Tuesday, April 29, 2008

T206 Frank Chance Printer's Scrap

Printer's scraps are one of the many wonderful parts of the T206 phenomenon. Many collectors actively seek out these "mistakes", or "garbage" if you will. I mean, let's face it, these were never meant to be enjoyed by anyone when the printers were messing around and testing printing plates, or color passes or whatever. They were trash. And for some reason, someone at the printing factory decided to keep them.

I, personally, find them fascinating. It's too bad for me that they usually sell for quite a bit more than I can afford to pay.

Here is a very interesting example that recently sold on eBay. I was watching this card because I wanted to see what it was going to sell for in the end. I took into consideration the following things:

1. It is a Hall of Famer.

2. It is a popular card of said HOFer.

3. The card didn't make it to the final printing pass where the name, team caption would have been added.

4. There are not one, but two Cycle ad backs stamped on the front of the card.

5. One of the Cycle ads is printed backwards. (This is more likely the result of another sheet with Cycle backs being placed on top of this while the ink was still wet, called a 'wet sheet transfer')

Taking this into consideration, I was guessing it would sell for $300 - $400. I was a little surprised when it ended at $525.99 after 20 bids. That just goes to show you that these cards get a lot of action and when it's an important card thats involved, even in this condition, it will bring some good money.

In keeping with the topic of Printer's Scrap, I thought I would share a few pictures of other examples. I don't own any of these, they are just images that I have borrowed from various places.

These examples show the same cards, just repositioned in the second image to show how the back printing matches up suggesting that these cards were layed out in this manner on the uncut sheet that was being used by the printer to test his presses. I'm not sure why the sheet would then be cut into actual cards after that though.

This final example is perhaps my favorite back printing freak so far. This is the back of another card that has not only been printed with several other back advertisements, but also has a ghost image of Hall of Fame hurler Cy Young.

Take a close look at this mess of ink. There is an off center Piedmont back printed on it, resulting in a "four corners" style misprint. There is also the El Principe de Gales back printed both upside down and rightside up. Then the sheet went through for another printing with the Brown Old Mill southern league back, upside down. And the Cy Young image has the yellow process background layer printed. Now, if you turn the card around, you'll notice there is also another yellow process background that has been printed, only I can't confirm the player. I don't think it is Young though.

So this sheet went through the printer at least 4 times just for the ads to be printed. The Ghost image could be the result of a wet sheet transfer, but I like to think it was actually run through the printer and it was meant to be printed on the actual sheet.

The funny thing is that the other side of this card is a normally printed Southern Leaguer Mullaney, Jacksonville.

If you have scans of any other really amazing printer's scrap, please email them to me. I'd be interested in seeing them and I would post them in my blog if it's okay with you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Beckett T206 Wagner

The Beckett Wagner is just one of 546 new T206's to enter the hobby from a new find that came from a non-collector who had inherited the cards years ago.

The Wagner, along with the other cards from the find, are currently up for sale in the Robert Edward Auctions Spring auction. I have to agree with REA when they state that this is a very attractive low grade example of this hobby gem. I have a particular soft spot for cards that are beat up pretty good. I like to know that they were enjoyed long ago, that someone handled them and showed to friends, carried them around with them, had a bunch of them in a box and they all got banged up over the years.

This card is a great beater as far as I'm concerned. It has evenly rounded corners and even some creasing and a bit of paperloss, but the image is bold and vibrant with a great background color. Even Hans' rosy cheeks are clear in this image.

We all know this is the "Holy Grail" of baseball cards and that it has legendary status, and most people outside the hobby (I assume) attribute this to the rarity of the card. There are, however, a great deal of cards that are more rare that the T206 Honus Wagner card. In fact, there are many Wagner cards that are more rare than this one. But, this Wagner is from the greatest of pre-war baseball card sets; the T206 White Border set. I am not trying to argue that this is not a rare card though. People have different opinions about how to define "rare" when talking about baseball cards. But with around 50 examples estimated to exist of this card, let's call it rare for now.

In the not so distant past this card would bring headlines when it would become available for sale. The Gretzky/McNall Wagner would get national headlines (okay, maybe not headlines, but at least national coverage) when it came up for sale each time. But right now, as I type this, there are TWO of them up for auction at the same time! Simply amazing! The example pictured above is being sold in the Robert Edward Auctions Spring 2008 Auction and the second example, an SGC10 example, is being sold in the Heritage Auction.

