While kids were digging the new bubble gum cards from Goudey, Boston-based U.S. Caramel was competing with its neighbors for kids’ pennies. The company produced a 32-card set of sports stars that was distributed with its products. Later this month, a nearly complete grouping of the best known examples from the 1932 U.S. Caramel set will hit the auction block.
The collection includes some of the best known examples of from the rare set believed to have been available only in and around the company’s home area, including a mint Babe Ruth expected to fetch $200,000 or more.
Heritage Auctions will offer the cards in its Spring Sports Card Auction, set to open March 27.
The R328 U.S. Caramel set includes 32 athletes, 27 of which are baseball players and the checklist is a stellar group of Hall of Famers and icons. The card of Fred Lindstrom was deliberately short-printed and fewer than five are known to exist, meaning most collectors consider the set complete at 31. Tight-fisted U.S. Caramel offered to exchange a baseball for a complete set and a glove for three complete set but the Lindstrom was apparently made extremely difficult to locate.
In addition to the PSA 9 Ruth which is one of two at the grade level with none higher, the auction includes a PSA 8 Lou Gehrig (none higher); a PSA 9 Ty Cobb (pop 3, none higher); a PSA 8.5 Rogers Hornsby (pop 1, none higher), a PSA 9 Bobby Jones (pop 3, none higher); a PSA 8.5 Mickey Cochrane (pop 1, none higher) as well as PSA 9 examples of Bill Terry, Bill Dickey, Lloyd Waner, Gene Sarazen and more. Many of the cards are expected to sell for $10,000 or more.
The U.S. Caramel set has long been listed as a 1932 issue but the set actually was distributed in 1933.
Bidding in the auction will run close over a two-day period, April 18-19.