Did Jefferson Burdick Really Call Exhibits ‘Strip Cards?’ Nope.
We typically view W-Cards as those that are strip cards. Strip cards, if you’re unfamiliar with them, are typically cards that were printed in uncut strips or sheets and then hand cut or even torn by merchants giving/selling them to customers.
But what many don’t realize is that other cards also have a W-Card designation in Jefferson Burdick’s American Card Catalog. And most of those cards were clearly not hand cut and don’t match the traditional strip card designation at all.
In particular, Exhibit cards and some card that were distributed directly by teams are lumped in with W-Cards. That’s led collectors to wonder why they were thrown there instead of under some other categorization. Some have even erroneously defined things like Exhibits as a form of strip card. And the reason for that is because, some collectors don’t really have a great understanding of the W-Card definition.
W-Cards are not just strip cards. In fact, if we’re being technical about it, Burdick calls W-Cards ‘Recent Album Cards’ in his book. In particularly, he actually called strip cards ‘cards made primarily for collectors’ albums or boxes.’
When kicking the W-Card section off, it wasn’t even those cards that he started with. Burdick began with Exhibit cards, providing a lengthy description of them before listing sets. To him, seemingly, Exhibits were really the highlight of the W-Card definition. He then begins the W-Card section by listing Exhibits from W401 through W470, including not only the popular baseball Exhibit cards that we know, but others, including Exhibits for boxers, football players, wrestlers, and a slew of non-sports sets, including those for actors and actresses.
Many collectors tend to count only the strip cards as W-Cards but they were but one small subcategory. W-Cards included all of the following:
- Exhibit Series
- Trading or Strip Cards
- General Issues (including cabinets, photos, an other pictures of assorted sizes)
- Baseball, Football, Sports Club Issues (team-issued cards)
Strip cards are certainly W-Cards but the W-Card label goes far beyond that, too.