Not all E91 American Caramel Cards are Created Equal

Population reports show varying degrees of rarity for the three sets

prewarcards-e91c_nilesprewarcards-e91c_unglaubThe E91 American Caramel set really consists of three separate issues. They are often lumped together because of the shared designs and the same layout across all three sets. But the E91 classification includes three distinctly different sets.

The sets are not only different in terms of checklists but also in the fact that some are a lot easier to find than others.

That, of course, is by comparison. I mean, with a total of only a little more than 3,000 cards graded by PSA, SGC, and Beckett combined, all E91 American Caramel cards are somewhat rare. But in comparing the cards to each other, we get a very clear picture of just how rare some of the cards are across the three sets.

And it’s the 1908 E91A American Caramel cards are by far the hardest to find. Here are the combined results for the three population reports from the three grading companies.

  • 1908 E91A Set – 649 cards graded
  • 1909 E91B Set – 1,097 cards graded
  • 1910 E91C Set – 1,458 cards graded

See a pattern? Clearly, more cards exist for the newer sets. And, compared to the 1910 set, there are less than half of cards from the 1908 issue.

Do the population reports always present a clear idea of production? Not necessarily. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that throw the pops off (e.g. a large discovery of cards from a certain set that is subsequently graded). In this case, however, the E91A cards look as if they were printed in much smaller quantities.

And that makes a lot of sense. Here’s why.

E91 American Caramel StahlThe 1908 American Caramel set is generally believed to be the company’s first of many baseball card sets. With such a venture, it makes sense that production would be held low as the company experimented with baseball card.

Production seems to have increased over the next two years and, that also makes sense. We know from the 1909-11 American Caramel set, one of the more heavily produced E-Card issues from that time period, that their card were quite popular. It only makes sense that production would continue to increase.

With regards to pricing, interestingly enough, E91A cards don’t seem to get the respect they probably should. I’ve got more than half of the 99 cards across the three sets and rarely have paid much more for E91As than I have others. Similarly, I’ve not usually paid less for E91C cards than I have for the E91B cards, which appear to be significantly rarer.

I mostly attribute that to most collectors not tracking the rarity of these three sets very much. They aren’t collected nearly as much as the more popular E90-1 American Caramels and I doubt most collectors not pursuing them have little idea to the rarity of the three sets.

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