats" shown as a trademarked word. It does look strange on the cards since it is in all caps.

John Shupek

Joe Marciano
(Login bvb5366)

3-minute airplanes

March 29 2017, 8:12 AM 

Great article! While I was looking at the pictured card examples something started to look wrong. It took a minute but I realized the B-36 did not have the four jet engines on it nor did the line drawing show them. I figured I would ask you, as the Aircraft Man, if the B-36 originally came without the engines and that picture might be a proto-type or early production version of the plane? It just looks so odd once you realize what's missing.

Ken Bush
(Login KenBush)

Re: 3-Minute Airplanes Actually 3-Sets of 42 Cards

March 29 2017, 7:58 PM 

The first models of the B-36 did not have jet pods. The B-36D was the first
model with jet pods. I think in 1951, I would have to look it up.


(Login wdmullins)

Re: 3-Minute Airplanes Actually 3-Sets of 42 Cards

March 30 2017, 3:20 PM 

John's initial post above says "Circa 1955". The color ad he posted was run in numerous newspapers, on the bottom of a Sunday comics page, on Oct 18, 1953. Two weeks later, a similar ad ran on Nov. 1 across the country. The Oct. 18 ad features a "3 Minute Pop Corn" reverse, while the Nov 1 ad features a "3 Minute Oats / 3 Minute RaisinOats" reverse (there were other minor differences in addition).

Note the mail-in coupon, which says to send to "Dept. PC-21." All of the Oct 18 ads had a PC code like this, but with different numbers (presumably so National Oats could track the effectiveness of advertising in different markets). All of the Nov. 1 ads had a simple number, without the PC -- "Dept. 11", "Dept. 63," "Dept. 42", etc.


John Shupek (
(Login BlackWidow23)

B-36 Engines

April 26 2017, 12:33 PM 

The original Consolidated Vultee B-36s, XB-36, YB-36, B-36A/B/C all had 6-pusher engines. The B-36D introduced two twin jet pods (nacelles) adding 4 jet engines. These were used mainly for take-offs to reduced the amount of fuel needed and thus increase the bomber's range. At that time aerial re-fueling was not available for B-36s, so anything that could increase range was good. These were the "duck-and-cover" days of the cold war. The B-36 was the only U.S. bomber that gave SAC sufficient range to reach our dear friends in Moscow.

  Respond to this message   
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>