The San Antonio Strip Card Collection

Featuring Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson
  • July 05, 2019


San Antonio Strip Card CollectionHow Would You Spend Your Allowance?

What did you collect when you were a kid? Would you have fired off a couple dollars of your hard earned allowance in the mail for a stack of 40 year old cards? Well, we have a collector that contacted us about a collection that he purchased through the mail when he was a youngster growing up in San Antonio, Texas in the 1960s and he did exactly that.


While it may not seem like much to collectors today, as an 11 year old, it took some serious faith to send off a couple of dollars for batch of 1923 W515-1 and W515-2 strip cards. There was PayPal or Venmo to facilitate such transactions. Convincing a parent to write a check to send to some unknown person in a state far away was usually a difficult task. In fact, many early mail-order card and coin dealers would accept only cash and sometimes postage stamps as a form of payment.


Just Collect Has Had Great Luck and Success with Strip Card Collections

Strip cards have provided Just Collect with some fabulous stories and history over the last decade. From the Hole in the Wall to the How the Babe Saved Christmas or the 17 Pound Collection there are quite a few unique collections that have found their way to our office.

We've had people contact us with all sorts of strip cards, including boxing cards and actor/actress cards in individual cards, larger groups and some uncut strips, panels and sheets.  And we're always looking for more!


The W515 Strip Card Set consists of two different issues, W515-1 and W515-2.  Both sets were issued in 1923 and total 60 cards in each issue. Each card depicts a colorful drawing of a player taken from an Underwood & Underwood wire photograph.   The copyright symbol and "U & U" can be found in varying locations on the card. The image is centered near the top of the card while the card number, player's name, position, team and league are printed across the bottom. There are two cards featuring Babe Ruth (#3 & #47). The 1923 W515-2 set is often referred to as the "Little Wonder Picture Series" as the text is found at the top of the strip for the first 10 cards in the set.

Like many other strip card issues, the W515 uncut panels contain rows that also feature actors/actresses, U.S. Presidents, western heroes and boxers among other subjects.

The two series vary slightly in size.  The W515-1 set cards measure approximately 1-3/8" by 2-1/4" and were presented in a collection of 6 strips bearing 10 cards per strip. The W515-2 set cards measure approximately 1-1/2" x 2-1/2" and were originally presented in a collection of 6 or 12 strips bearing 10 or 5 cards per strip. Cards 1-10 can be found with portions of the words "Little Wonder" in the upper border.


The Collection and a Dealer in Colorado

Our collector was about 11 years old when he sent away for these cards. He paid less than $5.00 for the lot of 40 cards. The cards were sent stuck between a thin cardboard sandwich within a small envelope with two 5 cent stamps and a letter dated Feb. 23, 1065, where the seller writes to our collector:

"Good to hear from you. Enclosed are 40 – 1920 to 1930 Strip cards. Thanks for the order.

I have 81 more of these Strip cards which I will sell for $7.50. This includes some dupes. You can pay in a couple of installments if you don't have the cash.

What other cards do you need?"


Who might've been in the other lot? We'll never know as our collector couldn't pony up the $7.50 for them. Not an unusual situation for a young kid in the 1960s. There was only so much allowance money you could earn.  


The collection had some serious names in it, too.  And who were some of the key cards in this 40 card collection?  Well, there was this guy named Babe Ruth.  Also, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker and Casey Stengel were included.  Several other Hall of Famers were found, including Frank Baker, George Kelly, Dave Bancroft and a few others.

1923 W515-1 #3 Babe Ruth
1923 W515-1 Ty Cobb 1923 W515-1 Walter Johnson
1923 W515-1 Casey Stengel 1923 W515-1 Frank Baker


Spending the Proceeds

And what were the funds from these cards going to be used for? The collector mentioned that he had his eye on some new golf clubs and that he was going to use the money to buy a new set of irons for his golf game.  We're certainly happy to help him recoup a healthy return on his couple of dollar investment.  We hope the he hits them straight and stays out of the bunkers!


Schedule an Appointment to Meet Just Collect at a Show Near You

Just Collect travels to several shows on a regular basis. In the New York area, we often attend the White Plains Show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. If you're in the New England area, you can make an appointment to meet with one of our specialists when we're in the area for the Shriner's Show at the Aleppo Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. We also visit the Metro-DC area when we attend the CSA Show in Chantilly, VA. If you're in the South Jersey or Delaware area, you can also schedule appointments while we're in the Philadelphia area when we do The Philly Show in Valley Forge, PA.

We set up at The National Sports Collectors Convention every year and this year, it will be at the Stephens Convention Center in the Rosemont section of Chicago, IL and it has also been in Cleveland, Atlantic City and Baltimore in recent years. Additionally, we travel to the Sports Card and Memorabilia Expo in Mississauga, Ontario for those of you in the Toronto area that want to meet with us in Canada.

We would love to meet with you and schedule a private appointment to assess and value your collection while we are in your area, so please check out our show and travel schedule to see when Just Collect will be in your area!


Our Buying Philosophy

We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the past decade. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage basketball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, also!

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and soul into building their collection. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.


Won't They Be Worth More if I Grade Them Myself

We discuss all of the selling options with everyone that we meet with. In most cases, selling the collection on their own will put the most money on the bottom line, but it will also take an large commitment of time and energy and one that most are not ready or able to undertake. Another misconception is that grading the collection will return more money. When I hear people say, "You're just going to grade them and get ten times the money," I almost cringe. Grading a collection can be a money losing proposition, especially if you don't know what you're doing. And most times, we grade very few, if any cards, from average collections that we buy.

We value a collection based upon the condition and the value. If a card is worth $100 in a PSA 7 NM, we're going to value it at $100 whether it is ungraded or graded. You can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars grading your cards, but we're still valuing them the same and paying the same regardless of how much you've invested in grading them.


We Are Always Buying

Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss your collection and get our industry leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace.

Don't hesitate to check out our Google Reviews left by many of the great people that have considered selling collections to Just Collect.


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