The 1933 U.S. Caramel set is comprised of only 32 cards. While it is technically a multi-sport set, baseball is clearly the dominant subject found in it. Originally cited as a 1932 issue, it is generally believed to be produced in 1933 by many accounts these days. Similar to the 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack cards, these are defined largely by their plain red backgrounds.
The set is sometimes called a baseball issue but five cards for non-baseball players were issued as a part of it (as well as a separate U.S. Caramel set featuring American presidents).
With few exceptions, prices for baseball cards in other multi-sport sets are significantly more valuable than cards of the non-baseball subjects. While collectors pursue cards from a variety of all sports, baseball cards are clearly king among American collectors. However, in the case of this set, the cards for the non-baseball athletes more than hold their own against the baseball players. That is somewhat surprising since the majority of the baseball players found in it are actually Hall of Famers.
Cards of the few common baseball players start around $75-$100 in mid-grade condition. Mid-grade cards of the star and Hall of Fame baseball players from the set start in the $200-$300 range. For example, a PSA 3 of Hall of Famer Paul Waner recently sold on eBay for a little more than $200. There are some fluctuations, obviously, but those prices give us a decent benchmark to compare against values for the other cards.
Now, the non-baseball athletes don’t command what the cards of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, or Lou Gehrig do. That trio is, as they are in other sets, mostly in a league of their own in this set, save for an ultra rare card of Fred Lindstrom that is also found here. But as we’ll see, the non-baseball players stack up quite well to the others by comparison, with a couple even outperforming many of the baseball legends.
In all, the set includes a pair of Hall of Fame golfers and three Hall of Fame boxers. Here’s a look at these five cards and their approximate values.
Golfers – Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen
Most Bobby Jones’ cards are highly valued by collectors. The star golfer’s cards are often not cheap and he’s near the top of the list for golf collectors. His U.S. Caramel card, like many of his others, can be quite valuable. Fellow Hall of Famer Gene Sarazen is another highly-collected pre-war golfer and his cards do well, too.
Jones’ card in particular is one of the most valuable ones in the entire set. That’s a common theme for his cards, actually, and his stuff is in high demand in terms of pre-war golf cards and collectibles. A modest PSA 4 card of Jones earned more than $2,200 in a recent eBay auction. Of the athletes on this list, he is the only one to seriously challenge Ruth, Cobb, and Gehrig in terms of value. By comparison, a Cobb SGC 4.5 sold for only a little more in another recent auction.
Sarazen’s U.S. Caramel cards don’t hold nearly that much prestige. However, they still do well compared to some of the other baseball players. In mid-grade condition, his cards from this set start around $150-$225.
Boxers – Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Jack Sharkey
When it comes to the three boxing cards in the set, Jack Dempsey is the clear winner in terms of value. In mid-grade condition, you can expect to pay starting prices of approximately $500-$600. That amount outperforms most of the baseball players.
Like we saw with Jones in golf, after Dempsey, there’s a noticeable dropoff in terms of the values of the other boxers. But the cards of that other pair, Gene Tunney and Jack Sharkey, are also desirable and hold some value.
Tunney, another heavyweight champion, has his following of collectors. Mid-grade Tunney cards from this set typically start around $150.
Sharkey is a bit less desirable. Even as a Hall of Famer, his cards typically don’t command a ton of attention. Still, his U.S. Caramel card starts around the price of a baseball common at about $75-$100.
Golf and boxing cards are often significantly less than baseball cards in most sets. As a whole, cards from those sports simply aren’t collected to the same degree as baseball cards. But in the case of the U.S. Caramel set, their cards stack up relatively well compared the big names found on the baseball side.