Twice the Fun: A Second Similar Caramel Card ‘Scrap’ Surfaces

A second Richard Montague caramel card ‘scrap’ surfaces

You might recall a post I wrote in July about an incredibly weird scrap-type of caramel card that I found as part of an oddball lot of pre-war cards.

While I haven’t been able to determine the origin what I do believe is that it is a period piece from the same c1910 era of many other early caramel and tobacco cards. What I didn’t imagine encountering was a second card, almost entirely similar in nature.

The card in my possession is a Red Murray card with an outline of the picture used on his E94 Close Candy, E97 Briggs, and M131 Baltimore News card sets. And a reader alerted to the post surprised me with a second very similar card. A collector named Brian pointed me to his earlier post on Net54 about his card, which, well, looks a lot like mine.

The collector has had his card longer than I’ve had mine. He purchased it on August 25, 2018 on eBay. The card listed by itself and sold for a ridiculously small amount. According to his recollection, the card was listed by a seller that did not specialize in cards, which would explain the unusual title in the auction.

His card doesn’t picture Murray, though — it pictures Hall of Famer John McGraw. But the same ‘design’ style presides over his card.

It starts with the silhouetted outline of the image on the front with a solid color background. And the back has the same stamps, including the one that states, “All Cards Genuine.” Even the handwritten ‘Local B.P.L.A.’ note exists on the bottom and the signature of a ‘Richard Montague’ is scrawled across the back.

A lone difference exists in that back but the style is still the same. My card has a handwritten name of Gasper, likely to signify Cincinnati Reds player Harry Gaspar. This McGraw card has the name Lentz on the back along with Little Rock. That surely was to represent player Harry Sentz, who appears in the T206 set with his name misspelled as Harry Lentz.

Brian made a connection that I frankly had not when I knew of only my card — one to T206. Now, these, of course, are not T206 cards. The images used to create the fronts tell us that. But the fact that both Gaspar and Sentz are found in T206, combined with a handwritten ‘350’ at the top to potentially indicated the Series of 350, means that the printer or collector creating these could have tried to mimic that iconic set.

Another ‘revelation’ from the McGraw card, so to speak, is that we can deduce that the images for these cards were likely taken from the E94 Close Candy set (pictured here is a regular E94 McGraw card) or the M131 Baltimore News set. My Murray is also found in the E97 Briggs set but given that McGraw is not in that set, that one seems to be unlikely for Murray’s origins as well.

Other than that, however, we’ve still got many more questions than answers for these oddities. The names of the players along with the type of card stock, fountain ink pen, and Montague’s signature (his name appears on other cards) almost certainly means they are period. But other than that, we still know very little about them. That includes, who printed them, too, obviously.

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