The E90-1 American Caramel set is considered to be one of the most collectible pre-war candy issues of all time. Despite the fact that it is difficult to complete because of the expensive Joe Jackson rookie card, it is popular because of its bright, colorful pictures and numerous stars.
Issued in 1909, there are 120 cards in the entire set.
Here are ten of my favorite cards from this colorful issue, in no particular order.
1. Willie Keeler (Throwing)
With three issues, Keeler has the most cards of anyone in the set if you count his red and pink portrait variations. His most interesting, and usually most valuable, is his action shot with him preparing to throw against a bright red backdrop. The fact that it’s horizontal makes it even better. In mid-grade shape, it goes for around $500, depending on exact condition.
2. Ty Cobb
Cobb’s card features the Hall of Famer batting and, while he has more visually striking cards, it’s still Ty Cobb. Point blank, there’s just no easy way to leave him off of any top ten list for this set. His card is also high in demand here. In mid-grade shape, it’s difficult to find at under $2,000.
3. Cy Young (Portrait)
Young is just one of many heavy hitters in the set. He has both a portrait and a side view shot. The portrait features him in a Boston uniform (the side view is him in Cleveland) and it’s one of his final cards as a member of the Red Sox. Young’s cards are in the same ballpark as Cobb’s.
4. Jerry Upp
Who? If you’ve never heard of Jerry Upp, you’re not alone. The pitcher played only one year in the majors (1909) and the E-90 American Caramel card is believed to be the only card issued during his career. That’s part of the reason that it still fetches so much money. An SGC 70 sold for nearly $2,300 at auction in 2017.
5. Christy Mathewson
Nice, classic windup shot of the Hall of Fame pitcher here, even though his name is misspelled. His cards don’t command what Cobb’s and Young’s do, but Matty’s mid-grade cards featuring a colorful sky aren’t cheap, starting around $500-$600.
6. Tris Speaker
Speaker’s pose features him at bat against a great sunset (more on those in a bit). One thing I love about this card is that it’s one of only about 15 in the set that include a full body picture. The other intriguing thing about this issue is its rarity. Speaker’s E90-1 American Caramel cards are hard to find and that’s reflected in the prices since his cards rival Cobb’s. A modest SGC 40 sold for more than $2,200 at auction.
7. Honus Wagner (Batting)
Like a few other big names, Wagner has more than one card in the set. His batting pose has a little more definition in the picture than his card with the throwing variation. Either is costly, though, usually starting around $2,000 in the mid-grade range.
8. “The Sunsets”
While some of the artwork in the E90-1 American Caramel set is a little questionable, many of the cards feature unbelievable paintings of sunsets. Rebel Oakes’ card shown here is an example of one and others, such as Buck Jordan, George Bell, and Jack Knight feature some great depictions as well. Most are commons and can be found in decent shape for under $100 but Oakes’ card is one of the tougher ones and sells for a little more.
9. Mike Mitchell
Mitchell’s card is one of the more sought after issues in the set because of its extreme rarity. Mitchell the player was nothing terribly special but his E90-1 card is incredibly tough to find. In terms of price, it is often behind only Joe Jackson. Even in low-grade Mitchell’s card is usually $1,000 and up.
10. Joe Jackson
No real surprise here. Jackson’s cards are rare and this one is an all-time great in terms of pre-war E-cards. The visage of Jackson could certainly use some improving. However, many of the faces on the cards in the set have some lower-end artwork. This card is at the top of the list when it comes to the E90-1 American Caramel set and is one of the more iconic cards in the entire hobby. A near mint Jackson sold in 2016 for a whopping $667,000.
There are usually one or two on eBay with lower grade examples starting at around $10,000.