But wait, this gets better. The uncataloged Joe Jackson card pictured to the left is quite rare as well. In fact, in Mastro Auctions, Inc. current auction catalog they say that "just two examples, in total, are known to exist". I would say that is pretty rare. This example is the exact one that Mastro is offering up right now.
Well, if in fact there are only two examples known to exist then you can see them both right now. The other one is currently for sale in the same REA auction mentioned above. Regarding the card's rarity, REA says in their catalog that the one they are offering is "the only example of this card we have ever seen".

This is amazing folks. This is one of the things that I love about this hobby. Most people can not afford the T206 Wagner, and a lot of people can not afford one of the Joe Jacksons here, but we can all enjoy them because of these auction houses and the internet.
I have no idea what this Jackson will end up at when the bidding ends, but we all know it will be nowhere near either of the two Wagners being offered. And I don't think that is a surprise to anybody. I guess rarity isn't the only thing that puts value on a card.

I, for one, am very interested to see where the hammer falls with these four cards. Not to mention all the other amazing items in these auctions. There are even three T206 Magie Errors being offered just in REA alone. And Heritage has three of the four biggies from the T206 set, Wagner, Plank and Magie.

Enjoy the hobby everyone. It really is a wonderful place to spend some time.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Barry Halper Auction 1999

I just recently picked up the auction catalog for the Barry Halper sale that Sotheby's had in 1999. I have read about Barry's collection, and have seen several pieces from it in the past, but I never saw the catalog and had no idea what was actually in the auction. I was so curious to finally see the details of the auction, so when I got the catalogs (yes, there are two of them because his collection was so massive) I was very excited.

If you have never seen what this man had in his collection, then you must get a hold of these catalogs and spend some time browsing them. His collection seriously rivaled that of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had some very important baseball memorabilia.

It wasn't just the cards that have me in awe either, although he did have many great cards. It was the game used items, the personal items of the greats of the game, the shear scope of the collection that floored me.

Remember George Brett's pine tar game? Barry had the actual ball that Brett hit for the home run, the uniform he was wearing, and even the actuall pine tar bat. George did, however, ask Barry for the bat to be returned and he replaced it with another bat that had been used to hit three homeruns in a 1978 AL playoff game against the Yanks. Remember Bill Buckner in 1986? Barry had Bill's glove and shoes from that historic moment. Ever hear of Cy Young? Yeah, Barry had one of his game used jerseys. And what about Cap Anson? You remember, waaaaaay back in the day? Yup, one of his jerseys was in Barry's collection also.

I could go on and on with all the crazy stuff he had. It must have been so amazing to sit in his collection room and just look around at everything in sight. Someday I would like to have an office in my house that is home to the many pieces that I have collected in my life. Luckily for me, my wife wants me to have this room also. Isn't she great.

Barry Halper - 12/03/39 - 12/18/05

Friday, April 11, 2008

Kards for Kids Project - Part 1

Recently, a very generous offer was made on a Vintage Baseball Card forum that I am a member of. Hundreds of sets of 1983 and 1984 Indy Car racing driver cards were offered free to anyone who would agree to pass them along into the hands of kids. When I read the initial offer, I jumped at the chance to do what I could. Well, yesterday I received 50 lbs. of cards from UPS.

I’ll be searching for children’s charities in my county in Northern California to whom the cards will be donated. There are so many sets that I am hoping to find a few different places that will benefit from them. When I find some good organizations, I will post some more info.

I hope some kids will get a smile out of these cards.

Pictured is an example of the Mario Andretti card from the 1984 Set.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

And so it begins....

Here's to hoping that I can keep this thing going and let anyone who cares follow my love of the wonderful hobby of collecting vintage (prewar mostly) baseball cards and it's related items. I'm planning on making this a place to post my recent pick-ups, talk about items that I would really like to own, showcase items that are up for auction that I think are very special. Basically anything that is related to early baseball cards and the history of the game.

I'm also getting more and more interested in the history of baseball in Jersey City, NJ. Particularly the Jersey City Skeeters of the Eastern and International Leagues. I'll be writing about this topic as well as I learn more of their history.

I have my collection currently online using a geocities free website and I've placed a link to it on the right side of my blog if you'd like to check it out. I may be changing it from geocities to another provider with more customizable options in the near future, so please check it out again from time to time.

I hope you enjoy following my love of this hobby as I continue to grow my collection and knowledge of not only the cards, but also the game of Baseball. Over the last 10 years or so, I have become increasingly more passionate about these things. I know there are a lot of others out there that are just as passionate, and even more so, than myself. I'd be happy to meet other collectors, so please feel free to drop me a line, leave a comment, or whatever.

Thanks for taking the time to share my passion.