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I have two blue Shirley Temple cereal bowls that belonged to my grandmother. One is in better shape than the other. I've been told that they came out of cereal boxes, which strikes me as odd. What do you think? — Ginny Benson.

While the bowls probably didn't come out of cereal boxes like small toys do today, beginning in 1935 a Shirley Temple cereal bowl did come free with the purchase of two large boxes of Wheaties cereal.

It was the midst of the Depression, and anxious companies hoped to encourage sales.

When Shirley Temple was 6 years old, she was a box-office star. She received a special Academy Award as the "Outstanding Personality of 1934." I can just imagine that millions of children would have begged their mothers for a bowl like yours.

In 1934, General Mills Inc., the maker of Wheaties, contracted the Hazel Atlas Glass Co. to manufacture a cobalt blue Shirley Temple breakfast set. There were a milk pitcher, mug and cereal bowl, all with Shirley's face and ringlets.

The items were made of pressed glass, and each cereal bowl had a honeycomb pattern along the side. The inscription on the bowl read "Hello Everybody," with Shirley Temple's name printed below.

The company also offered a Shirley Temple mug as a premium with a purchase of Bisquik.

The Hazel Atlas Co. made the breakfast sets until 1942. Because of Shirley Temple's enduring popularity, many reproductions of the dishes exist, so you must watch out if you plan to collect other items. Your two cereal bowls are worth $80.

Leslie Hindman is author of "Adventures at the Auction."

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