1923 W515 Strip Card Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title W515 Strip
Year 1923
Size 1 3/8″ x 2 1/4″
Images Color
Type Strip
Number in Set
70 (60 baseball and 10 boxing)

W515 Strip Overview

W515 Strip BoxingW515 Strip Babe RuthTwo separate sets make up the W515 strip card series. Both have a similar look and design with colored pictures on the fronts and blank backs. A total of 70 cards are in the set if you consider the baseball and boxing issue as one (60 baseball and 10 boxing). Adding to the difficulty in completing an entire set is that there two Babe Ruth cards in the issue.

The bottom borders of the baseball cards included the player’s name, team, and position. Boxing has a name and weight class as well as their standing in the boxing world as a champion or challenger.

Both of the types utilize the same checklist. The smaller, ‘standard’ cards are categorized as W515-1. The second of the two sets (W515-2) is slightly larger than its counterpart. These cards often have parts of the phrase “The Little Wonder Picture Series” printed at the top. Both appear to be available in about the same quantities, although sometimes collectors will pay a little more for the Little Wonder Picture Series cards as they are a bit unique.

In addition, there are a few other differences between W515-1 and W515-2 as covered in depth here. But in short, the smaller W515-1 cards have cropped images and the placement of the copyright is also found in different places.

Most strip cards, by design, are not very attractive. The W515 set, though, tests the limits by fans and is one of the least artful issues among W-Cards. Images used in the set were taken from Underwood & Underwood wire photos. That is represented by the small U&U print found on the cards.

While the boxing cards have the same look as the W515 baseball cards, they are technically from a different set as they are numbered 1-10. Uncut strips are believed to have included ten cards on each one. While you will see some uncut cards today, it is rare to find full strips featuring ten cards.

Like other strip issues, these are fragile cards. That is because they were printed on a low-quality paper stock. These are easily torn or damaged as a result.

Oh, Brother

Bob and Irish Meusel W515.jpgSome of the more notable cards in the series are cards depicting brothers.

One card, shown here, features the Meusel brothers, Bob and Irish. At the time, Bob was playing with the New York Yankees while Irish was with the crosstown New York Giants team.

Interestingly, the card only calls them the Meusel Brothers and while their teams are referenced, their first names do not appear on the card.

The other card featuring brothers is one of Jesse and Virgil Barnes. Both brothers were actually teammates on the card as they played for the New York Giants. While Jesse started the 1923 season in New York, though, he was traded to the Boston Braves in the middle of the year.

Both cards are unique in that they are the only horizontal cards in the set.

Variations

W515 Jersey Ice Cream

1923 W515 Fleer Back

prewarcards-w515-little-wonder-series-strip-card-willie-kamm

While the standard cards are the most common, three variations of the cards are known today.

The most common of the variations are the Little Wonder Series cards. These are found with the name ‘Little Wonder Picture Series’ printed on the borders on the fronts. The name appeared to be on the exterior of the uncut sheets as the full name does not appear on the cards. It is possible that the entire set was to be called the Little Wonder Picture Series and these are merely cards at the top of the sheet. Cards are found with only a part of the phrase as it stretched across several cards. The Little Wonder variation appears to only be found as the slightly larger W515-2 cards.

A rarer variation and the one that is the most intriguing are the W515 cards that are actually Fleer’s first baseball cards.

The Fleer Company that grew to prominence in the 1980s got its early start way back in 1923. Fleer used the same cards as the W515 issue, only placing an ad for their company on the back to distinguish them. Fleer actually holds the distinction of producing earlier baseball cards than famous companies Topps, Goudey, and Bowman, as a result.

Finally, a third back is known on the cards as an advertisement for Jersey Ice Cream. Those backs, as shown, include a mention of receiving five free cards with a brick of Jersey’s Ice Cream product. These are the rarest of the variations and not many are likely to exist. The most notable one seen to date is an Eddie Collins version that was sold in a 2015 Heritage auction for nearly $500.

The Fleer and Jersey’s Ice Cream cards are considered more valuable than the regular cards.

W515 Strip Checklist

Baseball

  1. Bill Cunningham
  2. Al Mamaux
  3. Babe Ruth
  4. Dave Bancroft
  5. Ed Rommell
  6. Babe Adams
  7. Clarence Walker
  8. Waite Hoyt
  9. Bob Shawkey
  10. Ty Cobb
  11. George Sisler
  12. Jack Bentley
  13. Jim O’Connell
  14. Frankie Frisch
  15. Frank Baker
  16. Burleigh Grimes
  17. Wally Schang
  18. Harry Heilmann
  19. Aaron Ward
  20. Carl Mays
  21. Bob/Irish Meusel
  22. Art Nehf
  23. Lee Meadows
  24. Casey Stengel
  25. Jack Scott
  26. Kenneth Williams
  27. Joe Bush
  28. Tris Speaker
  29. Ross Youngs
  30. Joe Dugan
  31. Barnes Brothers
  32. George Kelly
  33. Hugh McQuillan
  34. Hughie Jennings
  35. Tom Griffith
  36. Miller Huggings
  37. Whitey Witt
  38. Walter Johnson
  39. Wally Pipp
  40. Dutch Reuther
  41. Jim Johnston
  42. Willie Kamm
  43. Sam Jones
  44. Frank Snyder
  45. John McGraw
  46. Everett Scott
  47. Babe Ruth
  48. Urban Shocker
  49. Grover Alexander
  50. Rabbit Maranville
  51. Ray Schalk
  52. Heinie Groh
  53. Wilbert Robinson
  54. George Burns
  55. Rogers Hornsby
  56. Zack Wheat
  57. Edd Roush
  58. Eddie Collins
  59. Charlie Hollocher
  60. Red Faber

Boxing

  1. Jack Dempsey
  2. Battling Siki
  3. Harry Wills
  4. Georges Carpentier
  5. Floyd Johnson
  6. Lew Tendler
  7. Luis Firpo
  8. Benny Leonard
  9. Tommy Gibbons
  10. Harry Greb

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