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.