Many collectors don’t realize how affordable some vintage baseball cards truly are. Collectors don’t even have to settle for cards of lesser known players, either. While many issues depicting Hall of Famers are pricey, plenty of bargains exist, too. Over a four-part series, I wanted to take a look at some of the more affordable pre-war Hall of Fame cards available to collectors. These will be grouped by decade, starting with the 1900s and running through the 1930s.
With that said, here’s a look at some of the more affordable Hall of Fame cards from the 1920s.
Ty Cobb W512 Strip Card
Strip cards are some of the least expensive pre-war cards around and since the 1920s were the heyday for them, you could probably guess a few would make their way onto this list.
Most contemporary Ty Cobb cards are pretty expensive but there are a few bargains in his strip issues. Some of them aren’t real appealing to look at but his W512 strip card is one of the most common ones to find.
As a result, the price tag on this card printed in the mid-1920s is much lower than you’d expect to pay for a pre-war era Cobb. You can find ones that have been cut reasonably well for around $200. Ones with poor borders can be found for even less.
Walter Johnson W560 Strip Card
Like Cobb, Walter Johnson isn’t usually a name associated with inexpensive sports cards. But one of his more affordable issues is his W560 strip card.
Issued in 1927, these cards were created with a playing card design and by utilizing real images of players. With a total of 64 cards (and many variations), the basic set is quite manageable.
Johnson is one of many stars found in it and while the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig will cost you more, Johnson can be found starting under $100. Recently, this PSA 5 sold for just over that amount.
R316 Kashins … A Lot of Them
Don’t be confused by the R-card designation. While that was typically reserved for 1930s releases, Jefferson Burdick assigned the designation of R316 to this set of small photographs (possibly because he believed them to have been printed later) issued by Kashin Publications. However, we now believe this issue to have been produced in 1929.
The bargains in it are too numerous to mention as virtually every card is affordable. Even Ruth can be found for under $500. If you’re on a stricter budget, I’d suggest hitting up one of the numerous other Hall of Famers that can be found in decent condition starting around $50-$75.
George Sisler Turf/Boguslavsky Sports Records
This card is one of my favorite international issues and if it sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve written about it before.
Here, we’ve got a 1925 Turf/Boguslavsky cigarette card featuring Hall of Famer George Sisler. The card speaks of Sisler’s .420 batting average in 1922 while playing for the St. Louis Browns and also mentions a monument that was to be built. While the card only says ‘Baseball’ on the front, Sisler and his record are identified on the back.
It was distributed overseas but it’s been easier to find here in the U.S. via eBay. Typically, you can find a nice copy starting around $40-$50 — sometimes less.
Babe Ruth Shonen Club Postcard
If you’re looking for Babe Ruth, it’s hard to find them much cheaper than the 1929 Shonen Club postcard. Offered in a Japanese magazine in 1929, these Ruth postcards are also more prevalent in the U.S. through the invention of the Internet and eBay.
This 1920s card features a popular photo of Ruth likely slugging one of his numerous home runs. Text to the right in Japanese hails Ruth as the home run king. But the best part of the attractive card is its price. On eBay, the card has often sold in the $100-$200 range, making it one of the Babe’s more affordable singles.