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Lot # 466 (of 1512)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1931 W517 Complete Set (54) Including Babe Ruth (2) and Lou Gehrig Plus Uncut Strips and Original Artwork Production Photo

Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $3,300

Outstanding complete set of fifty-four 1931 W517 strip cards, which includes a remarkable thirty-four Hall of Famers, highlighted by examples of two poses of Babe Ruth in the set and Lou Gehrig as well as two three-card uncut strips (as originally issued; two cards from the strips complete the 54-card set; the additional four cards are duplicates). Also accompanying the set is the original unique artwork production photo for card #49 Bob Muesel, which is an extremely fascinating and substantial item in its own right.

The popular W517 large-style strip-card (3 x 4 inches) set consists of fifty-four Major Leaguers. Fifty-two players are different. Ruth and Cochrane each appear twice (#4 Ruth features a portrait; #20 Ruth features a throwing pose). This issue was originally sold in vertical strips of three, which were intended to be hand-cut by youngsters. Cards from this set are often found in somewhat rough condition (miscut, creases, back damage, etc.). This is the only the second complete set of W517 that we have ever offered, and a quick check of public auction records confirms that complete sets are available very infrequently. This complete set originates from the 1998 "Orrstown Hoard" find of 206 W517s. This find, which was documented by Sports Collectors Digest as the largest find of W517s ever recorded, was discovered in an old Victorian house that was being prepared for bulldozing by a noncollector who purchased the house out of foreclosure to clear space in front of his property. He brought the cards to a local auction with the intention of selling them piece by piece to help offset the cost of the house purchase. Our consignor, however, thought the lot should stay intact and successful negotiated a purchase of the entire lot for $12,000. Over the years, some of the cards from this find have been released into the collecting world, but this is the first complete set from the find offered by our consignor. A total of twenty-two cards are graded by PSA (fifteen) or SGC (seven). Professional grading companies employ different standards for hand-cut cards, such as these strip-card W517s, with respect to size and neatness of cut, so the listed grades are without reference to any cutting issues (it is possible that some of the cards would only be graded "Authentic" if submitted, and of course it's very probable that others would be numerically graded).

#1 Combs (Pr), 2 Traynor (Fr due to album residue on reverse, otherwise Vg-Ex), 3 Roush (Gd due to album residue on reverse, otherwise Ex), 4 Ruth (PSA VG-EX 4), 9 Harris (Ex), 10 Klein (PSA VG 3, strike out game card), 11 Kelly (Gd), 12 Jackson (PSA GOOD 2), 14 Heilman (center card of three-card uncut strip, Nr/Mt, strip is Ex, with #12 Jackson and 53 Judge), 15 Alexander (SGC GOOD 30), 16 Frisch (PSA VG-EX 4 [MK]), 19 Cuyler (Fr due to album residue on reverse, otherwise Ex), 20 Ruth (PSA GOOD 2), 21 Foxx (PSA PR 1), 23 Terry (PSA GOOD 2), 24 Lindstrom (Ex), 27 Lazzeri (Gd due to album residue on reverse, otherwise Ex+), 28 Manush (Vg), 29 Hafey (top card of three-card uncut strip, Vg-Ex, strip is Vg-Ex, with green strip on the bottom, #1 Combs and 22 Dykes), 30 Ott (PSA GOOD 2), 34 P. Waner (PSA GOOD 2), 35 Gehrig (PSA GOOD 2), 36 Vance (SGC GOOD 30, no number), 37 Cochrane (SGC Authentic, otherwise Ex), 38 Hornsby (PSA GOOD 2 [MK]), 39 Grove (PSA VG-EX+ 4.5), 40 Simmons (Ex+), 42 Wilson (Gd due to album residue on reverse, otherwise Ex+), 45 Lyons (Ex), 46 J. Sewell (Pr), 47 Goslin (Gd), 51 Averill (SGC GOOD 30), 52 Collins (SGC FAIR 20), and 54 Cochrane (Pr). The balance of the cards grade mostly Pr to Gd (due to flaws on the reverse in almost all cases), with five Vg. Five common cards are graded: #6 (SGC Authentic), 22 (SGC Authentic), 41 (PSA Authentic), 44 (PSA Authentic), and 49 (PSA GOOD 2).

Also included with this complete set is the original black-and-white portrait photograph, mounted on board and with original card number artwork affixed, which served as the original camera-ready production artwork for the #49 Bob Muesel card. This is the actual artwork/photograph used to produce the card! (Decades ago a number of these original photo/artworks to the W517 set surfaced; they are extremely rare but every once in a blue moon examples surface!) The offered photograph is in Excellent condition and has been framed alongside a final-issue example of the card to total dimensions of 17.5 x 14.5 inches (most W517 original production photos measure 6-3/8 x 4-1/4 inches). This is a very rarely seen complete set of W517 cards, highlighted by Babe Ruth (two poses), Lou Gehrig, and accompanied by a unique original-production photo. Total: 55 items (52 cards, two uncut strips, and one framed production photo). Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $3,300

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