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1920-21   IFS "Blue and Orange"


Year(s) Published: 1920?
Hobby Designation:   --
Set Name: IFS "Blue and Orange"
Card Size (inches): 1-7/16 x 2-1/2
Number of Cards in Set: 6?
Est. Value (common; VG): $60

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Set Summary
  • Published by International Feature Service about 1920
  • Twelve known cards in set: 6 baseball and 6 boxers
  • Baseball artwork same as used in W516
  • Unnumbered borderless cards with blank backs

  • When publishing giant William Randolph Hearst created the International Feature Service in 1912, its not likely that even he could have imagined the impact that the group's syndicated comic strips would have on today's newspapers. It is equally unlikely that Hearst imagined that IFS would produce the images for several obscure sets of 1920's sports cards.

    One such set, never cataloged in the American Card Catalog, consisted of 12 known cards. Six of these were baseball superstars of the day, and six were "prize fighters."

    The borderless cards display the subjects in drawings based on contemporary photographs. The drawings are in blue with light orange and white backgrounds. The player's first and last name is printed in all-caps block lettering at the top of the card. The card backs are blank.

    An uncut sheet on which these cards were printed is shown at right. As seen, the cards have no borders, and are separated only by a thin blue grid line. The IFS Trademark is printed in the upper left corner of the sheet.

    The images of the six known baseball players in this set are derived from the same artwork as those used in the W516 strip card issue. The W516 cards are numbered and have white borders, however, and their images show somewhat more photographic detail. In addition, each card in the W516 set carries the IFS copyright printed directly on each card.

    Needs Research: This may be an extremely scarce set and this sheet may contain the only known cards from the set. Need to find out more about IFS and the circumstances in which the set was produced. See also set W516, which carries the IFS copyright on the card image itself. Need to compare images between sets, etc. as more images from the W516 set are gathered.


    Research Notes:

    1) Set not listed in ACC, Sports Collectors Bible or SCD. Sometimes (by Leon Luckey and Adam Warshaw, then Heritage Auctions) classified as W529-8 (boxing card set). ACC entry for W529 mentlions only boxers.

    2) The same seller of the above sheet (eBay ID: gizmotango) also offered on eBay about a week later the sheet at left (it is a partial sheet for the W516-2-1 subset). The description was as follows:

    This strip sheet of 16 images is mkd @IFC and dates about 1915. One of several early baseball pieces obtained at a rural estate sale (in Western Pennsylvania) - all of which were from the same mid-teen time period. Size of this well preserved gem is 6" x 9 3/4". The sheet is closer to card stock than paper with some stiffness and heft. The condition is wonderful with no marks, creases or other signs of handling - amazing it stayed like this. The baseball players include George Burns, Grover Alexander, Walter Johnson, Rogers Hornsby, Roger Peckinpaugh, Will Cooper, Babe Adams and Arthur Nehf. The silent movie stars are Wallace Reed, Norma Talmadge, William Farnum and Mae Murray. The bottom row features the comic strip FAT & SKINNY. This is an unusual and certainly scarce vintage piece featuring a number of baseballs legendary names. Buyer pays 7.50 shipping-insurance in USA.

    3) from Heritage (Luckey) Auction (Aug. 2015): C. 1920 W529-8 I. F. S. "Comb. Base Ball & Prize Fighters Uncut sheet With Ruth & Johnson. Offered is a rarely seen uncut sheet featuring a dozen stand-out baseball players and prize fighters of the early 1920's. This is a delicate 4-1/4" x 8-1/2" sheet in good condition with ink notations on the reverse with the date "Sept. 10, 1929." Athletes featured include: Heinie Groh, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Grover Alexander, George Burns, Walter Johnson, Joe Beckett, Benny Leonard, Johnny Dundee, Johnny Kilbane, Jack Britton and Lou Tendler. Individual W529 cards are known but when found in the form of uncut strips and sheets - it is a good idea not to let them pass you by. Very rare in this intact form. Good condition.
    Guide Value or Estimate: $400 - up.

    See Also:
    W516 Strip Cards (5 set variations)

    1) Net54 post (2009)
    2) Net54 post (March 2009)

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