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1922 W503 Strip Card Set

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Fast Facts

Year(s) Issued: 1922
Set Designation: W503
Number Cards: 64
Card Size: 1-5/8" x 2-3/8"
Common Card Value (Good Condition): $125
Scarcity Rating: (1 to 10, 10 scarcest):  10

Full W503 Checklist

W503 Strip Card Set

Keys For Collectors

  • Black and white strip card set issued in 1922 with a total of 64 cards.
  • Although Jefferson Burdick cataloged the set as a strip card issue, it was believed to have been issued with caramel candy. (source)
  • Lipset said that the cards were issued in "clear plastic wrappers with caramel candy in 1923 in the New York, St. Louis and San Francisco Bay regions" (source)
  • Grading companies classify the set as being issued in 1922, but Lew Lipset determined that they were issued in 1923 (source)
  • Cards 1-32 and 33-64 have different fonts for the players name and Lipset also believed they were issued in two series. The second series of W503 cards is considered much harder to find.
  • Set contains 16 HOF'ers, including Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Rogers Hornsby (card mispelled 'Roger') among others 
  • VERY hard to find; PSA has graded a total of only 17 cards, SGC has graded 130

W503 Strip Cards - About As Hard To Find As They Come

I've handled and researched many types of pre-war strip cards and early caramel and gum cards.

But I've never had any W503 cards in my possession.

One of the reasons, based on my research is the limited distribution.

Lew Lipset determined that the cards were only issued in three regions: New York, St Louis and the San Francisco Bay area. 

If you do enough digging on the baseball card forums, you'll find collectors showcasing some of their W503 cards.

My envy runs DEEP. 

There is some surprise that PSA has graded only 17, and SGC has graded 130 cards, although some old time vintage collectors have preferred SGC to PSA.  

Even still that puts the graded population at about 2 cards for each issue in the set.

Ungraded copies can be found on eBay, but usually the selection is quite limited.  Ungraded commons are going to run a minimum of $100-$125, so for anyone thinking of building the set, that might not be possible. 

Speaking of SETS, if we go back to Lew Lipset's Old Judge website, and look at his old auctions, he did sell an amazing w503 complete set in 2006, for $33,657.