Graded EX 60 by SGC (submitted by REA). Highest-graded example recorded be either PSA or SGC! Ultra rare example of William McKinley from the R114 U.S. Caramel "Presidents" series, one of the great prizes of all nonsport-card rarities. To date, fewer than ten examples are confirmed to exist, making the McKinley one of the rarest nonsport cards ever issued. The offered example - the finest known! - is entirely new to the modern hobby, having been recently discovered in an old-time collection, along with additional cards from the R114 "Presidents" set and other period nonsport issues. (It is interesting to note that in 1992, The Sport Americana Price Guide to Non-Sport Cards noted that the McKinley card "has never been confirmed in any collection" at the time of publishing.)
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. Interestingly, the R114 U.S. Caramel "President" set is actually rarer than the popular R328 U.S. Caramel "Famous Athletes" series.
The offered McKinley card is a most miraculous surviving example in several ways: In addition to being one just a handful of known examples of this legendary rarity, this particular example is in outstanding high grade. Bright, crisp, and clean, the card is well centered with even wear to the four corners. The reverse is boldly printed and entirely clean. Almost all of the known examples are low grade: three cards grade POOR 10 by SGC, one card grades POOR 1 (qualified) by PSA, and two cards grade Authentic by PSA. A single PSA VG-EX 4 example is the only R114 McKinley card that has ever been graded which compares to this SGC EX 60 (both of these examples are uncancelled). The fact that this card is uncancelled also makes it special as almost all of the known surviving McKinley cards have a punch hole through the card along with a "Cancelled" stamp on the reverse, both of which were done by U.S. Caramel to identify cards that had already been redeemed for the valuable prize.
This is only the second McKinley card that we have ever had the privilege of offering. The first appeared as part of a complete set, offered as lot #1548 in REA's 2007 auction. Interestingly, that card was the plate specimen that years earlier was featured in Non-Sport Update Magazine to prove to the world that the card actually did, in fact, exist! We do not believe a finer example of this legendary rarity will ever surface, and it is an honor for REA to be able to present this extraordinary card and to document its existence within the pages of our catalog. This card offers what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a tremendous high-grade example of the legendary R114 "Presidents" William McKinley, one of nonsport-card collecting's most important rarities. SOLD FOR $96,000