Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Do Blondes Have More Fun?

I have been playing around with ideas to expand the scope of the blog a little bit; nothing crazy just a little bit of contextual history here and a look at TCG's forebears there. The easiest way to feed this urge right now is to add a little more Bowman to the mix, which will in turn lead back to Gum, Inc. right at the start of FDR's administration.

I have been looking at three card strips of cards and salesman's samples of late and have discovered a couple of neat Bowman items out there, courtesy of Anthony Nex, who graciously let me lift about a bazillion scans.

The first known Bowman Baseball saleman's samples are from 1954; sadly there are none known from the classic 1953 color set. The 54's sample is arrayed 2 x 2:



There is another mix of players known and it would not surprise me one bit if quite a few more are out there. The back is neatly arranged:



1955 was the year of Bowman's Color TV cards and we get the classic 3 card variety now:



Unlike the 54's, the back does not even have a true facsimile of a 55 reverse:



They were really counting on the TV tie in. I wonder if they advertised on the boob tube? With Warren J. Bowman's history I would not be surprised, although the budget may not have been there. (NOTE: It turns out Warren J. Bowman wasn't there either-see Comments)

Now, the thing is that Bowman switched the faux wood grain to dark following the first 64 cards' display of blonde wood:



Perhaps the change was made due to production difficulties (brown wood grain would vex Topps in 1962) but they issued a salesman's strip with both grains during the transition:



Here is another:



I don't know the significance of the blonde version being upside down but it must have been cobbled together really quickly. They couldn't have printed both together, could they?

Back soon with a look at Topps saleman's samples from the 1950's. Stay cool kids!

6 comments:

Chris Stufflestreet said...

While mentioning Warren Bowman's eccentric tendencies, I'll point out that he had retired and moved to Florida in the early 1950s (his daughter emailed me some years back to correct me about that after I wrote something in one of my old newsletters).

She told me he retired in either '51 or '52. Interestingly, his namesake company didn't have his creative mind to rely on when the younger model that was Topps pulled into the showroom.

In any case, in 1955 the Bowman Gum Company was trying to tie into the TV boom but Mr. Bowman was spending his time in St. Petersburg, messing around in his garage.

Anonymous said...

I have what I think is a 1953 Bowman salesmans sample but it is only a 3 panel strip with regular backs as I recall. I bought it along with other 1950s Salesmans samples about 25 years ago in a group purchase. The others are a few non sports from the 1950s and some 57 and 58 Topps baseball. E Mail if you want scans or want to discuss. I am not a seller at this time. Rocky NiceDocter@aol.com

SteveGaylo said...

Here's a link to an image of several 1953 Bowman Color 3-card samples at an online auction site that recently was offered.


http://www.oldjudge.com/archive/200511/baseball/topps_bowman/203/

SteveGaylo said...

Here's a link to an image of several 1953 Bowman Color 3-card sales sample panels. They were offered recently at an online auction website.

http://www.oldjudge.com/archive/200511/baseball/topps_bowman/203/

toppcat said...

I actually own one of those-I will post it soon I think.

Marc S. said...

The blonde version upside down is not an anomaly. The Salesman Samples for the 1955 Bowman cards were simply three card panels from an uncut sheet with a sticker attached on the back. The sticker covered the entire three cards. Now, I am not sure if the sticker was affixed prior or after cutting, but my guess is prior. I have seen examples where the back sticker has been partially removed, and it is clearly a fully printed card back underneath.

The blonde example is similar to a feature you see elsewhere in the set. There are a few cards, between the series, where sometimes you get a dark wood strip on a blonde card, and a blonde strip on a dark wood card. This is merely a function of cutting and how the sheets were put together.

Hope this helps,
Marc Schoenen -- who used to own nearly two dozen 1955 Bowman Salesman Sample strips