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  #1  
Old 05-01-2021, 03:06 PM
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mouschi mouschi is offline
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Default I've Acquired the ENTIRE 1919-21 W514 Set! Babe Ruth, Shoeless Joe, Black Sox +++

The 1919-21 W514 issue is a set of cards that has always intrigued me. There are a number of key cards, and fantastic stories! Being that the set is now 100+ years old, it also feels like history.

Created right after World War 1, the simplistic artwork and low quality card stock serve as reminders of America dealing with the aftermath of WW1.

Due to their meteoric rise in price recently, I sold my W514 Shoeless Joe Jackson and Babe Ruth. The money was great, but I was sad to see them go. I caught wind of an auction house selling an entire set recently, and thanks to being privy to a number of private sales on these cards, and lack of big public sales, I was able to grab these cards at a fantastic price...

I now have the entire 1919-21 W514 complete 120 card set!

While I plan to mainly sell/trade much of it away, I wanted to walk through them a bit, tell some stories, and show some fun customs.

First, here is the entire set. Gosh, I love the colors!



Rarity

The PSA POP report shows the T206 set having over 250,000 submissions. The W514 is sitting at just over 1% of that with a bit over 3,100 total having been graded. Being that they were hand cut from strips at candy stores, about 40% of all W514s have been graded by PSA as "Authentic" as opposed to a numerical grade. This is most likely due to the fact that many won't meet the minimum size requirement for a numerical grade. It is one of the very few sets that I personally don't mind being graded as authentic.

While there are a ton of hall of famers in this set, the two standouts are Babe Ruth and Shoeless Joe Jackson. PSA shows just 62 having been graded for Ruth (37 of those as "authentic") and Shoeless Joe having 68 graded (46 as "authentic".)

The standouts here: playing career cards of the all-time best player in history, the former best player in history, (arguably) the best pitcher in history, and finally, the guy who the best players in history looked up to, and modeled. It is a true who's who of baseball history!



I've written about the Babe before, but as a recap, here is what makes this one so special. I like to call it the Curse of the Bambino card. It features him as a member of the Red Sox, yet shows him as a member of the Yankees. The bright yellow coloring is beautiful, and is really the driving factor for me to pick up the set! I really missed it. I have been fortunate enough to have owned three of these over the past few years, but this one presents the nicest.

A deep dive into the set showed me that these simplistic drawings aren't just freehanded by someone from a century ago. Many (all?) were actually modeled after photographs by the famous Charles Conlon! The Babe Ruth below proves the artwork was modeled after a Red Sox photo. This leads me to believe that the artwork may have been created before he was sold to the Yankees, while the card itself was produced after he was sold - it may even be his first Yankees card ever!

Nearly 10 years ago, Sports Collectors Daily identified this card as a potential breakout for being a solid investment. It took a bit longer than people may have expected, but I've seen some recent sales eclipse some of his Goudey cards.



Here are some more Conlon photographs I decided to progressively superimpose with the W514s. Here is Ty Cobb ...



...and Christy Mathewson. *Mathewson served in World War 1 alongside Ty Cobb. Mathewson was accidentally gassed during a chemical training exercise, and developed tuberculosis, which ended up killing him years later.



One of the more intriguing cards is the Shoeless Joe Jackson (more as to why later!) I consider this his definitive Black Sox card.*

All of the photos above were taken by Charles Conlon, so as someone on Net54 said, there seems to be some sort of a connection between the W514 set and Conlon. Gahh, I have so much more to research ... I LOVE this stuff!

Here are the Babe and Shoeless Joe sitting atop some other W514 cards. Take a *CLOSE* look.



See anything odd in the background? You might want to take a closer look this pic (I photoshopped the pic at the very top to hide some extra cards). Look at some cards in the middle and bottom carefully.



Give up? Here is an up close of one of the sheets!



