1928 W502 Strip Card Set

w502cobb

Front

w502-one-bagger-back

Back

Fast Facts

Year(s) Issued: 1928
Set Designation: W502
Number Cards: 60
Card Size: 1-3/8" x 2-1/2"
Common Card Value (Good Condition): $20
Scarcity Rating: (1 to 10, 10 scarcest):  7

Full W502 Checklist


W502 Strip Card Set

Keys For Collectors

  • Black and white strip card set issued in 1928 with a total of 60 cards.
  • Cards feature a card number in parentheses next to the players name
  • Majority of cards were issued with either blank backs but some have text stamps saying 'one bagger', 'two bagger', 'three bagger', or 'home run'
  • The cards are thought to be a part of some sort of game, although the details on the game are unclear.
  • Like many other early strip card issues, the set is identical to other card issues from the era--the F50 and E210 York Caramel sets.
  • Of the 60 cards, a lot of star power, including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Tris Speaker and Grover Alexander among others
  • Many have speculated that these cards were not hand cut (like most strip cards), given the consistent cuts (source
  • Fairly scarce; PSA has graded a total of only ~400 cards

W502 Strip Cards- The Backs Play A Game, But What Were They Playing?

The 1928 W502 Strip Card set, like most other pre-war strip card issues was released by an anonymous issuer.

The majority of strip cards from the '20s and '30s were released with blank backs. 

However the W502 set has a bit of a different twist. 

Cataloged as 'Baseball Photos', with 'Game on Back' by Jefferson Burdick in the American Card Catalog, the consensus is that the W502 cards were a part of some sort of game, even possibly with some sort of trade in program.

While most W502 issues were issued with a blank back, some were issued with ink writing on the back of the card.

Here are all of the known printed card backs:

w502-one-bagger-back

One Bagger W502 Back

One Bagger - Hold What You Got back W502 Back

home-run-return to storkeep

Home Run - Return To Storekeeper W502 Back

three-bagger-sponge

Three Bagger Return For Sponge Baseball W502 BAck

Three Bagger W502 Back

two-bagger

Two Bagger W502 Back

The problem here is that we really don't have a definitive answer as to what the writing on the back meant. 

It sure seems that there was some sort of prize exchange, given the text on some backs that says 'Return to Storekeeper and Exchange for a Sponge Base Ball' or 'Base Ball'. 

Wonder if any kids traded in their Cobb or Ruth cards for a sponge base ball?

One interesting note is that the writing on the back is not consistent and has varying directions, making the number of back variations quite large.

In addition, there is a very closely related 1931 W502 Set, which is similar in size (60 cards) but with 19 different cards in the set. This excellent writeup on the Old Cardboard website discusses the differences between the 1928 and 1931 W502 sets.

W502 Cards for Sale on eBay

1928 W502 Harry Heilmann #55 Hand Cut PSA 5

$429.99  

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1928 W502 #27 Ty Cobb - SGC 60

$3,850.00  

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1928 W502 #26 Lou Gehrig PSA 3 New York Yankees HOF

$5,500.00  

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