Unchecklisted Error of Abe Goldstein Found in the W512 Strip Card Set
The boxing champion has a newly-discovered error in the popular strip card set
The W512 strip card set has all kinds of variations. And while I’ve mentioned a previously undiscovered error briefly regarding boxer Abe Goldstein, I realized I never wrote a full article on it, which I wanted to do here.
The W512 set features 50 cards of athletes and movie stars. Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb are the highlights but it includes a lot more with athletes from boxing, golf, tennis and more.
It has variations in it because it reflected changes to the personalities over a period of three years when the cards were printed (1925-27). Some of the baseball players, for example, switched teams. So these cards printed their new teams on cards (using the same pictures) as the players moved around to different franchises. Some of the other athletes in individual sports earned or lost championships during the printing of these cards and the variations reflected that, too. In all, there 14 variations in the set.
Goldstein is one of those athletes that has a variation to reflect a lost championship. He won the Bantamweight championship either in 1923 or 1924. He appeared to win it in 1923 but accounts vary as to if that fight was for the title or was a non-title bout. But in 1924, he defeated the rightful holder of the belt, Joe Lynch, and was viewed as the definitive champion by that point. Goldstein’s earliest cards have that title mentioned on the front.
But unfortunately, he didn’t hold the belt for long. Later that year, Goldstein dropped the title to Eddie Martin. And as a result, Goldstein also has cards calling him the ‘Ex-Bantamweight Champ.’ He never recovered the title and actually went on to lose most of his matches after that point.
So if Goldstein lost the belt in 1924 before these cards are believed to have been printed, why would he have any that mentioned him as champion? Well, that loss didn’t happen until the end of 1924 in December so it makes sense that cards were printed late in 1924 and then had to be changed. Thus, that explains why he has more cards with the ‘ex-champ’ type.
The Goldstein Error
While Goldstein has these two aforementioned variations, what I discovered a while back was that Goldstein actually has a third card. This one actually falls more along the lines of an error instead of a variation.
I actually stumbled upon the error in 2017 when I was relatively new to collecting this issue. Unlike others that I’ve found that have come through a lot of digging, some, like this one, are found by nothing more than pure dumb luck.
The error isn’t the variances in colors. As I covered here, those are quite common in strip cards — particularly in the W512 set. The error is that Goldstein’s card number is missing on some cards. ‘Some’ appears to be a loose term as, to date, I have only seen it missing from two cards through informal research of scanning examples online.
As you can see here, the card on the left has his No. 49 printed on it. But the card on the right (the error) does not.
To my knowledge, the error only occurs on Goldstein’s Bantamweight Champ card — not the ones that call him an ex-champ. It could possibly be found on that one but to date, I have not seen one with it yet.
In terms of why some have the missing number, I’ve got mostly nothing. But I can’t help but keep considering the date that Goldstein lost the title in December 1924. The earliest cards were surely distributed not much later as he has the aforementioned cards still calling him champion. Is it possible that some had the number removed as the printer prepared to add the ‘Ex’ on his card, signifying he was no longer champ with some mistakenly being printed?
The fact remains that no strong theory is known as to why some of his cards don’t have the number on them. But given that I am not aware of any others in the set missing numbers (more on that in a sec), I’m wondering if the change in text that had to be made on his updated card had anything to do with it.
Others Missing Numbers?
As mentioned, I’m not aware of other cards in the set missing numbers. However, I will certainly concede that is beyond possible.
After all, these cards were printed in uncut sheets of 25 (five rows of five cards), so missing the number on only one card on the entire sheet seems kind of difficult to do. It’s even possible a few sheets of cards missing numbers were printed before they printer realized they wanted to add them.
A final very important note to keep in mind is that other cards often can appear to be missing numbers. But those are often badly cut examples with much of the left border missing where the number would have been. Even some with an adequate border area can be deceptive.
Look at this example of baseball player Dave Bancroft, for example. Bancroft’s card is the first in the set and clearly includes his No. 1 designation. But look how far it is to the left. If the card were cut a little differently, no number would be present. And it could even be cut in such a way that a border on the left would still be present.
If other cards with missing numbers are found or purportedly found, collectors should make sure that enough of the border is shown to the left to make it clear that it wasn’t simply cut badly and that the number is truly missing.