Trading card history goes back a long way, before many of us, our parents, or our grandparents began collecting. Below, we'll take a closer look at one of the most fascinating pieces of card collecting history: pre-war strip cards!

The Pre-War Strip Card Phenomenon

Strip cards, also known as "strips" or "exhibits," were the darling collectibles of the early 20th century. Originating during the late 1800s, they were typically sold in vending machines and cut by the buyer at their discretion. These strips, showcasing popular figures of the time, weren't just about pretty faces; they were the faces of American pastimes and cultural artifacts. Their charm lay in their accessibility—unlike traditional cards, these strips were an affordable thrill for regular people.

The Allure of Rarity and Artistry

Even before the titanic cultural upheaval of World War II, pre-war strip cards were whimsy incarnate. Their rarity isn't just in their age; it's in the selective nature and artistry of the cards themselves. The elegance and simplicity of the strip, alongside their vibrant art, evoke an era long gone.

These are not just collectibles but artifacts, windows into early 20th-century America. The art on each card is a snapshot of the aesthetic sensibilities of the time. For many collectors, these cards are a two-for-one deal—a piece of history and an artistic treasure.

Navigating the Market

In the card collecting world, few pieces are of as volatile value as the pre-war strip cards. Their scarcity and age place them on the most-wanted list of collectors worldwide. However, being a card from the pre-war era doesn't guarantee an outrageous price; condition and rarity often dictate the tale of the tape.

The market for these cards is hot, with high-quality pieces fetching surprisingly high sums. It's a market rife with stories of collectors who unearthed treasures in unlikely places, their cards worth more than their weight in gold.

Preservation Is Key

Preserving a pre-war strip card is an art. Their fragility demands the utmost care, and for collectors, this means investing in proper storage and handling techniques. The better the preservation, the higher the value and appreciation over time.

Authenticity is also a concern; with high demand comes high forgery potential. Collectors must stay one step ahead, examining the fine details and seeking professional authentication when necessary.

Find Vintage Cards of All Kinds at JRI Cards

We hope you've enjoyed our brief look at card collecting history and pre-war strip cards. If you’d like to add a pre-war strip card to your collection, check out JRI Cards and our selection of vintage card breaks! Browse our website to find a box break that suits you, then tune into our next livestream broadcast to see yours opened live.