Comprised of 96 cards, 8 collegiate teams of 12 players each, this 1955 Ashland/Aetna Oil complete set was a 6 year collecting project by its current owner. While cards from this Kentucky and West Virginia related regional set are attainable in smaller groups, there are a number of collecting challenges that often present themselves when trying to complete the set. Teams featured in this set: Kentucky, Louisville, Western and Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State, Murray State, Marshall, and West Virginia, maintain very loyal fan bases focused on basketball tradition. This makes collectors less willing to part with these uncommon cards. In addition, cards came in perforated strips of 6 cards and were distributed by gas station attendants that likely kept these in their back pockets as they pumped gas and provided other services. Thus, finding higher grade cards can often prove difficult, and acquiring every card in the set is extraordinarily tough feat.
This particular set features some of the nicer quality cards you will ever find, highlighted by a high grade Adolph Rupp card. The set also includes a card of West Virginia star Hot Rod Hundley. In addition, 61 of these cards are the more difficult Aetna Oil backed cards that traditionally have demanded a premium over the slightly more common Ashland Oil backed cards.
While there have been some reports that Aetna and Ashland backed cards can be found with all the teams, I have never seen any Aetna cards for the West Virginia or Marshall teams. Cards from these two teams tend to go for higher prices. Trends seem to suggests that Murray State cards might also be the toughest to attain.
Finally, the perforated nature of the cards has led to many attempts to trim cards to make them look nicer – again a detriment to finding higher quality examples.