Comparing the 1910 E75 and E76 American Caramel Prize Fighter Cards
The E75 and E76 American Caramel boxing cards are similar but different
Two of the more common early caramel card sets devoted to boxing are the 1910 American Caramel Prize Fighter sets. They are categorized in the American Card Catalog as the E75 American Caramel set and the E76 American Caramel set.
Now, that doesn’t mean the cards are all that easy to find. They aren’t exactly rare but they were not seemingly produced in large numbers, either. The cards are on eBay but not in large quantities. PSA’s graded population reports speak to that (we’ll get to those in a bit). The cards are merely among the more common boxing caramel card sets out there, at least partially because there are few American-based caramel issues devoted entirely to that sport.
The two card sets look virtually the same and, frustratingly, the checklists are nearly identical, too. The fact that the pictures of the same fighters do not change doesn’t help, either. But a few differences make them easy to separate.
Notably, E75 cards have the boxers’ names printed in all capital letters. E76 cards, by comparison, have only the first letter capitalized. Shown here is an E75 and E76 card of George Dixon. That’s typically the easiest way to distinguish the cards but there are other ways, too.
For one thing, the backs of E75 cards are printed in black ink. E76 backs are printed in blue ink.
Then there are the checklists. While they are mostly the same, four different pairs of boxers exist in the two sets.
If you’re trying to figure out the more prestigious set, the E75 checklist is easily superior because of the presence of Hall of Famer Jack Johnson and Abe Attell, who was a key figure in the 1919 Chicago Black Sox World Series scandal. Johnson’s card is easily the biggest in either set, easily selling for over $100 in even low-grade condition. E75 also has Tommy Burns and Stanley Ketchel, both members of the Hall of Fame.
E76, by contrast, included set-specific cards of Joe Choynski, Young Corbett, George Gardner, and Gus Ruhlin. That collection of fighters is fine but they don’t match the desirability of Johnson or even Attell, really. Attell’s card is, of course, pursued by baseball collectors because of the World Series deal.
So what about rarity? Is either set tougher to find than the other? The E76 cards are much harder to find, if you believe PSA’s population report. While nearly 700 E75 cards have been graded by PSA, not even 150 of the E76 cards have been graded. eBay essentially confirms that with more E75s usually up for auction, though, it’s worth pointing out that the cards are often misidentified there.
Despite that difference in rarity, the E76 cards don’t typically sell for much more, if anything. Low-grade commons in both sets start around $15-$25. Finding the cards in high-grade condition is tough not only because of their age but because caramel cards were usually printed on thin card stock — such as is the case with these issues. Because of that, you can pay significant premiums for even mid-grade cards.
Most non-boxing collectors could probably not even distinguish between E75 and E76 cards, let alone tell you which is rarer. Even some boxing collectors would struggle with those questions. So when buying these cards, collectors can expect to pay roughly the same most of the time unless they are up against a knowledgeable seller understanding the rarity.