|Early Candy & Gum Cards|
Unlike their tobacco card brothers caramel cards were made for kids. Obviously a child was dependent on dad if he or she wanted any tobacco issued Baseball cards. Caramel cards were the way for kids to collect cards directly.
Caramel cards were issued starting in 1888 and continued to the 1930s. A majority of the sets were issued during one of two time periods - from 1902 - 1915 and 1920 - 1933. Why the break? Well, many non-sport card collectors attribute sets that Baseball collectors put into the "W" category (for strip cards) as being issued by the American Caramel Company. If this is true, then many w-sets are actually e-sets and would bridge the gap between the two periods.
As far as books about E-cards goes there are a few good ones and one of the best reference books available is Lew Lipset's Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards. Other recommended references are the SCD price guide (available at book stores or amazon.com and the American Card Catalog or ACC. You may find the ACC at old book stores or on ebay. This book established the system of labeling sets using the letter/number combinations. It's where you learned to call tobacco cards "T" cards and early candy cards "E" cards.
This site concentrate on the Baseball issues named E90-1 - E107. All were issued between 1902 and 1915. There are other sets that were issued during that time. To read brief descriptions of these sets go here.
Which sets are easier to find than others? Which sets are harder to find than others? Below is a chart I put together based on my experience and the findings of a few other collectors. Granted, within each set there are going to rare cards but this list is for overall availability.
I would imagine older collectors, like me, will have different perspectives as would a post-Internet/ebay collector. I certainly welcome any and all experiences you wish to share.
Checklists and information for all of the sets from E90.1 E107 are available in this site. Click on one of the set names below or on one of the buttons along the left column of this page to go to a specific page for that set. To download a PDF file with checklists of ALL of the sets is coming soon. Email me if you with to receive a copy: firstname.lastname@example.org.