1948 Leaf Football Cards
Baseball card collectors remember Leaf for their set that straddled two years (1948-'49), one that has incredibly hard SPs in its second series. Leaf also released football cards in both of those years, but in two separate sets. There is a little confusion between the two sets as they feature similar players and have similar designs, but the differences are easy to spot.
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, dashes 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 1948 copyright line.
When this set (as well as Bowman's the same year) was issued, it was the first time since 1935 that a national football set was issued. As a result, every player is technically a rookie even if they had been playing for several years to that point. Unlike the Bowman cards, several players in Leaf's set were still playing in college and are listed with their schools. That had made 1948 Leaf a bigger draw among Hall of Fame rookie collectors.
The set has 98 cards and was printed in two separate 49-card series. Cards #50-98 are much tougher than #1-49. Fortunately for those who collect rookie cards of Hall of Fame players, only two (Chuck Bednarik and Leo Nomellini) were included in the second series.
Cards were printed on both white and gray cardboard stock. The white stock is more common in the first series, while gray is more common in the second. There are also several color variations throughout the set, probably due to coloring and registration issues during the printing process. These issues, combined with a general centering problem that is commonly found in the set, has presented a challenge for high-condition collectors.
As stated before, every card in the set is considered to be a rookie card, as well as several Hall of Fame players and Heisman Trophy winners. The most sought-after include Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman, Chuck Bednarik, Charley Conerly, Jackie Jensen, Leon Hart, Bobby Layne, Johnny Lujack, Leo Nomellini, Pete Pihos, Steve Van Buren, Doak Walker and Bob Waterfield.
Key 1948 Leaf Football Cards:
1948 Leaf Football Card Checklist
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