Vintage Sports Report

Strip cards are an unusual sort of collectible. Many times, they're not cataloged very well and the measurements of the cards are left to the abilities of the people who cut them. This week, we start a look at strip cards and their values.

How about them Phils? They brought talent in from Seattle in Jamie Moyer and Jose Hernandez from Pittsburgh; who's next? How will this all shake out for next year's team? Adding pieces to a puzzle for a stretch run, then subtracting when it's over and building again. Who will be the September call-ups? Will Gavin Floyd reappear? Will Carlos Ruiz get a real shot? Will Scott Mathieson, Giovany Gonzalez, Zack Segovia or J.A. Happ get a call? Lots of questions and too few answers. Now, onto the article.

I will be doing a multiple part series on the W-series of cut cards, or strip cards. There are multiple series, variations and years. Usually inexpensive from $15 to the $30.00 range and very affordable to put together sets or just get your favorite teams.

The first two series we'll focus on are the oldest, rarest and of course, most expensive of all the strip cards.

The 1910 W-UNC strip cards were produced considerably earlier than most known strip cards. These pieces were cut from notebook covers and the known players point to a 1910 issue date. Crudely printed on flimsy stock, the cards feature familiar colorized portraits of players on brightly colored backgrounds on a 1 3/8" x 2 3/8" card, with some showing evidence of a 1/16" yellow strip around the outside of the black border. Player names and cities are printed in the white border at the bottom and as with most strip cards, the backs are blank and the unnumbered cards have been catalogued but may not be complete. As with most older unnumbered sets, additions are made once they surface. The known Phillies in the set are Sherry Magee ($250 value) and Johnnie Kling ($250). It's a 26 card set with Ty Cobb being the highest valued card at $1200.

The next set is the 1915 W-UNC strip cards utilizing many photos familiar to collectors from contemporary card sets, including pictures that were several years old at the time of issue. This appears to be a strip card issue whose scarcity has caused it to elude cataloging efforts. Cards are printed in black and white with a blank back and are normally 1 ¾" x 2 ¾". The player or photo identification appears in the bottom border or on the right side of the card on the horizontally formatted cards. The only Phillies player to surface so far has been Sherry Magee ($250 value). At this writing, there are 15 cards to surface with Joe Jackson being the highest valued card at $4500.

One thing about strip cards, the measurement will be close but never perfect since they have been cut out, which leads to human error. Having bought and sold many of them, I have found that some look good while others were obviously cut by someone who was suffering from a hangover, with shaky hands. They are fun to search for and collect, and they do keep their value. As with anything old, the older it gets, the more valuable it gets.

As with all articles, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me at Also, if you get a chance, stop by our eBay site and look at what we have listed. You may find something interesting.

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