Strip cards were generally given with purchases or sold by retailers. Hence the name, they mostly came in a long strip where merchants could cut or rip off a certain amount for customers. For this reason, strip cards often have uneven or rough edges.
The hand-cut nature of the cards has given grading companies fits over the years. Some graded strip cards are all deemed as ‘Authentic’ grade since they were hand-cut instead of being factory cut, regardless of what the actual card may look like. Others have been graded based on the rest of their appearance and have earned numerical grades.
Putting it politely, strip cards have a mostly poor reputation in the trading card industry. Unlike some of the artwork in other pre-war sets, the depictions in strip card sets are often poor and without any real quality. Early strip cards used colored drawings while later ones, like other cards, went to real black and white images once that became more widely used. Some, too, also had a gaggle of printing gaffes. Strip cards, in general, just were not done all that well.
One of the pros in the strip card category, however, is that since sets were relatively scarce at the time these were printed, often they include players that may have only a few cards from their playing days. In addition, it is generally much cheaper to buy strip cards of stars than it is other issues such as tobacco and candy cards.
Also in this categorization are Exhibit cards. Exhibit cards are much different from strip issues and were usually sold in arcade machines. However, they were classified by Jefferson Burdick in the American Card Catalog as W-Cards and are presented here as well. Here’s a closer look into the world of Exhibits.
1925-27 W512 Strip Cards
1921 W551 Strip Cards
1925-31 W590 Strip Cards