Featuring Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson
May 24, 2019
Sweet as Candy
Most collectors are aware of the tobacco cards that were issued in the early part of the 20th Century, with the White Border T206 Set being one of the most popular issues of all time. But what options were available for non-smokers or those that didn't buy tobacco products for the premiums? Well, there were some less common issues released by a few different confectionery companies. One such set, release by the American Caramel Set, was a focal point of a collection that a New Jersey gentleman called Just Collect with the intention of valuing and selling.
The gentleman contacted us and provided us with a checklist and images of the cards in his collection. The collection was handed down to him from his father and was found in a small locker that included many of the father's WWII medals and mementos. We reviewed the images, prepared a preliminary evaluation and advised what our purchase offer would be pending an in-hand examination. The man lived nearby and scheduled an appointment as he was planning on coming to our area while picking his son up from Rutgers University.
We met in-person at our Somerset, New Jersey office and reviewed the collection and presented the gentleman with a slightly upgraded offer and he gladly accepted and sold us the collection that was primarily E91 Set B and Set C near sets. The baseball collection consisted of 48 different E91 cards. There was one single card from the 1908 Set A, but the near sets included 18 of 33 cards from the 1909 Set B, 29 of the 33 cards from 1910 Set C.
A Sweet Tooth
Issued over the course of three years, the American Caramel Company releases were issued as premiums with American Caramel products and offered an alternative choice for those that didn't smoke, use tobacco or were younger collectors. Produced as an annual series consisting of 99 total cards from 1908 to 1910, each yearly series featured 33 players from 3 Major League Teams. Set A, produced in 1908, featured players from the Athletics, Giants and Cubs and boasted a bevy of Hall of Famers such as Chief Bender, Roger Bresnahan, Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance, John Evers, Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Ed Plank, Joe Tinker and Rube Waddell.
Set B, issued in 1909, again featured players from the Cubs, Athletics and Giants and contained the following Hall of Famers: Frank Baker, Chief Bender, Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance, Eddie Collins, John Evers, Rube Marquard, Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Ed Plank and Joe Tinker.
The 1910 Set C changed the team lineup and feature players from Pittsburgh, Washington and Boston and may have ended up being the most star-studded release highlighted by Hall of Famers Fred Clarke, Harry Hooper, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, and Honus Wagner. Two of the most conspicuous players absent from the entire series are Ty Cobb and Cy Young -- the leading hitter in the American League and all-time winning pitcher ever in the game.
One interesting aspect of the set is the reuse of images from Set A in both Set B and Set C. An example is the image used from Daniel Shay in Set A is the same image used for Larry Doyle in Set B and with a slight adjustment, for Amby McConnell in Set C. It appears that Set A may have been modeled after the real players, but that Set B and Set C were generic or anonymous.
1908-1910 Sets A, B and C
The set is not impossible, but it is surprising difficult to find and especially in mid-grade or better. Below is a list of the 99 cards that comprise the entire E91 Set (33 cards in each annual Set):
1908 Set A
1909 Set B
1910 Set C
The Honus Wagner
The Honus Wagner from this collection was initially evaluated as VERY GOOD with staining and we expected that it would garner either a PSA 3 (ST) or a PSA 2. The card received a PSA 2 GOOD and was utilized in a promotion with Vintage Breaks. Leighton announced on the PSA/Vintage Breaks Show last week that he would entertain trade offers for several items, including the E91 Wagner. Within 72 hours, a deal was made for cash and trade for the Wagner. This was an amazing transaction that harkened back to the old days of swapping cards at trade shows and conventions.
Schedule an Appointment to Meet Just Collect at a Show Near You
Just Collect travels to several shows on a regular basis. In the New York area, we often attend the White Plains Show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. If you're in the New England area, you can make an appointment to meet with one of our specialists when we're in the area for the Shriner's Show at the Aleppo Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. We also visit the Metro-DC area when we attend the CSA Show in Chantilly, VA. If you're in the South Jersey or Delaware area, you can also schedule appointments while we're in the Philadelphia area when we do The Philly Show in Valley Forge, PA.
We set up at The National Sports Collectors Convention every year and this year, it will be at the Stephens Convention Center in the Rosemont section of Chicago, IL and it has also been in Cleveland, Atlantic City and Baltimore in recent years. Additionally, we travel to the Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo in Mississauga, Ontario for those of you in the Toronto area that want to meet with us in Canada.
We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the past decade. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage basketball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, also!
Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and soul into building their collection. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.
Won't They Be Worth More if I Grade Them Myself
We discuss all of the selling options with everyone that we meet with. In most cases, selling the collection on their own will put the most money on the bottom line, but it will also take an large commitment of time and energy and one that most are not ready or able to undertake. Another misconception is that grading the collection will return more money. When I hear people say, "You're just going to grade them and get ten times the money," I almost cringe. Grading a collection can be a money losing proposition, especially if you don't know what you're doing. And most times, we grade very few, if any cards, from average collections that we buy.
We value a collection based upon the condition and the value. If a card is worth $100 in a PSA 7 NM, we're going to value it at $100 whether it is ungraded or graded. You can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars grading your cards, but we're still valuing them the same and paying the same regardless of how much you've invested in grading them.
We Are Always Buying
Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss your collection and get our industry leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace.
Don't hesitate to check out our Google Reviews left by many of the great people that have considered selling collections to Just Collect.
"Sweet Collection - E91 American Caramel Baseball Cards" Video: