1949 Leaf Football Cards
After releasing a set of 98 cards in 1948, Leaf issued a second set in 1949 that has been a source of confusion for novice collectors. While the set resembles the '48 issue, includes many of the same players and even uses most of the same pictures, it's easy to identify the two.
Fronts feature a player picture that is a black-and-white photo of a player with color added to the uniform that is superimposed over a solid-color background. A solid-colored bar at the bottom contains the players name and sometimes a nickname. A white border surrounds the card. Backs are printed in black ink with no graphics. At the top is a card number and the player's name, with three lines of vital stats underneath. A biography of the player follows. There is an advertisement for the All-Star Football Gum series and details of a wrapper redemption for pennants of both college and professional teams. At the very bottom is a 1949 copyright line. That copyright line -- as well as the absence of dashes between the card number and player's name at the top -- helps collectors differentiate between the two sets.
Another way of telling the two sets apart is the checklist. Fortunately, Leaf didn't keep the 1948 numbering in place. However, they numbered the 49 cards between #1-150, a skip-numbering that was familiar to collectors of Leaf's 1948-'49 baseball set. The skip-numbering may have indicated the company was looking to run additional series, but it's also been criticized as a way for kids to keep spending their pennies and nickels looking for cards that didn't exist. Judging from how more plentiful 1949 Leaf cards when compared to '48 cards, it may have worked.
One difference between the sets is that there were no college players this time. Any team changes are noted, and the Boston Yanks' move to become the New York Bulldogs is credited. For some reason, no Pittsburgh Steelers cards were included in the set. Cards are found with either a gray or cream-colored cardboard stock on the back.
Since the players featured in the set were also included in '48, there are no notable rookie cards to be found in the 1949 Leaf set.
Key 1949 Leaf Football Cards:
1949 Leaf Football Card Checklist
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