I couldn't for the life of me shake how much the artwork reminded me of King of the Hill! I couldn't help it but make a card of the 4 guys in the style of a W514. Here is a "strip" of them - just as the original W514s were produced over a century ago ... ready to be cut from the strip at your local candy store!



And here they are as single cards ...



I had a blast creating these, but I wasn't done yet!

One of the more notable things about the W514 set is that it features 7 of the 8 Black Sox (Eight Men Out) players. Shoeless Joe Jackson, Swede Risberg, Chick Gandil, Lefty Williams, Ed Cicotte, Happy Felsch, and Buck Weaver. This makes it *the* set for Black Sox collectors. So many have mourned the fact that the W514 set didn't include Fred McMullin. He never had a W514 ... until now.

Look at the sheet I showed you earlier. The King of the Hill guys weren't the only customs on the sheet.



I searched for a Charles Conlon photo of him, and found one! From there, I used what I learned in reverse engineering the other cards in the set, and drew my own W514 style McMullin - complete with blush and red lips!



A close up of the artwork that I drew:



and here it is as a "real" card. To be more authentic, I printed the cut marks, and used scissors, just like kids would do a century ago.



Some super rare W514s show up online with advertisements on the back. Because of this, I decided to make an advertisement for my custom McMullin:



With the McMullin created, I'm happy to present to you the complete the ultimate Black Sox set!



I could probably write a book about this set if I continued to dive in even more, and while it may not stick around here for long (I'm still debating on what to sell/trade/etc - my wife actually thinks I should keep it for a while!) I'm happy to have this for now. The mysteries and history associated with these cards make them all that much more appealing!

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  #2  
Old 05-01-2021, 03:11 PM
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Wow.

The collection is of itself amazing.

The history and the story and the passion you have is amazing

Thanks for sharing it all

Congrats on the collection
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2021, 03:15 PM
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Congrats!! I am one away from completing this set myself. I just need Hornsby and I'm done.
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2021, 04:43 PM
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Fantastic as always. Wish I had your graphic design skills.
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2021, 05:42 PM
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That's really cool seeing the photos morph into the cards like that.

Congratulations on the set and thanks for sharing them!
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2021, 05:49 PM
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That's amazing!! Congratulations! Love the backstories as well.
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2021, 06:05 PM
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It is a cool old very colorful set. Thanks for sharing and those are some cool customs.
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2021, 06:36 PM
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After the Ruth you showed in your other thread it is great to see the original Conlon photos that the W514 Cobb, Mathewson and Jackson cards were based upon as well.

And nice 121st Man Out card of Fred McMullin.

Brian
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2021, 06:37 PM
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I love everything about this.
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  #10  
Old 05-01-2021, 07:26 PM
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My stars, Iím blown away. In the late 80s I had a cardboard box filled with these cards in my parentsí basement. Haunts me to this day...maybe Iíll fly out to the National this year and see if I can snag one of these...
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2021, 12:27 AM
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Beautiful
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2021, 12:50 AM
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As a buyer and collector, and NOT a seller, I think your crazy to part with these. Great post, great stories, great history! Keep em...they are worth more than money...
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2021, 05:01 AM
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Love it, nice job!
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  #14  
Old 05-02-2021, 07:46 AM
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I hope Tanner you might look at the 1916-20 UNC Big Heads as a future project. Some folks like them, some not.
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  #15  
Old 05-02-2021, 08:15 AM
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Congrats! Very interesting connection between the original Conlon photos & the set! Love your passion.

I'll tell ya what, those KOTH are something else. Dang ol' masterpiece man. Yup.
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  #16  
Old 05-02-2021, 08:26 AM
darkhorse9 darkhorse9 is offline
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I must admit that it's a bit unnerving to have someone show a complete set of a century old set and then brag about how good he is at creating fakes of the set.

No accusations. Just...unusual.
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  #17  
Old 05-02-2021, 02:55 PM
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Guys, thank you all - seriously - for the responses! I really appreciate it

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkhorse9 View Post
I must admit that it's a bit unnerving to have someone show a complete set of a century old set and then brag about how good he is at creating fakes of the set.

