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1914 Cracker Jack

The 1914 Cracker Jack Baseball set consists of 144 subjects, each card with its player shot and brilliant red backdrop measuring 2-1/4" by 3”, all printed on thin paper (and designated E145-1 in The American Card Catalog). Individual examples were inserted in boxes of the molasses-covered popcorn snack. Cardbacks devoted half the area to a short player biography and the rest to text promoting the set and the product. American, National and Federal League heroes were in abundance, with this set anchored by Max Carey, Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Harry Hooper, Miller Huggins, Joe Jackson, Walter Johnson, Napoleon Lajoie, Christy Mathewson (the scarce exemplar with his pitching prowess on display), Branch Rickey, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, Jimmy Walsh and Zach Wheat. The thin-paper pieces survived in only very small quantities, owing to their inherent fragility, and as the 1914 issue was only found packaged with the delicious sticky candy treat, examples are far more difficult to secure than those from the following year. To no one’s surprise, the delicate 1914 trading cards and their close proximity with syrupy Cracker Jack exacted a condition toll - stains and darkening associated with the sugars as well as dents, dings and creases incurred while the piece bounced around unprotected within the container. Such facts of life force enthusiasts to forego exacting condition standards to collect them.

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