The American Caramel Company of York, PA was famous for creating several pre-war caramel card sets. In 1915, the company created a throwback of sorts to its earlier popular E90-1 issue as well as the separate E92 set with a set referred to as the E106.
The E106 set was comprised of 48 cards as stated on the backs. While not a massive set, this was larger than some of the other caramel card issues that featured only 25 or 30 cards.
The E106 American Caramel issue was a standard E-card set. The fronts included a full color picture of the player in question with a white border. Backs provided some small measure of detail about the set with the mention that there were a total of 48 cards featuring players from the National, American, and Federal Leagues.
One card was given with each piece of candy from the candy maker, which was based in York, PA.
Measuring at 1 1/2″ x 2 3/4″ tall, the size of the E106 American Caramel cards matched that of many other E-card issues from the same era.
Most notably is the set’s relationship with the American Caramel Company’s famous E90-1 release and the E92 set used by Croft Candy, Croft Cocoa, Dockman, and Nadja Caramels. While the backs are different, the E106 set utilized the same images that are found in the E90-1 and E92 sets. Looking at E106 cards compared to cards in those other sets from the fronts makes them virtually indistinguishable. The most recognizable difference is that the E106 has a thin glossy coating on the front that can be felt.
American Caramel Company sets were always full of big names and the E106 set is no exception. The checklist of 48 cards boasts a total of 19 cards of Hall of Fame players, including Chief Bender, Roger Bresnahan, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Sam Crawford, Johnny Evers, Hughie Jennings, Nap Lajoie, Rube Marquard, Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Eddie Plank, Tris Speaker, Joe Tinker, and Honus Wagner.
Part of the reason the set is so full of stars is because a few of those players are featured more than once, similar to how they were in the E90 release. Bender, Cobb, and Wagner all have pose variations, which adds to the value and prestige of the set.
Two other players, Hal Chase and catcher George Gibson, both have pose variations as well. Finally, the Mathewson card, as was the case in several other sets, has an uncorrected error as his name is spelled ‘Matthewson’.
While the E106 American Caramel set is similar in appearance to its own E90-1 release, one thing that isn’t similar is the price. Much of that has to do with the rarity of the two sets with the E106 cards being much more scarce. On eBay, for example, there are usually no more than a few dozen E106 cards. E90-1 cards are much more plentiful with hundreds generally up for auction or sale.
Even in only modest mid-grade condition, E106 commons generally fetch a couple hundred dollars. Stars, such as Chief Bender, sell for considerably more than that, depending on the player and condition. Cobb and Wagner are the ‘darlings’ of the set and even command strong money at the lower end of the mid-grade spectrum. This PSA 3 Cobb sold recently for $3,300 at auction.
The rarity and price point for most of these cards makes completing a halfway decent set in terms of condition a challenging proposition. Lower-conditioned sets, such as this one, which sold for nearly $11,000, are out there but still tough to find.