Vintage Sports Report

There are numerous strip card sets and our look back at them continues with three more examples of sets from early in the 1900s.

Hello again sports fans. Well, every time we think we've seen the last of the Phillies, they bounce back. This time with a double-header sweep. It will be interesting to see how it will all play out.

I This week, we'll be continuing the series on the w-series strip cards. There are many of them and they're all pretty close in size, shape and colors, making it difficult to define what years they were issued.

Next up in the series is 1928 W513, one of the many strip cards known to be issued in 1928, it was actually a continuation of the W512 set, issued two years earlier. In fact, the numbering starts at number 61, where W512 left off. The blank backed cards measure 1 3/8 x 2 ¼ inches and display color drawings of the athletes, which includes 14 boxers and 26 baseball players. The cards are numbered in the lower left corner and unfortunately for Phillies fans, there are no Philadelphia players in the set.

Next in the series are the 1926-1927, W512. One of the many strip card sets in the period, the 512 set was originally issued in 1926 and includes ten baseball players among it's 15 cards. Also featured are boxers, golfers, tennis players, aviators, movie stars and other celebrities. The 1 3/8 x 2 1/4 inch cards feature crude color drawings of the subjects with their names below. A card number appears in the lower left corner. Baseball players lead off the set and are numbered 1-10. Like most strip cards, they have blank backs. At least four of the baseball players have been found in a second type in which a team name is presented in a typewriter front on the second line. These changes reflect a players status as of 1927. There are no Phillies in this set either, but the set does include Babe Ruth (valued at $390), Ty Cobb ($350) and Grover Cleveland Alexander ($100).

Next up will be the 1919-1921 W514. Consisting of 120 cards, the W514 set is the largest strip card set of that era. It is also one of the earliest and widely collected. The 1 3/8 x 2 ½ inch cards feature color drawing of the players and display the card number in the lower left corner. The players name, position and team appear in the bottom border of the blank backed cards. The set holds special interest for baseball historians because it includes seven of the eight Chicago "black socks" who were banned from baseball for their alleged role in throwing the 1919 world series. The most famous of them, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson makes his only strip card appearance in this set. At the time the cards were published, the Phillies were known as the Quakers. The set includes Quakers players "Cactus" Cravath ($50), Dave Bancroft ($150), "Possum" Whitted ($50) and Casey Stengel ($150). The highest cards in the set include Joe Jackson ($4,250), Babe Ruth ($1,750) and Swede Risberg ($1,600).

Finally, we take a look at the 1923 W515-1. Cards in this 60 card strip set measure about 1 3/8 x 2 ¼ inches and feature color drawings with blank backs. The card number, along with the players name, position and team appear in the bottom border. Most cards also display a U&U copyright line indicating that the photos on which the drawings were based were provided by Underwood and Underwood, a major news photo service of the day. The set has a heavy emphasis on New York players, with 39 of the 60 cards depicting players of the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants. Babe Ruth appears on two cards and two other cards picture two players each. There is only one Phillie, Lee Meadows ($40) in the set. The highest valued card in the set is Babe Ruth ($1,200).

Until next time, as always, you can send any questions about this article or any suggestions for future articles, by e-mail. I can be reached at

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