Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bigger, Longer, Uncut

I have received a couple requests to show some more uncut sheets here and with time scarce at the Archive (indeed, as it is every spring) I am more than happy to oblige. Today will bring a look at the "big boys", the 1952-56 baseball sets.

I previously showed a 1948 Magic Photos sheet here and have not ever seen uncut Blue Back or Red Back sheets from 1951, although the uber-scarce Major League All Stars exist in partially uncut form and there is evidence the Connie Mack All Stars and Team Cards were printed together and shown in older posts here so will start off with a 1952 quadrant (not mine, probably from an auction as the only uncut sheet I own is from 1982):

Note there is a double printed row (1 and 3 are the same). There are 80 cards in the first series in '52, where this sheet came from, so another DP row would be in there somewhere. But, as we know from last time it is far more likely two different sheets were composed. No full '52 sheets are known.

Here is a smaller '52 panel:

Strips of 1953's are famously known and some reconstructed sheets are presented here for your consideration:

You can see the two sheets are arrayed differently. There is a lot more on the printing of the 1952 and 1953 sheets here (just click on THE LIBRARY and you will see George Vrechek's Closer Look at these).

Full 100 card 1954 half sheets are known, although I do not have a color scan but sometimes black and white just seems right:

( from Sport Americana Baseball Card Price Guide, 3rd ed.)

Here are a couple of partials, shown previously: and which match the bottom five rows of the bigger sheet:

The 100 card sheet has a gap in the numbering of the cards printed upon it. #126-150 and #176-250 are displayed and I have to think #51-125 and the #151-175 are on the other half sheet as #1-50 were almost certainly the entirety of the first series that year. This means Topps either intentionally left a gap or printed (and sold) both runs together. I don't think there is any way around it but after the shenanigans they pulled a year prior, I would love to see the other sheet. Given the lackluster Bowman cards in '54, Topps looks to have altered what would likely have been a four or five series set to stimulate sales.

After 1954 we move from 100 card half sheets to 110 cards as Topps increased their printing capabilities. Full 1955 sheets are known but I do not have a good scan at the moment, although I thought I did. Here is a '55 partial:

Very colorful cards!

We conclude our golden age journey with a 1956 sheet:

It looks like two columns (rightmost) are double prints but they are really rows if you reorient the sheet.

I'll pick up with a look at the the "tween era" sheets next time out.

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