September 21, 2016
Presented is an extremely rare complete set of thirty-one cards from the R114 U.S. Caramel "Presidents" series, including the ultra-rare William McKinley, which is one of fewer than ten examples known to exist and one of the great prizes of all nonsport-card rarities. It is, in fact, far rarer than a T206 Wagner, a T206 Plank, and maybe even rarer than a 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth (of which only ten examples are known to exist). In all our years, this is only the third example we have ever offered.
This is an exceptionally high-quality set, entirely graded and encapsulated by SGC, with twenty-one cards grading Vg-Ex to Nr/Mt+, two cards Vg, and eight cards in lesser grades (including McKinley which has been downgraded due to a factory cancel hole-punch in the lower-left corner to ensure that this card could not be redeemed again, otherwise the McKinley is in a very appealing Vg-Ex condition). All the cards in this set have a “cancelled” ink stamp on the back along the bottom border. It is interesting to note that each card has been cancelled in a virtually identical spot, suggesting that this set was redeemed at the same time and has remained together for eighty-five years! Of further note is that this is almost an entirely red assembly, with thirty of the cards boasting a bold red background (only the McKinley is orange). SGC Grading Composite: NM+ 86 (1 card): Fillmore. NM 84 (9 cards): Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Pierce, Lincoln, Johnson, Hayes, and Garfield. EX/NM 80 (4 cards): Monroe, W. Harrison, Grant, and B. Harrison. EX+ 70 (1 card): Jackson. EX 60 (2 cards): J.Q. Adams and Polk. VG/EX 50 (4 cards): Tyler, Arthur, Cleveland, and F. Roosevelt. VG 40 (2 cards): Van Buren and Hoover. FAIR 20 (1 card): Washington. POOR 10 (6 cards): McKinley, T. Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge. Authentic (1 card): Buchanan.
The U.S. Caramel "Presidents" set is considered by most collectors to be complete at thirty cards. The thirty-first card issued, President William McKinley, was intentionally distributed in very short supply. The reverse of each card informs youngsters that if they collected the entire series of thirty-one cards, the set could be redeemed for a one-pound box of assorted chocolates. By purposely making McKinley incredibly rare, the U.S. Caramel Company saved itself the expense of giving away pounds and pounds of free chocolates, and at the same time may have even encouraged extra sales, as youngsters kept buying pack after pack in a futile attempt to complete their sets. This was not the only time U.S. Caramel played this dirty trick on the youth of America! The Lindy Lindstrom card in the 1932 R328 U.S. Caramel "Famous Athletes" set also owes its incredible rarity to this very same practice. To date, only three examples of Lindstrom are known to exist, and to the best of our knowledge, fewer than ten examples of President William McKinley (including the one offered in this set) are known. Interestingly, the R114 U.S. Caramel "President" set is actually rarer than the popular R328 U.S. Caramel "Famous Athletes" series and this is only the third McKinley card (and second complete set) that we have ever had the privilege of offering. Total: 31 cards.