Few would dispute that the T206 collection is the godfather of all baseball card sets. Oh sure, notable issues like Allen & Ginter’s, Old Judge and Mayo’s Cut Plug predate the T206 series. But with its expansive lineup, mainstream introduction of the forefathers of baseball royalty that include Cobb, Lajoie, W. Johnson, Mathewson, Speaker and Young, and of course the incredibly rare Honus Wagner card, the T206 series has become the “Mt. Everest” of the hobby. To this date, there isn’t a single collection on the PSA Set Registry (including the “big four”) that is 100% complete. It’s also the only set that gets its own link on the PSA website, with over 60 subset classifications by player, league, ad back and factory variation. The T206 collection is a hobby within a hobby. But with all the pomp and circumstance afforded this phenomenal series, the savvy collector has already caught on to what might be the next big market boom in the hobby; caramel cards, known better as the “E” series.
Caramel Cards – Tobacco’s More Colorful Cousin
Right about the same time tobacco cards were making the rounds, another wave of pasteboards targeting a younger crowd were landing in candy stores. Much like their tobacco cousins, caramel cards are of nearly identical size and have various ad backs. While some are known by the advertising on the reverse; American Caramel, Philadelphia Caramel, Standard Caramel, Croft’s Candy, Nadja Caramels, Dockman & Son, George Close Candy, Briggs Co., Bishop & Company and Williams Caramel among them, others merely have a checklist on the back and are referred to by their “E” designation and “anonymous” or by the number of cards in the set, labeled “Set of 30” for example. Most of these collections are very small, 25 to 50 cards in all, but contain such stars as Cobb, Wagner, Mathewson, Plank, Bender, Collins any many more. Tobacco-using adults that caught card collecting fever often turned to caramel cards if they wanted a Wagner or Plank since they were nearly impossible to acquire from the T206 series. The “E’ cards are bolder and more colorful in general, making them appealing to the children to which they were marketed. However, staining from the candy was virtually unavoidable, especially for those that sat on shelves through the hot summer months. It’s likely that the few that surface in high-grade were both well cared for and acquired during the earlier months of the year, when the caramel wasn’t as susceptible to the elements. For decades, caramel cards were overlooked by collectors … until one recent discovery put them squarely at the forefront of the baseball card world.
The E98 “Black Swamp Find” – A Game Changer!
In July of 2012, one of the greatest finds of early 20th century caramel cards was discovered in Defiance, Ohio, a town that was coined “The Black Swamp” by General “Mad” Anthony Wayne in 1794. This Black Swamp find consisted entirely of cards from the 1910 E98 Set of 30 series, a handsome collection that features different background color variations of each card, with 17 of the presented 30 subjects in the Hall of Fame. The find yielded almost 700 cards, virtually all of them in NM or better condition with four examples, including one of Honus Wagner, achieving a mark of PSA 10 GEM MINT. Considered the most celebrated addition to the baseball card market since the 1952 Topps find of the 1980s, caramel cards were finally getting the notoriety they deserved.
Mile High Card Company To Offer Over 300 Lots of Caramel Cards in March 2018 Auction.
In continuation of a record-setting 2017 year, Mile High Card Company presents a fantastic March auction to open the 2018 year that features over 300 caramel cards, ten of which come from the amazing “Black Swamp” find of 2012, as well as hundreds more from other rare early 20th century collections. Loaded with cards from all of the sets mentioned earlier, other tough issues from the time period are well-represented, including cards from T201, T202, T3 Turkey Red, M116 Sporting Life, 1915 Cracker Jack, D304 Brunners Bread, 1910 Tip Top Bread, T204 Ramly, 1916 Tango Eggs, and of course, 1909-11 T206. MHCC is still accepting consignments but time is running out. If you desire the maximum possible return for your prized sports cards and/or memorabilia, please call our office at (303) 840-2784 to speak with one of our team of experts, contact us at www.milehighcardco.com.