Skip the Blaster: Dave Bancroft 1925-27 W512 Strip Card
Blaster boxes are those delectable boxes of modern cards that collectors like to target at retailers. Usually $10, $20, or $30, collectors love these sorts of fixed-price buys when in the mood for a cheap rip. I’ve got nothing against modern cards but, well, there are better ways to spend your money if you’re into vintage stuff. What I want to do is point out some great pre-war buys in these articles that can be purchased for the price of a blaster box.
Dave Bancroft 1925-27 W512 Strip Card
The 1925-27 W512 strip card set is a 50-card, multi-sport issue. It includes all sorts of athletes and even some actors and actresses. But the highlight, without a doubt, are the ten baseball cards found in it.
The set is a fairly popular one. Not only does it include some big names in it, but it’s also relatively common. It is among the easier strip card types to find, though, calling it inexpensive is a bit of a stretch because there are two somewhat pricey cards in it.
Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb lead the way with their cards costing several hundred dollars, even in bad condition. Ruth’s card, in particular, often tops $1,000 these days. But while the baseball cards in the set have been on the rise, one bargain is found in a card of Dave Bancroft.
Bancroft’s cards are often affordable. He’s also a popular target of collectors as he is a Baseball Hall of Famer. Bancroft’s offensive numbers won’t wow you (2,004 hits, .279 career batting average, 32 home runs, and 591 RBI). But he was a defensive standout, finishing first in Defensive WAR three consecutive seasons from 1920-22 while ranking in the top five eight times.
The card has, comparatively speaking, a decent picture of Bancroft, I suppose. It’s got a nice burgundy background that can really pop on some examples with good ink levels. And besides the fact that Bancroft is a Hall of Famer, another great thing to love about it is that it’s the first card in the set. No. 1 cards often sell for a little bit of a premium and even despite that, it’s a very affordable card.
On a condition note, it is important to point out that, as No. 1 in the set, Bancroft’s card was positioned in the upper left corner of the uncut sheets for this set (cards were printed off in 25-card sheets with five rows and five columns of five-cards). Sheets sometimes had the corner cards damaged from general wear and tear over the years and finding these with heavy damage to the upper left corners is something you may encounter. It is worth noting, however, that I have not observed that damage very much.
Bancroft’s W512 strip card is certainly a little more valuable than it was even a couple of years ago. But that’s due in part to the explosion in card values we’re seeing these days. And even with that jump, it’s a card you can still find in decent shape starting at around $20-$25. For a Hall of Fame player and a card that is nearing 100 years old, that isn’t bad.