No accusations. Just...unusual.
== I hope to be an entertainer and teacher in this hobby (I am certainly entertained, and a student, to it myself!), as well as an easily accessible resource for people to help *not* get duped by fakes running rampant, so you can feel safe and rest assured zero funny business will occur from me. But you summed me up in one word at the end ... unusual!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCubsGo32 View Post
Congrats! Very interesting connection between the original Conlon photos & the set! Love your passion.

I'll tell ya what, those KOTH are something else. Dang ol' masterpiece man. Yup.
Dang ol' man! Haha - thanks! I should note that Forever Young on this very website is the one that posted on my Babe Ruth thread about the Conlon connection. He even has some type 1 photos - simply amazing stuff!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pawpawdiv9 View Post
I hope Tanner you might look at the 1916-20 UNC Big Heads as a future project. Some folks like them, some not.
Hey are definitely worth a look! An incredibly interesting issue!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harliduck View Post
As a buyer and collector, and NOT a seller, I think your crazy to part with these. Great post, great stories, great history! Keep em...they are worth more than money...
Thank you! My wife is telling me I should hang onto them for a while as well. I'm still undecided - movement is what excites me. Whether that means just keeping the Ruth, keeping the Ruth & 8 Men Out, or keeping all, I am just not sure yet. They sure are fun to look at for now, though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
My stars, Iím blown away. In the late 80s I had a cardboard box filled with these cards in my parentsí basement. Haunts me to this day...maybe Iíll fly out to the National this year and see if I can snag one of these...
Good luck! They are not difficult to find - some commons can be had for about $20 in decent shape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianp-beme View Post
After the Ruth you showed in your other thread it is great to see the original Conlon photos that the W514 Cobb, Mathewson and Jackson cards were based upon as well.

And nice 121st Man Out card of Fred McMullin.

Brian
Thanks! This was totally inspired by Forever Young on the forums here - he is the one that made mention of the connection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher.herman View Post
Congrats!! I am one away from completing this set myself. I just need Hornsby and I'm done.
Sweet!!!! Congratulations! I merely bought mine minus one, so you actually building it is far more impressive.
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mouschi View Post

Thank you! My wife is telling me I should hang onto them for a while as well. I'm still undecided - movement is what excites me. Whether that means just keeping the Ruth, keeping the Ruth & 8 Men Out, or keeping all, I am just not sure yet. They sure are fun to look at for now, though!
I also used to like the chase. I have owned a lot of the bigger cards. Then would sell them to buy others and kept repeating. I called it renting cards.
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:51 PM
68Hawk 68Hawk is offline
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Ok Mouschi, here's the next thing I'd like to know about this set and it will take some mighty sleuthing....

There's quite a variance in the quality of the artwork on these cards, some have been given very limited detail and others appear quite naturalistic for the style.
I'm thinking these weren't done by the one artist sitting down and going from Conlon to Conlon and tracing and filling characteristics, but by a few different hands.

Have you come across anything that speaks to the creators of the artwork?
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:58 PM
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"Thank you! My wife is telling me I should hang onto them for a while as well. I'm still undecided - movement is what excites me. Whether that means just keeping the Ruth, keeping the Ruth & 8 Men Out, or keeping all, I am just not sure yet. They sure are fun to look at for now, though!"

I think you would be more likely to hang onto them longer if you were to continue to search for the source photos used for the artwork, whether Conlon or not. If you were to do so, I would think it would almost become, at least in your mind, a set that you personally created, or at least creatively rediscovered, especially if you continue to share your efforts. I had a similar feeling when tracking down matching facial artwork seen in the E91A and E91B sets.

