Friday, November 28, 2014

1926 W512 Strip Card Baseball #5, Glen (Glenn) Wright

I want to think Mr. Wright looks mean here. Someone threw a pitch at his head, called his puppy an insulting name, or said his nose looked like a handful of raspberries. (In this set, it does.)

On the field, Glenn's cannon arm earned him the awesome nickname "Buckshot." You picture someone like that as all glove and no bat, but Wright regularly cleared .300, first for Pittsburgh and later in Brooklyn. Like Joe Sewell, another top 1920s shortstop, he rarely struck out. SABR wrote a nice profile for Glenn, starting with his unassisted triple play in 1925.

Buckshot earned a minor level of support for the Hall of Fame in the 50s, though eventually dropped off the ballot, probably for lack of overall production. Of all things, a 1929 handball accident ruined his throwing arm and cut his fielding ability from great to average. It's not on the level of some bizarre player injuries, but it's not something you'd expect from a baseballer today.

1926 W512 #6-10 uncut strip

What you see on the card is what you get with the W512s: hand-drawn players, paper strips sold from machines, and fruit-like facial features. The set does have a distinct advantage over others from the 1920s. Its total baseball checklist is ten (10) cards, with names like Cobb, Ruth, Hornsby, and Alexander. If you want to finish an early set full of "legends" for smaller money, this is the one for you. You can even expand into the multi-sport sections, should two handfuls of cards prove unsatisfying.

1926 W512 uncut "left" sheet

This "lefthand" sheet shows Glenn at one top corner and the "righthand" sheet completes the set of 50. You might recognize Hollywood actors, aviators, and other athletes following the initial 10 baseball players.

1926 W512 uncut "right" sheet

Speaking of things that derailed a career, former Boston and Seattle shortstop Rey Quinones had my favorite reason not to play every day: he was too good.

Value: Low-grade W512 singles cost a few dollars, unless they're one of the big baseball stars or a notable name like Charlie Chaplin or Charles Lindbergh.

Fakes / reprints: It'd be easy to fake these, thanks to the crude art and paper stock. Be wary of buying Ruth, Cobb, and other stars without confidence in the dealer.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

1920 W516 and W529 Boxing #5, Lou (Lew) Tendler

Despite the low-grade condition of most strip cards, a repeated appearance of Babe Ruth in the #5 slot made those type acquisitions more costly than most.

1920 W519 #5 (correct image)
1921 W521 #5 (image reversed)

With those big hitters out of the way, you can imagine I'm happy to find lower-cost sluggers like slim Mr. Tendler, even if it means stepping off the diamond and into the ring.

1920 W529 #5, "Lou" (Lew) Tendler

Quickly-issued (some might say slapdash) strip card sets like W516 generated several variations and I compared some Ty Cobbs and Tris Speakers several years ago in the post 1920 W516-1-1 & W516-2-1.

The variations continued for their boxers, as W516s are just flipped versions of my W529.

1920 W516 Boxers (uncut strip, #5 Tendler at center)

The properly-named Lew Tendler received enshrinement in several sports Hall of Fames and boxing experts have called him "one of the best boxers to never have won a world title."

UPDATE: In a Net54 post on W516 variations, the well-named boxingcardman identified six designs collectors can find in this W516/W529 set.

Type 1: IFC symbol correct, numbered starting at 1, handwritten legend
Type 2: IFC symbol reversed (i.e., image flipped), numbered same as Type 1, handwritten legend
Type 3: IFC symbol reversed, numbers reversed (i.e, card #1 is now card #10), handwritten legend
Type 4: IFC Symbol correct, numbered starting at 50, typeset legend
Type 5: IFC symbol reversed, numbering same, typset legend
Type 6: IFC Symbol reversed, numbering reversed, typset legend

There are also a ton of color variations, shading variations, etc. It is by far the most complex set of boxing strips and I have no reason to believe that the baseball cards aren't just as confusing and complex.

It's like Pokemon!

Value: Mr. Tendler cost me just $2 at a 2014 card show, a fair sight better than $100+ for Babe Ruth!

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace, but they'd be cheap to fake, so know your dealer when purchasing any big names.