The finest 1922 American Caramel E121 set of all-time is coming to auction April 10 courtesy of SCP Auctions. But don’t let its seemingly pedestrian 4.66 set rating fool you: the classic black-and-white E121 series is one of the most elusive pre-war sets in the hobby, boasting multiple variations of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and other hardball legends that romanticized America’s pastime during the Roaring ‘20’s and beyond.
This newly-surfaced collection, dormant for almost 30 years, was recently graded and registered by PSA (‘SCP Auctions Spring 2019’), easily surpassing the previous high set rating of 4.10. There is even greater separation when Weighted GPA (4.94 to 3.87) and GPA with Top Pop Bonuses (5.66 to 4.10) are considered. A mind-blowing 28 cards stand alone as the highest graded examples in the PSA pop report, with a total of 46 top-rated cards overall. Two of the three Ruth’s are included (‘Holding Bird’ and ‘Photo Montage’) as well as one of the two Cobb versions. Five cards have earned a near impossible NM 7 status.
Since acquiring the set from Sotheby’s famed 1991 auction of the James Copeland collection, the owner kept each card virtually untouched in individual sleeves within a large spiral-bound binder. It’s highly unlikely a better set will be uncovered and contradicts the acceptable norm of most candy-based cards from that era typically found in extremely low-grade condition due to abuse from rowdy, sweet-toothed boys.
The Lancaster, PA-based American Caramel Company produced the 1922 E121 Series of 120 in a small-size format (2” by 3-3/16”) similar to its 1921 Series of 80, the only difference being the top line in black print on the backs calling out the different number of cards in each series. Fronts feature screened images of refined player depictions surrounded by white borders, with the player and team name printed at the bottom. Several unique misspellings, title and photo versions further add to the attraction for pre-War card collectors.
The collection includes 108 different cards and will not be broken up.
SCP Auctions’ 2019 Spring Premier kicks off April 10 and bidding closes April 27 at SCPAuctions.com.