Vintage Sports Report

The W series is a classic series of strip cards from the 1920s. Our series looking back at these gems continues with more featured sets.

It's time to continue with our series featuring the W-Series strip cards.

First, the 1920 W519 - numbered set one. The cards in this 20 card strip set measure 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 and feature player drawings against a brightly colored background. A card number appears in the lower left corner followed by the player's name in capital letters. The player drawings are all posed portraits, except for Joe Murphy and Ernie Kreuger, who are shown catching. Like all strip cards, the cards were sold in strips and are blank backed. The date of issue is approximate and the only Phillie in the set is Gabby Cravath and is valued at $50.

Our next set to look at is the 1920 W519 - numbered set two. This is a second type of numbered version of the W519 in which the style of the card numbers differs as does the numbering of the players. The type two cards have the number in a lighter typewriter-style font. While only two cards are currently confirmed to exist in type two, it is expected the other 18 players from W519 were also issued.

The 1920 W519 – Unnumbered set had ten cards identical in design and size as the numbered set except the player drawings are all set against a blue background and the cards are not numbered. With the exception of Eddie Ciotte, all of the subjects in the unnumbered set also appear in the numbered set. Gabby Cravath is the only Phillie, valued at $50.

Next is 1920 W520. Another strip card set issued circa 1920. Cards in this set measure 1 3/8 x 2 1/4 and are numbered in the lower right corner. The first nine cards in the set display portrait poses while the rest are full length action poses. Some of the poses in the set are the same as those in the W516 issue, only with the pictures reversed. Players last name appear in the border beneath the picture and the cards are blank backed. Phillies in the set include Dave Bankroft ($150) and Art Fletcher ($50).

The 1921 W521 set is closely related to the W519 numbered set. In fact, it uses the same drawings as that set with the pictures reversed, resulting in a mirror image of the W519 cards. The player poses and numbering system are identical as are the various background colors. The W512 cards are blank backed are were sold in strips. There were no Phillies printed in this set.

Next, we'll go back to 1920 for the W522. The 20 cards in this strip card set, issued circa 1920 are numbered from 31-50 and use the same players and drawings as the W520 set and were issued about the same time. The cards measure 1 3/8 x 2 1/4 and are numbered in the lower left corner followed by the players name. The cards have blank backs. The Phillies in this set include Art Fletcher ($50) and Dave Bankroft ($150).

The 1921 W551 is another strip set issued circa 1920. These 10 cards measure 1 3/8 x 2 1/4 and feature color drawings. The cards are unnumbered and blank backed. The Phillies in this set are Dave Bankroft ($120) and Casey Stengel ($120).

The next set is the 1929 W553. This is one of the more obscure strip card sets, and one of the last of its genre. This issue also is one of the most attractive. Player photos, the same pictures used in the contemporary Kashin Publlications box set were used for the W553 set. An anonymous W554 strip card set was printed in either black on white or as duo tones of blue, green and magenta – at least those are the colors that have been discovered thus far - with an ornate frame. Cards measure 1 3/4 x 2 3/4, there is a facsimile autograph on the front and the players team and league are also spelled out. Backs are blank. Some cards have not surfaced as of yet. The only Phillie in this set is Lefty O'Doul ($150).

The next set is the 1930 W554. The unidentified set of black and white cards features most of the eras stars in action poses. A facsimile autograph appears on the front of each of the blank back of the 5 x 7 pictures. Player names and sometimes teams are spelled out in all capital letters in the bottom white border, with the players' position in upper and lower case between. The unnumbered pictures are check listed in alphabetical order. A version of the issue has been seen with advertising for "big prize" on the back printed in red. Phillies in this set are Chuck Klein ($100) and Frank "Lefty" O'Doul ($75).

Next week, we'll wrap up the W series.

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