The Philadelphia Caramel Company gave us two pre-war baseball sets known today as E95 and E96. Produced in 1909 and 1910, respectively, the sets boasted a total of 55 cards and are among the most popular pre-war issues.
While some heavy hitters are found (particularly in the earlier E95 issue), there are plenty of underrated cards in the two sets. If you don’t have enough money for a Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, or Honus Wagner, check out some of these options in the Philadelphia Caramel issues.
Connie Mack E96
Mack’s card in the Philadelphia Caramel series is one of my absolute favorites. It not only features one of the greatest managers in baseball history but is so unique compared to the others.
Mack did play the game but his career ended long before the production of this set. Therefore, unlike others, he is pictured in his customary suit and tie as a manager of the Philadelphia Athletics. Another neat quirk is that his card is the sole one with both his first and last names printed on it. Mack is the only personality in the set that was solely a manager at the time of issue. In mid-grade shape, the card starts around $400.
The E95 card of Chief Bender is one of the best-looking cards of the Hall of Famer. Bender’s card, as are the cards of about 2/3 of the players in the issue, is a portrait pose.
Most distinctive about the picture is that he’s wearing the unique striped hat of the Philadelphia Athletics. Collectors looking for inexpensive Hall of Famers from the sets will be hard-pressed to find many cheaper ones. Mid-grade Bender cards start around $250-$300.
Clarke’s E96 issue is another card in the series that is ideal for collectors in search of unique pre-war cards.
His pose on the card is one of the more interesting ones as it shows the Hall of Famer preparing to bunt. The Clarke card also has an added bonus of being an error card. The former Pittsburgh Pirates star has his last name incorrectly spelled, ‘Clark.’
It should be added that Clarke’s card is another great one for those looking for bargains on players enshrined in Cooperstown. His card is generally even less than Bender’s starting in the $200-$250 range for decent copies.
Eddie Cicotte wasn’t a Hall of Famer but his E95 card is worthy of recognition. Cicotte, a member of the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox team, actually began his career in Detroit before moving on to Boston.
This card features him with Boston and in a unique uniform. In 1908, the team wore a picture of a large red sock with the word ‘Boston’ in it and that’s what we find Cicotte adorned in on his card.
1909 was a breakout year for the pitcher, who went 14-5 that season with an ERA under 2.00. By the end of his career in Chicago, he was recognized as one of the top hurlers in the game. His card is priced as that of a Hall of Famer, starting around $300-$400 in reasonable shape.
Buck Herzog E96
The real reason Herzog’s card is included here is that it’s another unique one. Herzog boasts the only horizontal card in the entire set so it’s priced with a bit of a premium over other commons. Additionally, as Herzog’s career began in 1908, it’s also one of his earliest cards. For a mid-grade common, it starts around $100.