Uncommonly Sweet

Written by: Cassidy Lent

In Montreal, Canada, in the 1920s, there was a candy company known as the Maple Crispette Company. According to ads printed in Canadian Grocer during this time, they produced different types of popcorn, as well as marshmallows and other sweets. Also during this period, the company produced a set of 30 baseball cards.

While there are many different sets of baseball cards out there from different companies, there are several things that make the Crispette card collection unique. For one thing, there was only one year in which the cards were produced: 1923.

An offer of free baseball equipment appears on the reverse side of each Crispette card. B-304-2004 (Milo Stewart, Jr. / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Something else that makes the cards stand out is what is on the back of each one: An offer of free baseball equipment – a baseball, bat, or glove – which one would receive upon sending all 30 cards back to the company.

This leads to another unique quality, and that is the scarcity of the No. 15 card, which is Casey Stengel. The belief is that the company produced a very limited quantity of the Stengel card to keep the number of giveaways to a minimum. The Stengel card in the Hall of Fame’s collection is believed to be the only one still in existence.

In fact, all of the cards in the set are difficult to find. This may be because the company decided to destroy the cards that came back to them instead of sending them, with the equipment, to the person who originally sent the cards back to the company.

The cards themselves are pretty simple. Each features a picture of a player or manager, with a number in the right-hand corner and a name in the left. However, this doesn’t mean the cards are uniform. For instance, sometimes the player’s face is framed by a black line, as seen in the Babe Ruth card, while others don’t have this border, as in the case of Howard Summa (whose name was actually Homer). Also, some cards, like Ty Cobb’s, only feature the player’s last name.

It is these differences that make this particular set all the more interesting. You can see all the cards here. Special thanks to Ana Feliciano!

Cassidy Lent is the reference librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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