Brian

Last edited by brianp-beme; 05-02-2021 at 06:01 PM. Reason: added E91 info
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  #21  
Old 05-02-2021, 06:11 PM
robw1959 robw1959 is offline
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You sure had some fun with this post! I have exactly two W514 cards: an SGC "Authentic" George Sisler and an SGC 6 card of Grover Cleveland Alexander. The artwork is hit and miss for the most part, I think, but I do like those two.
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  #22  
Old 05-03-2021, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnorth View Post
I also used to like the chase. I have owned a lot of the bigger cards. Then would sell them to buy others and kept repeating. I called it renting cards.
I feel that at a heart level, haha! I seriously don't really think of any I have as lifers. If I had an unreal amount of money, I'd keep a lot of stuff, but I don't, so I need to recycle. Catch & release!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 68Hawk View Post
Ok Mouschi, here's the next thing I'd like to know about this set and it will take some mighty sleuthing....

There's quite a variance in the quality of the artwork on these cards, some have been given very limited detail and others appear quite naturalistic for the style.
I'm thinking these weren't done by the one artist sitting down and going from Conlon to Conlon and tracing and filling characteristics, but by a few different hands.

Have you come across anything that speaks to the creators of the artwork?
This would definitely be interesting to research more. The knowledge I have at the moment is limited to what I've written about here, but that sounds like a fun project to tackle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianp-beme View Post
"Thank you! My wife is telling me I should hang onto them for a while as well. I'm still undecided - movement is what excites me. Whether that means just keeping the Ruth, keeping the Ruth & 8 Men Out, or keeping all, I am just not sure yet. They sure are fun to look at for now, though!"

I think you would be more likely to hang onto them longer if you were to continue to search for the source photos used for the artwork, whether Conlon or not. If you were to do so, I would think it would almost become, at least in your mind, a set that you personally created, or at least creatively rediscovered, especially if you continue to share your efforts. I had a similar feeling when tracking down matching facial artwork seen in the E91A and E91B sets.

Brian
I think that is quite possibly true - would be cool to somehow display each card next to the photographs they were based off of!

Quote:
Originally Posted by robw1959 View Post
You sure had some fun with this post! I have exactly two W514 cards: an SGC "Authentic" George Sisler and an SGC 6 card of Grover Cleveland Alexander. The artwork is hit and miss for the most part, I think, but I do like those two.
I agree - I used to see strip cards as a whole as being "ugly", but drilling down into them, I really like the W514 set, and now knowing several (if not all) were based on photos really brings them to life for me.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:05 AM
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I was able to complete this set a little over a year ago with the help of a Net54 member. I searched for the last card for almost a year to include posting it here in the BST section before a member contacted me at Christmas time and sent me the last card I needed for free. I now have 2 Jake Daubert's and would never part with the one sent to me. Congrats on completing the set. If you decide to sell I am always looking to upgrade some of mine.
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  #24  
Old 05-03-2021, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pitburgfan View Post
I was able to complete this set a little over a year ago with the help of a Net54 member. I searched for the last card for almost a year to include posting it here in the BST section before a member contacted me at Christmas time and sent me the last card I needed for free. I now have 2 Jake Daubert's and would never part with the one sent to me. Congrats on completing the set. If you decide to sell I am always looking to upgrade some of mine.
That's so cool! I'm glad to be a part of club W514 ... at least for now
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:34 AM
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Iím sort of blown away by this and real nostalgic. Thanks so much for sharing
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  #26  
Old 05-03-2021, 11:04 AM
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Default Tanner!

I can't think of more enjoyable/entertaining posts than some of yours (including this one). Your approach to collecting and the INCREDIBLE added "touches" just enhance the cards you have so much. Thank you and please continue sharing that which you are passionate about.

I agree I think it would be an INCREDIBLE project to do your photo to card metamorphosis for as many images as you could find for the set. Perhaps even doing hi-res prints of the metamorphosis to be included with the cards at whatever point you choose to send them to a new home!
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  #27  
Old 05-03-2021, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for sharing Tanner, and congratulations!
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:30 PM
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congrats!! great read!
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Old 05-03-2021, 08:37 PM
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Too Cool!
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