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1949 Bowman Wild West Trading Cards

1949 Bowman Wild West Trading Cards

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1949 Bowman Wild West trading cards offer a visual look at the romantic notion of America's frontier days. One of the most popular non-sport sets of all-time, the set is large and relatively difficult to piece together.

The complete set clocks in at 180 cards that were released in multiple series. The checklist is broken down into eight subsets, each with its own numbering. Given that the releases were spread out, it would make sense that each subset was its own release. But that's not the case. All of the subsets were released together with the numbers adding on to the end of the previous release and expanding each outward.

The 1949 Bowman Wild West subsets break down as:

  • Winning the West  #A-1 to A-40
  • Indian Customs #B-1 to B-20
  • Famous Characters #C-1 to C-20
  • Indian Warfare #D-1 to D-20
  • Cowboy Life #E-1 to E-20
  • Law and Order #F-1 to F-20
  • River Days #G-1 to G-20
  • Western Stars #H-1 to H-20

1949 Bowman Wild West Trading Cards 1

Similar to a lot of trading card sets from the era, many of the high numbers were printed in smaller numbers as interest in the line waned. It is generally accepted that the final eight Winning the West cards and final four of each of the other subsets are short prints. As a result, they command a premium on the secondary market.

1949 Bowman Wild West Trading Cards 2 1949 Bowman Wild West Trading Cards 3

1949 Bowman Wild West trading cards feature full-color illustrations. While not at the same level of 1938 Gum Inc. Horrors of War, many still aim to shock. There's blood, bodies, screaming ladies and other acts that probably wouldn't make it onto cards today.

1949 Bowman Wild West Trading Cards 4 1949 Bowman Wild West Trading Cards 5

Fronts have only the illustration. Backs have a caption along with a brief history lesson to explain the image. These lessons should be taken largely with a grain of salt. They appeal to a lot of the notions about the West that were common back then. The lines between good and bad were clearly drawn. The good guys were always the patriots and evil had no boundaries.

Many of the West's biggest celebrities are here including Buffalo Bill, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Jesse James, Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull. Ironically, you won't find many famous people in the Western Stars subset. The may have had star status back then, but you don't hear much about Rex Allen or Andy Clyde today.

1949 Bowman Wild West was wildly popular at the time of its release. As a result, it's not the toughest set to find. However, the sheer size of it gives collectors a challenge. While prices are strong, particularly for high-grade cards, the appeal of the West doesn't resonate as much as it once did. It will be interesting to see if this set continues to be appreciated in a couple of more decades with younger generations who grew up outside of the West's wave of popularity.

