Shortprints in the 1920s Maple Crispette Issues Make Set Completions Nearly Impossible

Two very tough cards present significant problems for set collectors

maple23mc-02-traynorThe Maple Crispette name is surely not known by many Americans. But the Montreal candy company would be even less heard of had it not been for two sports card sets they produced in the 1920s.

In 1923, Maple Crispette firstĀ issued a short baseball card set, classified today as V117 in the American Card Catalog. They also produced a set of hockey cards for the 1924-25 season classified as V130.

Cards from both sets are pretty tough to find. In all, PSA has not even graded a total of 900 cards in the two sets combined. They aren’t absolutely unheard of. Typically, eBay will have a few dozen from each set listed for auction. Commons, even in lower grade, will typically start around $30-$50.

Each set contains only 30 cards but is also nearly impossible to complete. That’s because one card in each set was drastically shortprinted. Most sources, in fact, state that a set is ‘complete’ at 29 cards, even if not technically correct.

Maple Crispette Shortprints

Casey Stengel Maple Crispette 1923While most of the cards in the set are somewhat rare, two are exceedingly so.

In the baseball set, card No. 15 was Casey Stengel. And in the hockey issue, card No. 15 Sprague Cleghorn is the big shortprint. In both cases, the cards are ultra rare. I’ve seen reports as low as one or, at the most, a handful, in either case.

Two questions immediately come to mind when debating the shortprints. Why so few of them and why No. 15?

Turns out, both are easy to explain.

Maple Crispette, like many companies, would have limited them so much because they had a prize tied to a redemption of a complete set. The backs of the baseball cards mentioned collectors could redeem a set of either a baseball, a bat, or a glove. The hockey cards mentioned a prize of skates would be given.

But why No. 15? Any particular significance there? Maybe not with the particular number itself but there was a reason the same number had to be shortprinted in each set. That’s because, as identified on the baseball cards, the sets could be mixed and matched. In other words, to receive a prize, you could submit a set consisting of half baseball cards and half hockey cards. Thus, it was important that the same number be used for shortprinting in both sets.

So, the million dollar question — What are these cards worth? Unfortunately, trying to accurately price one from either set would be nearly impossible. Even if a reported selling price were known, with cards so rare, future selling prices could fluctuate wildly. It all comes down to how much two interested bidders are willing to pay.

When thinking of these cards, one card comes to mind, and that’s the shortprinted Strong Man card from the 1930s Schutter-Johnson I Want to Be Set. That card was wildly shortprinted and, today, only two are known. Only one was known until recently when I located one that went under the radar on eBay.

When only one was known, the card sold for more than $22,000. Given that card depicted a generic figure not from a major sport in a mostly non-sports set, it is quite easy to see the Stengel or Cleghorn commanding more than that. How much more, however, is anybody’s guess.

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