Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tristar Flop

Like many prewar collectors I'm a big fan of the Obak sets. Between the years 1909 - 1911, packs of Obak cigarettes came with a card featuring players of the Pacific Coast League and the Northwestern League. These cards are widely considered to be some of the most beautiful prewar cards produced.


You can differentiate between the the three years quite easily. The 1909's actually have a slightly different look on the front, and the 1911's have sevaral cards that have a sort of drippy gooey-like background that are only found in that series. But the easiest way to determine the year is by flipping the card ove and looking at the back design; each year has a different back.


1909----------------------1910----------------------1911



While I could go on quite a bit longer on the original Obaks (and I most likely will in a future post), I'm actually writing this post to ask this question: What were they thinking?


"They" are Tristar Productions and they have released a new line of cards (I know what you're thinking, "Modern cards?!") that have borrowed the name of the old Obaks and the back designs for it's modern release. And for some reason, I couldn't resist seeing what they were like.

I was expectedly unimpressed and furthermore left scratching my head at how these things made it past the various stages of design and approval before they started printing them. They did nail the most spectacular part of the Obak design; the amazing sunset backgrounds.


They decided to make the player's image really dark and dropped the quality of the image so much that the guy is actually pixelated like they took the photo with a really cheap 1.5 megapixel camera.


The scan I took actually brightens up the image considerably as the card in hand looks as if there was no light in front of the guy. You can barely see him on the actual card.


Each pack comes with some old timers in there pictured with their minor league squads and this is kind of cool, except they decided to make them black and white images of the players set against the colorful background and they just don't look right.


Here are the ones I got in my pack:



I did get one card in the pack that I'm happy with though. In each pack, you also get a reprint of one of the original Obaks. I got a reprint of one of the most sought after of all original Obaks. It is the Victoria Bees of the Northwestern League player named Ten Million. Yes, that's right, his name is Ten Million. It's written right there on the card.

I've always liked this card and it will be a long time before I can actually afford an original, so it was kind of cool to pull this card from the pack.



It's safe to say I won't be buying any more of these packs, so I'm glad that I got one card I liked out my trial pack.

Happy collecting everyone, enjoy the hobby.

1 comment:

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