ROCHESTER, Minn. — Over the past 40 years, whenever Dale Haigh and his family traveled, one of his first stops was a grocery store — and it wasn’t for groceries.
He would scour the aisles until he found the cereal. Then he'd look for that classic orange Wheaties box, hoping to find an edition he could add to his collection back in Rochester. His collection now includes over 400 boxes.
“Anytime I would head into a grocery store, that’s the first place I would go,” Haigh said. “When I went to other cities, I’d go to their grocery store, because some of the boxes are regional and some national … Every time I went into a grocery store and I saw a new box, I was ecstatic."
He also looked for them when he was out of the country.
“We were in a foreign country, and he would always want to see, ‘Well, what kind of cereal do they have here? Do they have Wheaties?’ ” said Linda Haigh, Dale’s wife. “He was always looking.”
EBay was his other source for building up his collection, which almost covers his driveway, but now he's ready to move on.
Haigh recently posted his collection on Facebook Marketplace, offering to sell about 300 of his Wheaties boxes for $300. He said couldn’t bring himself to get rid of the entire collection.
“I don’t want to get rid of them, because they’re a little sentimental to me,” said the 71-year-old. “It would be a shock to my system, I think, if I got rid of all of them.”
The first Wheaties boxes Haigh kept were from when he was a “youngster” eating his Sunday breakfast at the kitchen table.
Boxes featuring former tennis player Chris Evert and former gymnast Mary Lou Retton were the first.
Haigh said he plans to save his Evert edition, along with some from Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.
While Haigh enjoyed collecting other items, such as coins, stamps and matchboxes, Wheaties boxes were his priority.
But he didn't realize how unique his collection was until he posted about selling it on Facebook.
“I didn’t realize it would get that much interest,” he said. “I got a couple hundred likes, and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is fantastic!’ ”
Now with a potential “serious buyer” lined up, Haigh is starting to realize that selling most of his collection is becoming a reality — which requires 65 pounds of UPS boxes to ship.
“Shipping is not going to be cheap,” he said.