The 1920 W520 strip card set has a total of only 20 cards. Despite that, it’s one of the more, shall we say, odd strip issues out there. Here’s a closer look at this somewhat interesting set.
W520 Strip Card Basics
As stated, a total of only 20 cards are found in the W520 strip card set. That’s certainly a bit on the short end but not really all that odd for strip card sets. Some even have fewer cards.
In terms of aesthetics, the W520 set is your standard strip card release. And given what most strip cards look like, that’s not necessarily a great thing. The cards aren’t as ratty looking as many strip issues, which have less-than-stellar drawings of players. But the pictures on these cards combined with the poor paper quality and names that appear hand written don’t help. Neither, in fact, do the typos that exist, as well as the inconsistency in the names.
There are 20 different cards in the set but only 18 different players. That’s because, curiously, Zack Wheat and Mike Gonzalez each have two cards. Why those two were double-dipped is beyond me. But budgets were often a problem in the creation of many card sets and it’s possible that spare images were simply available for those players.
Those names, as mentioned, appear to be hand written. And oddly, while some cards include a player’s full name, others only include a last name. Also as stated, despite the fact there are only 20 cards, the set has its fair share of misspelled names. Both of Gonzalez’s cards have his name as Gonzales with an ‘s’ on the end. Stan Covaleski is spelled as ‘Kovaleski.’ And Benny Kauff’s card only spells his name with one ‘f.’ That’s already four cards but collectors wanting to pile on could even point to the two cards of Zack Wheat, which spell his first name with an ‘h’ instead of the more correct ‘k’ as it is cited in most other sources.
Finally, the set parallels the W522 strip card set, using the same players/images (but different numbers).
W520 Strip Cards Roster and Checklist
The set has only 20 cards but still manages to be packed with a good bit of star power. At the top of the list is Babe Ruth and his card, as you would expect, is the most expensive. Hall of Fame hurler Christy Mathewson is also in the set. There are the two aforementioned cards of Wheat to go along with Hall of Famers Tris Speaker, Dave Bancroft, and George Kelly. All told, a little more than 1/3 of the set is comprised of Hall of Famers.
Collectors will note that while the set is typically dated to 1920, not all of the players are period. Mathewson, for example, last played in 1916.
Here’s a full checklist per the numbering of the cards on the fronts.
- Dave Bancroft
- Christy Mathewson
- Larry Doyle
- Jess Barnes
- Art Fletcher
- Wilbur Cooper
- Mike Gonzalez
- Zack Wheat
- Tris Speaker
- Benny Kauff
- Zack Wheat
- Phil Douglas
- Babe Ruth
- Stan Covaleski
- Goldie Rapp
- Pol Perritt
- Otto Miller
- George Kelly
- Mike Gonzalez
- Les Nunamaker
Among the more unique features of the set are the pictures used. A wide range of photos were used but a few things immediately stand out.
For one thing, most of the set consists of portraits or fielding poses. Only two of the 20 cards (Kauff and Rapp) picture batters and only Rapp’s appears to be from actual game action. The set also lumps all of the portrait cards together as they are the first nine cards in the issue. A tenth is almost a portrait as Kauff is pictured from the waist up. All others are full-body cards.
Finally, one of the images is interesting, to say the least. One of Wheat’s cards makes him look as if he is pitching the ball. In fact, it is nearly identical to the card of actual pitcher, Stan Coveleski.
Here are both cards as a point of comparison.
W520 Strip Card Prices
W520 cards are not terribly easy to find compared to some other strip issues. At any given time, you won’t usually find more than a few of them on eBay. Still, with only 20 cards, it isn’t impossible to complete the set.
Decent commons usually start in the $30-$50 range with stars commanding more. A modest SGC 35 recently sold on eBay for just under $1,200.