W529 Strip Cards Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title W529 Strip
Year 1920s
Size 1 3/8″ x 2 1/2″ (but varies by cut)
Images Color
Type Strip
Number in Set
Varies by Subset

W529 Jack Dempsey Boxing.jpg

W529 Strip Card Overview

In all, there are ten different boxers in this set as well as a total of six baseball players.  But the entire series includes many more than 16 cards because it is made of numerous variations.

Jefferson Burdick identified the W529 set in his American Card Catalog but didn’t provide many more details other than to say it was a small card set with some reversed image variations.

Most of the cards in this series are similar to the W516 baseball strip cards. There are at several different variations of those and there are numerous variations of the boxing cards as well. As outlined in this Net54 post, there are many different sub series’ of this set, similar to the W516 strip cards. The variations include images being reversed, card numbers being reversed, and color/font variations.

Jack Dempsey Big Head W529 Strip Card.jpg

Big Heads Strip Card Separation

It should also be noted that, in later years, a separate Big Heads boxing card version closely tied with the W529 checklist is often cataloged as a W529 subset. However, I have kept those cards separate from this page and mentioned them instead on the Big Heads strip card page with the baseball cards.

The reason for that is pretty simple – the card layout is better aligned with those cards and, as a result, I believe they belong together there. While it makes sense to classify them as W529 given the checklist and pictures, until the baseball cards are fully recognized as a W529 set, I believe a mention of them should belong with those instead as the layout is identical.

If you’re looking for these cards on this page, you’ll find them over there. If searching for the cards out in the hobby, your best bet to find them will be to use the W529 name.

W529-8 and Baseball

What is called the eighth subset under this classification are cards with a unique look. This one is generally the one that draws the most interest as it includes baseball cards. This grouping includes a total of 12 cards – six baseball players and six boxers. They were initially printed in 12-card uncut sheets as seen below.

W529 Rogers Hornsby Strip Card.jpg

w529-8-uncut-sheet-e1530928269343.jpg

There are two types of these cards. One set utilizes only yellow, orange, and blue (left) while a second is a full color version (right). These have sometimes been called the IFS orange and blue series but have been labeled by the grading companies as W529-8 in recent years. Given that the baseball card images match those found in the W516 strip card set, they could just as easily be classified as a W516 issue instead.

One inclination may be to simply believe that ink shortages during the print run were at play. But as I’ll explain later, that is clearly not the case. We know that from minor differences in the uncut sheets.

Neither of the uncut sheets are easy to find and hand cut cards like those shown here are more commonly seen. The baseball cards are highly desirable, featuring Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander, and Rogers Hornsby.

This series, as indicated at the top of the sheet, is called the “Comb. (Combined) Baseball and Prize Fighters” set.

W529-8 Variation Theories

w529-8-uncut-sheet1.jpgW529-2 Full Color Uncut Sheet.jpgSome believe that the two types of W529-8 cards were intentional. However, I believe that the yellow/orange/blue cards may not have been intended for distribution for a few reasons.

First, these cards simply do not look like traditional cards. And while that can be said of many other cards as well, given there is a cleaner, full-color variation of those cards, I believe that was the way they were intended to be distributed (this full color sheet shown here was from a 2017 Heritage Auction). The other variation may simply have been a small run that was misprinted or still in production.

Also interesting to me is the title on these sheets. On the yellow/orange/blue version, you’ll notice the title is called ‘Comb. (likely for combined) Baseball and Prize Fighters.’ On the full color version, though, the ‘Comb.’ is dropped to a shorter, more succinct title. That is a more reasonable title for the set and the other version with the ‘Comb.’ looks like something you might find more on a test issue.

The biggest reason, however, that I believe one may have been a test issue can be found in the upper right corner of the sheets. In the full color sheet, you’ll notice that the Baseball & Prize Fighters name was trademarked. No such trademark exists on the yellow/orange/blue sheet. For that reason, I believe that was the ‘still in production’ version.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, we know that the yellow/orange/blue cards are clearly not just an ink variation caused by the printer’s ink levels being off. We know that from the trademark at the top of one and the different name. These were two different sheets because, while the cards were the same, the headers at the tops of the sheets were different.

W529 Strip Card Checklist

Leaving aside the Big Heads boxing strip cards, which I did not classify as W529 here, the ten boxers in the set are below. Keep in mind, the card numbers are different in the various subsets.

  1. Johnny Dundee
  2. George Carpentier
  3. Mike O’Dowd
  4. Joe Beckett
  5. Lou Tendler
  6. Fred Fulton
  7. Benny Leonard
  8. Jack Britton
  9. Jack Dempsey
  10. Johnny Kilbane

W529-8 utilizes a different checklist outlined below:

Baseball

  1. Grover Alexander
  2. George Burns
  3. Heinie Groh
  4. Rogers Hornsby (misspelled ‘Roger’)
  5. Walter Johnson
  6. Babe Ruth

Boxing

  1. Joe Beckett
  2. Jack Britton
  3. Johnny Dundee
  4. Johnny Kilbane
  5. Benny Leonard
  6. Lou Tendler

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