1920-21 W516 Strip Card Set

w516-ruth
w516-back

Fast Facts

Year(s) Issued: 1920-21
Set Designation: W516
Number Cards: 30 (with 5 variations)
Card Size: 1-1/2″ x 2-3/8″
Common Card Value (Good Condition): $25
Scarcity Rating: (1 to 10, 10 scarcest):  5

Full W516 Checklist

W516 Cards on eBay

W516 Strip Card Set

Keys For Collectors

  • A confusing set, as there are a total of five variations of each card.
  • Some images are reversed, the copyright symbol is an easy way to help note if image is reversed.
  • Two different checklists across Type One and Type Two Sets (see table below)
  • Believed to be produced by the International Feature Service (or IFS) and sold in local grocery/candy stores
  • Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Ty Cobb are the highlights of the set 
  • Also includes big name Hall of Famers including Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby and Christy Mathewson
  • The grading card companies often get these wrong, thus don't take the label at face value
  • Beware Ty Cobb strip reprints, many surface and can easily be distinguished from the real thing.

W516 Summary

I must admit, even though I'm a huge fan of strip cards, this is the one set that still confuses the heck out of me. Here's a breakdown of the five variations using the Ty Cobb card from the set. The key things to look for are the card number, the image position (normal or reversed) and the font (handwritten or typed). That should help you identify the card.

W516-1-1

W516-1-2

W516-2-1

W516-2-2

W516-2-3

w516-1-1-cobb
w516-1-2-cobb
w516-2-1-cobb
w516-2-2-cobb
w516-2-3

Type One Numbering

Type One Numbering

Type Two Numbering

Type Two Numbering

Type Two Numbering

Image - Normal

Image - Reversed

Image - Reversed

Image - Reversed

Image - Normal

Handwritten Font

Handwritten Font

      Typed Font

Handwritten Font

      Typed Font

Some of the variations in the W516 set are scarcer than others, notably the W516-1-2 and W516-2-3 sets and can command a slight premium

W516 - Beware The Counterfeit Cobb's and Ruth's

The W516 Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth cards have mysteriously been popular for counterfeiters of late.  Here I'll post a few recent copies I've come across to help you distinguish a real W516 from a fake.

Here's a recent W516 Ruth that was posted on eBay.  This one was thankfully labeled as a 'reprint' however many of them are not.  (Note the screw-down holder is often a good sign of a fake).

You can almost tell how new this card is by looking at the edges.  Just tell-tale signs of artificial cutting and rounded edges.  Also that white on the bottom left corner is a sign that the newer paper is showing through.  Could get a much better idea with a black-light and microscope.  (See our article on counterfeit cards for more tips on spotting a fake).

babe-w516-fake

Here's a shot of a real W516 Ruth:

Hard to sort of see from this picture, but there are a lot of print dots and irregular splotches of ink which is quite common on early strip cards.  A newer fake has more uniformity and consistency in printing which is a key to idenitifying under magnification. 

w516-ruth

You can see more in our video below on examining W516 Strip Cards


W516 Cards for Sale on eBay