Within vintage collecting circles, “strip cards” (as they are known) have long been thought of as the forgotten step-child in the hobby.
The cards were initially either sold or provided to customers in various retail stores in the 1920’s. The cards were issued in a long strip (hence the name) and either cut or distributed in partial uncut strips.
The anonymity of the cards (most have no known issuer), the low quality of the card stock, and a lack of a printed back has led to strip cards not maintaining the same level of popularity as some of the more well known candy or tobacco issues.
In addition, from a grading perspective, the cards remain a challenge, since the cards were meant to be hand-cut. While some cards have surfaced in uncut sheets, those that have been cut get somewhat different treatment from the card graders. PSA for example with label a strip card as only ‘Authentic’ with no numeric grade if the card has been cut within the pre-dotted line, despite the overall condition.
Yet, despite the obvious flaws, these cards offer baseball card collectors a more reasonable way to collect some of the biggest names from yesteryear, including Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and more.
While some also complain about the ‘ugliness’ of many of the strip cards, I tend to overlook this in many cases, knowing that I can get a card of one of the big name baseball stars while they were playing for the fraction of the cost of say a T206 or American Caramel card.
Please enjoy this review of some of the most popular strip baseball card sets of the era!