When it comes to the M101 Sporting News series, the most popular subsets are generally the M101-4 and M101-5 cards. Those sets are filled with stars and the closest to traditional baseball cards. But in reality, the M101 series is much more than those two sets. A total of nine subsets carry the M101 Sporting News designation from the American Card Catalog and here’s a glimpse at all of them.
M101-1 Sporting News Supplements
Printed in 1899-00, this is the oldest subset in the series. These weren’t traditional baseball cards – rather, they were larger supplements measuring a little larger than your standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper. The portrait-style images were included in issues of The Sporting News.
The set includes a very early collectible of Honus Wagner that is extremely valuable. Nap Lajoie, Cy Young and Rube Waddell are among the other notable names in the set.
M101-1 supplements are very rare today. You can see a few on eBay.
M101-2 Sporting News Supplements
Similar to the M101-1 set, these were larger supplements also included inside of 1909-13 issues of The Sporting News. These are slightly smaller, measuring approximately 8″ x 10″ and were sepia-toned photographs of players. A total of 100 supplements make up this set and, printed on paper stock, they are often found creased or even torn. Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson and Christy Mathewson are just some of the names you’ll find in this set. While not plentiful, there are usually dozens available on eBay and prices are generally quite reasonable.
M101-3 Sporting News Postcards
This is one of the lesser known subsets and also one of the smallest. Printed in 1915, the M101-3 series is a small set of six postcards. Five of the six cards featured include Hall of Famers, led by Ty Cobb. Walter Johnson is also included in the set as he is pictured with catcher Gabby Street. These are largely black and white with only hints of color added. Even in low-grade, they are desirable. A Cobb graded Authentic recently sold for nearly $3,000.
M101-4/M101-5 Sporting News Cards
Printed in 1916, these black and white card issues are easily the most popular of the series. Each set contains 200 cards but most of the players are the same found across both sets (many, however, have different card numbers – here is a complete checklist).
The cards are often called Sporting News cards because they were given that designation in the ACC. But while many do carry the Sporting News advertisement on the back, the actual cards/pictures were used for a variety of sponsors. That’s because the producer, Felix Mendelsohn, created the set and secured companies (including the Sporting News) to advertise on the backs.
The highlight of these sets are cards for Babe Ruth, which are widely considered to be his true rookie issues with high-grade examples now selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Among the most popular pre-War sets to collect, M101-4 and M101-5 cards are readily available online.
While the M101-6 set is often called a Sporting News issue and was classified as such in the ACC, it is not. Rather, it is a series of photos/jumbo cards produced by the maker of the M101-4 and M101-5 cards, Felix Mendelsohn. That is evident by the ‘F.M.’ copyright found on them and these were printed in 1919.
These black and white photos are among the rarest in the series and can sell for hundreds of dollars and even into the four figures.
Joe Jackson (seen here) is found in this set.
M101-7 Sporting News Supplements
A 1926 issue, this subset was similar to some of the earlier ones in that they included larger photo supplements included in The Sporting News. Unlike those, however, this series was much smaller with only 13 in the set. Most were blank-backed but some are found with advertisements for The Sporting News as well.
This set is interesting and known for its hodgepodge of borders, so to speak. Some images have no border around the picture while others have decorative or plain ones. Interestingly, no two borders in the set are alike. These are a little easier to find than some of the other supplements in the series and even Babe Ruth photos can be found for ‘only’ a few hundred dollars.
M101-8 Sporting News Supplements
Printed on a thicker yellow paper in 1932, this four-photo series included supplements of players, led by Dizzy Dean. These supplements are slightly different from most of the others. They were printed in 1932 and a little more advanced, on thicker paper with some even including player stats. There are only four in the set but good luck completing one as they are scarce and rarely available for sale.
M101-9 Sporting News Supplements
The M101-9 supplements are the last in the series as cataloged by the ACC and, appropriately, the newest from a chronological perspective. Printed in 1939, this was another short series as it includes only five photos. These are a little easier to find than some of the later ones and the set includes early issues of Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio and Bob Feller as well as team photos of the Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals. The photos of the players are approximately 8″ x 10″ but the team photos are significantly larger.