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Set Checklist

1949 Bowman Wild West Checklist

180 cards.
1949 Bowman Wild West Trading Cards 6

A-1 Capturing British Fort
A-2 Louisiana Is Ours
A-3 Exploring the Wilds
A-4 Mountain Men
A-5 Trap-Line Troubles
A-6 Horseback Duel
A-7 Shooting the Rapids
A-8 At War with Britain
A-9 Battle of New Orleans
A-10 Death at the Waterhole
A-11 Lone-Star Settlers
A-12 The Alamo
A-13 Fremont in the Rockies
A-14 Indians Attack Wagon Train
A-15 Buffalo Stampede
A-16 Prairie Fire
A-17 Battles a Tempest
A-18 Gun Runners
A-19 Mormons Settle Utah
A-20 James Marshall Strikes Gold
A-21 The Gold Rush Is On
A-22 Out to Stake a Claim
A-23 Dealing with Claim-Jumpers
A-24 Virginia City Boom
A-25 Panning Gold
A-26 Stage Coach Robbery
A-27 Saddling Pony Express
A-28 Ambush
A-29 Indians Attack Iron Horse
A-30 Buffaloes Stop Train
A-31 Train Robbery
A-32 Down Goes the Telegraph
A-33 Peril at the Pass
A-34 Hazards of Track Laying
A-35 Bridge Disaster
A-36 Snow Bound Train
A-37 Relay
A-38 Pike's Peak or Bust
A-39 Montana Gold
A-40 Chicago on Fire
B-1 Scalp Dance
B-2 Running the Gauntlet
B-3 Race
B-4 Bow-and-Arrow
B-5 Sign Language
B-6 Smoke Signals
B-7 The War Whop
B-8 An Indian Never Forgets
B-9 Stalking Game
B-10 Peace Pipe
B-11 Young Indian Learns
B-12 Building Birch Bark Canoe
B-13 Woman's Work
B-14 Cliff Dwellers
B-15 Torture Stake
B-16 The Medicine Man
B-17 Indian Lacrosse
B-18 Fishing for Salmon
B-19 Buffalo Trap
B-20 False Face Society
C-1 Tecumseh
C-2 Kit Carson
C-3 Col. James Bowie
C-4 Pawnee Bill
C-5 Calamity Jane
C-6 Buffalo Bill
C-7 Captain Jack
C-8 Daniel Boone
C-9 Davy Crockett
C-10 Annie Oakley
C-11 Chief Joseph
C-12 Sam Houston
C-13 Black Hawk
C-14 Marcus Whitman
C-15 Geronimo
C-16 Sitting Bull
C-17 Andrew Jackson
C-18 Simon Kenton
C-19 Red Cloud
C-20 White Bear
D-1 Defeat of General Harmer
D-2 Defending Their Home
D-3 Captives' March
D-4 Indian Mercy
D-5 Boy Captives
D-6 Burnt-Arrow Punishment
D-7 Ransom
D-8 Battle of Tippecanoe
D-9 Battle of Horseshoe Bend
D-10 Escaping the Commanches
D-11 Rushing a Stockade
D-12 Saving the Wounded
D-13 Battle of Bad Axe
D-14 In the Nick of Time
D-15 Angry Squaw
D-16 Ft. Kearny Massacre
D-17 Wagon Box Fight
D-18 Death by Moonlight
D-19 Hayfield Fight
D-20 Perilous Work
E-1 Trail Drive
E-2 Roping Wild Horses
E-3 Roundup
E-4 Bulldozing a Longhorn
E-5 Cowboys Go to Town
E-6 Pony in the Parlor
E-7 Branding a Calf
E-8 Bronco Busting
E-9 Stampede
E-10 Fighting a Blizzard
E-11 Range War
E-12 Battle of Wild Stallions
E-13 An Easterner Learns
E-14 Cowgirl Race
E-15 Chuck Wagon
E-16 Sheep and Cattle War
E-17 Night Visitors
E-18 Cowboy Capers
E-19 Look! The Stage-Coach
E-20 Killer Bear
F-1 Sheriff Gets His Man
F-2 Vigilantes Ride
F-3 Horse Thieves
F-4 Surprising Cattle Rustlers
F-5 The Daltons
F-6 Deputy Sheriff
F-7 Bill Hickok at Hays City
F-8 Jail Break
F-9 Sheriff Defies Mob
F-10 Outlaws at Bay
F-11 Two-Gun Marshal
F-12 Run Out of Town
F-13 Stick 'Em Up
F-14 Rangers Ride
F-15 Rangers Battle Outlaws
F-16 Rangers Chase Apaches
F-17 Jesse James Holdup
F-18 Whip Beats Pistol
F-19 Citizens Rout Bandits
F-20 Wells Fargo Holdup
G-1 Mighty Paul Bunyan
G-2 Floatmen on Rampage
G-3 King Cotton
G-4 Lone Traveler Beware
G-5 Villains' Cave
G-6 River Pirate
G-7 Stratagem
G-8 Wreck of Tennessee
G-9 Cub Pilot
G-10 Steamboat Burns Bridge
G-11 Hark! The Calliope
G-12 Seeing the Show
G-13 New Orleans Bullfight
G-14 Rifles at 30 Yards
G-15 The River Rises
G-16 Steamboat Race
G-17 The Mosselle Blows Up
G-18 Tornado
G-19 Heroic Captain
G-20 Riding Out an Earthquake
H-1 "Lash" La Rue
H-2 Al "Fuzzy" St. John
H-3 James Ellison
H-4 "Cannonbal"l Taylor
H-5 Chris-Pin Martin
H-6 James Millican
H-7 Andy Clyde
H-8 Max "Alibi" Terhune
H-9 Monte Hale
H-10 Raymond Hatton
H-11 Allan "Rocky" Lane
H-12 Pat Brady
H-13 Rex Allen
H-14 Don "Red" Barry
H-15 Holly Bane
H-16 Robert Lowery
H-17 Ray Bennett
H-18 Marshall Reed
H-19 John Cason
H-20 Tom Neal

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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Reviews

Bob Dane
Bob Dane

When I was about 6 or 7 I collected this set.I didnt collect sports cards just non sports I guess now at 78 I’m trying to recapture my youth this was really a fun set to collect and flip for

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