1928 W502 Strip Card Set

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w502cobb

w502-one-bagger-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
  • The 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
  • Relatively scarce; PSA has graded a total of only ~400 cards

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

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

Most 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 cards were issued with a blank back, some were issued with ink writing on the back.

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 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’. 

I wonder if any kids traded in their Cobb or Ruth cards for a sponge baseball?

One interesting note is that the writing on the back is inconsistent and has varying directions, making the number of back variations quite significant.

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 #45 Paul Waner - SGC 3.5

$275.00  

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1928 W502 #14 Pie Traynor - SGC 4. HOF

$225.00  

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1928 W502 #16 Eppa Rixey SGC 3

$270.00  

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1928 W502 William Bill Terry HOF #46 Baseball

$289.99  

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1928 W502 Leon Goose Goslin #49 HOF PSA 1

$125.00  

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1928 W502 #16 Eppa Rixey HOF SGC 5 EX C74046

$261.00  

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1928 W502 Waite Hoyt - VG-EX

$275.00  

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