Two Rare 1909 Croft’s Red Back Cards Sell for Over $3,000 Each in Hake’s Sale
Posted on 2/2/2023
Two very rare 1909 E92 Croft’s Candy Red Back baseball cards authenticated and graded by Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®) recently sold for thousands of dollars apiece. They were offered in Hake’s Auctions’ Session I January 2023 Sports sale on January 16, 2023.
The top lot among over 200 CSG-certified cards was a 1909 E92 Croft’s Candy Harry Bemis Red Back graded CSG 1 that realized $3,569. Nicknamed “Handsome Harry,” Bemis had a professional career that lasted nine seasons, all with the Cleveland Naps (which today are the Guardians).
He played as Cleveland’s primary catcher for the rest of the decade after making his pro debut in 1902. He led all American League catchers in assists and caught stealings his rookie season, plus had a career-high .312 batting average. Bemis is also well-known for an in-game skirmish with MLB legend Ty Cobb after a rough play at home plate during a game in 1907.
Another card from the 1909 E92 series sold for a similar price in the Hake’s sale. A 1909 E92 Croft’s Candy Art Devlin Red Back graded CSG 2 realized $3,374.
Devlin played 10 seasons of Major League Baseball, mostly with the New York Giants. During his time in New York, he mainly started at third base before getting traded to the Boston Braves in 1911, where Devlin served as a backup his last two seasons in the league. The third baseman led the National League in stolen bases in 1905 and helped the Giants win the World Series that same season.
The 1909 E92 set is made up of four different releases of 1.5” x 2.75” baseball cards. They include releases promoting Croft’s Candy, Croft’s Cocoa, Dockman and Sons, and Nadja Caramels. The Croft’s Candy set contains 50 different MLB players featured on the front of the cards. The back of all 50 cards has the same company advertisement.
The Croft’s Candy release also included three backgrounds: Black, Blue and Red. The Black Back is the most common, so the Blue and Red cards command a premium in today’s market. In fact, the Red Backs are the toughest to find and are considered the rarest of the bunch. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Bemis and Devlin cards each garnered almost 30 bids as collectors vied for the opportunity to own one of these scarce pre-War baseball cards.
Other CSG-graded highlights in the auction included:
- a 1909-11 T206 Walter Johnson (Hands at Chest) graded CSG AU that realized $720
- a 1951 Bowman #1 Whitey Ford graded CSG 1.5 that realized $551
- a 1958 Topps #487 Mickey Mantle ('58 All Star) graded CSG 6.5 that realized $486
- a 1959 Topps #564 Mickey Mantle ('59 All Star) graded CSG 6 that realized $410
- a 1966 Topps #50 Mickey Mantle graded CSG 5.5 that realized $402
Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free CGC eNewsletter today!