Produced by Felix Mendelsohn and featuring back advertising from a number of different businesses, the M101-4 and M101-5 cards of 1916 continue to experience explosive growth in popularity as collectors begin seeking out different prewar issues with a variety of back advertisements. Cards advertising the Famous and Barr stores are among the most popular of the different varieties, due in part to their overall scarcity but also due to the attractiveness of the graphics. This example, featuring the immensely popular athlete Jim Thorpe, is one of the issue's key cards and one that does not make itself available very often in any back variety. Nicknamed the "World's Greatest Athlete," Thorpe won gold medals in the 1912 Olympics and played professional football, baseball and basketball. Thorpe played parts of six seasons with the Giants, Reds and Braves, neither distinguishing himself nor hurting his reputation as one of America's greatest-ever athletes. His greatest baseball achievement was an anecdotal one; in a semipro game on the Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas border, Thorpe hit three home runs into three different states!
As a football player, Thorpe played 52 professional games, passing for four touchdowns and running for six more. He was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. This example has been graded VG/EX+ 4.5 by SGC, one of just six graded by that company with only one, a sole NM-MT example, higher. Well-centered with light wear at the upper corners reducing the technical grade, the image quality remains strong and clear, with the graphics on the reverse slightly off-center but certainly attractive. An exceptional card, one of the issue's keys, seldom made available for sale.