W515 Set is Packed With Name Players

Want to collect an 89-year-old issue full of Hall of Famers costing less than your average box of 2012 “high end” product?  The W515 baseball card set awaits.

Checking out eBay and catalog auctions reveals that the interest among vintage collectors seems to be pretty limited.  Many go unsold.  It could be because the majority of Babe Ruth W515the cards from this giveaway wind up being graded ‘Authentic’ rather than being awarded a numeric designation.  In fact, more than half of those graded by PSA are labeled ‘Authentic’.  There are just 20 9’s and only one ten.

It’s not  a stretch to say that like many strip cards, W515s are undervalued in the current marketplace.

SMeusel brothers W515old in strips of ten cards at variety stores and other outlets in 1923, W515 is blank backed and no advertising on the back.  The cards are about 1 3/8″ by 2 1/4″ and are actually drawings made from photos.  They feature brightly colored backgrounds but the likenesses aren’t always top notch.  On most of the cards, there’s a copyright symbol followed by “U&U” indicating the drawings were made from photographs owned by Underwood & Underwood, which was a major provider of photos for news outlets at the time.

Each of the 60 cards has a card number, player’s name, position, team and league appear along the bottom.

The set is heavy on New York players, thanks in part to the success of the teams. The Giants and Yankees played in the World Series in 1921, 1922 and 1923 and the Dodgers were also popular.  Interestingly, there are no Red Sox.  Still smarting from the surrender of Babe Ruth, Boston’s American League team was struggling and combined with the crosstown Braves of the National League, Boston fans saw 193 defeats that year.

W515 Casey Stengel baseball cardIf you’re collecting Hall of Famers or just want a few to add to your collection, prices are more than reasonable.  A complete set in mixed grade but with many higher end examples sold in the spring of 2011 for $1,315 via Huggins and Scott.

A raw W515 Babe Ruth described as EX was offered unsuccessfully for $995 recently while an Authentic graded copy sold for $445 in August.  There has been just one PSA 9 Ruth graded.  A seller offered it for $9,995 last month but it didn’t sell.  Other Hall of Famers in respectable grade are readily available.  A PSA 8 Casey Stengel brought $255 last week.   An SGC 40 Grover Cleveland Alexander sold for $105 in September and a PSA 3 Rogers Hornsby sold for just $89 in October.

There’s a second set, labeled W515-2 that is identical to the first set except they’re slightly larger and on some, you can read portions of the words that spelled out “The Little Wonder Picture Series” along the top of the strip.

You can see W515 baseball cards on eBay here.

Here’s the checklist:

1. Bill Cunningham, Giants
2. Al Mamaux, Brooklyn
3. “Babe” Ruth, Yankees
4. Dave Bancroft, Giants
5. Ed Rommell, Athletics
6. “Babe” Adams, Pittsburgh
7. Clarence Walker, Phillies
8. Waite Hoyt, Yankees
9. Bob Shawkey, Yankees
10. “Ty” Cobb, Detroit
11. George Sisler, Browns
12. Jack Bentley, Giants
13. Jim O’Connell, Giants
14. Frank Frisch, Giants
15. Frank Baker, Yankees
16. Burleigh Grimes, Brooklyn
17. Wally Schang, Yankees
18. Harry Heilman, Detroit
19. Aaron Ward, Yankees
20. Carl Mays, Yankees
21. The Meusel Bros., Giants & Yankees
22. Arthur Nehf, Giants
23. Lee Meadows, Phillies
24. “Casey” Stengel, Giants
25. Jack Scott, Giants
26. Kenneth Williams, Browns
27. Joe Bush, Yankees
28. Tris Speaker, Cleveland
29. Ross Young, Giants
30. Joe Dugan, Yankees
31. The Barnes Bros., Giants
32. George Kelly, Giants
33. Hugh McQuillen, Giants
34. Hugh Jennings, Giants
35. Tom Griffith, Brooklyn
36. Miller Huggins, Yankees
37. “Whitey” Witt, Yankees
38. Walter Johnson, Washington
39. “Wally” Pipp, Yankees
40. “Dutch” Ruether, Brooklyn
41. Jim Johnston, Brooklyn
42. Willie Kamm, White Sox
43. Sam Jones, Yankees
44. Frank Snyder, Giants
45. John McGraw, Giants
46. Everett Scott, Yankees
47. “Babe” Ruth, Yankees
48. Urban Shocker, Browns
49. Grover Alexander, Cubs
50. “Rabbit” Maranville, Pittsburgh
51. Ray Schalk, White Sox
52. “Heinie” Groh, Giants
53. Wilbert Robinson, Brooklyn
54. George Burns, Cincinnati
55. Rogers Hornsby, Cardinals
56. Zack Wheat, Brooklyn
57. Eddie Rousch, Cincinnati
58. Eddie Collins, White Sox
59. Charlie Hollocher, Cubs
60. Red Faber, White Sox