QUESTION: What's a gold
season baseball pass?
ANSWER: It's very rare ... In the old days, a
person might get a regular
cardboard season pass, that allowed him or her to go to any of the games.
Rarer are silver season passes (solid metal) that were given to VIPs,
former baseball stars or managers. The silver passes come in a variety of
designs, and are often like medallions. They
often have little metal loops
so they could be worn as a necklace or on a watch fob. Even rarer
season passes (gold) that were given to super duper VIPs. I've only
two gold season passes offered before. One that was given to 19th
boxing heavyweight champ John Sullivan and one that was given to musical
composer George M. Cohan. Both came in
custom leather holders. One of
these was in an 'Antiques Roadshow' television
show of all places.
Though I've never seen in person a gold pass, I did have the silver pass
that belonged to Edd Roush's wife. It was
in the design of a fan of bats
and had her name etched on the back. I got it from Edd Roush's
granddaughter. If you follow auctions and sales, you will find
passes around. While not cheap, many are within the range of the
QUESTION: Is it hard to find original photos of Bronco Nagurski from his
playing days? .... For the old ACME photos, what is the image
ANSWER: I don't regularly scower eBay or
wherever for Nagurski photos, but
I'm confident that original 1930s photos of him at U of Minnesota or the
Chicago Bears are scarce. A good one would be expensive, only in
because there are some advanced Chicago Bears photograph collectors out
there. You know the kind of collectors: if they want it, they'll
To put it in perspective, I once had a 1947 photo showing him as an
assistant coach at UCLA that sold for over $100.
Original playing days photos of Red Grange and
Jim Thorpe would have similar
The quality will vary for old-time news service and press photos (ACME,
International News Pictures, Associated Press, United Press, etc), but
best ones will have perfect and crystal clear images- can count the
of grass and leaves on the trees. For the original photos (as
wirephotos), the consistency of the image
clarity and poses is good, as the
photographers were professionals. Of the ones I own, a small fraction have
substantial image problems.
A few people are disdainful of news service photos, but many of the most
famous and talented photographers were for these services. The best
United Press photo has no apologizing to do.
QUESTION: Two questions concerning your link about fashion photos.
can slides and transparencies be found for sports? Second, could I
a slide with some sort of back lighting?
ANSWERS: Transparencies and slides (a transparency in a cardboard holder)
are a standard way of making paper photographs. They are just like
negatives, except the image is positive. You can hold the transparency
the light and the image will look normal. They are most commonly
make color photos. As they will fade if exposed to light, they
should not be displayed so they are exposed for lengthy periods of time.
However, the collector could have a display photograph made from the
transparency for display. This is something I have done
myself. If you
have a good scanner, you can make a high resolution
scan and print out a
decent computer print yourself. You can even scan a negative and,
graphics program, print out the positive image.
Transparencies and slides can be found in all genres, including
have seen football transparencies by the famous sports photographer Ozzie
Sweet, and Leland's recently had in auction some sharp ones of Muhammad
For some reason, Leland's called the Ali transparencies 'chromes.'
the term offends me, I'd just never heard it before
The best slides and transparencies, have stunning color and focus.
As when considering buying all photographs, the subject and quality of
image is essential when determining a value.
QUESTION: This is a really dumb question. In a MastroNet
auction I saw some
of the original paintings for the 1953 Topps
cards. How did Topps make a
painting into a card?
ANSWER: The same way calendars have pictures of the Mona Lisa on them.
Without getting in depth, Topps hired artists
to make the players'
paintings. Topps' printers would take a
photo of one of the paintings and
make a plastic negative of it. Though a technical process, the
image from the negative would be transferred to a printing plate (one
printing plate for each color), and the printing plates were used to
the color image of the player on the front of the card.
It's not too far different from if you took a digital image of a painting
your wall and printed the digital image out on your computer
done, you'd have both the computer print and the original painting.
QUESTION: How come you never seem to see original printing plates for
Pre-War baseball cards, like the T206s?
ANSWER: The printers had no use for the finished printing plates (after
they were only for silly baseball cards), and would clean off the
throw away and/or melt down the plates for other purposes. The
plate necessary for cards like the 1915 Sporting News were large, heavy
bulky and I'm sure the printers were in a position to let these types of
plate pile of in a backroom.
QUESTION: What's the most bizarre piece of memorabilia you've ever owned?
ANSWER: Ted William's World War II era half full shampoo bottle and half
used chapstick. I tried to convince a
neighborhood 10 year old baseball fan
to wash his hair with the shampoo, but his mom didn't think that was a
idea. One would have to be mentally unbalanced to apply the chapstick.
Examining it closely is like watching 'Jaws': you'll be scared to open
bathroom cabinet for a week.
QUESTION: What does a 'drystamp' mean on a photograph.
ANSWER: It is an embossed stamp without ink. You can rub your
and feel it. Some photographer's 'sign' their photos that
collectors, the photographer's drystamp is a
strong sign that the photo is
For example, say you paid a couple hundred dollars for what was
as a 1930 Greta Garbo photo by Ruth Harriett
Louise (MGM's official
photographer). If the photo looks genuine and the lower corner has
drystamp, you're in good shape.
QUESTION: I read your article on collecting fashion photos
How does a collector tell who is the
photographer for a photo? Will it be marked on back?
ANSWER: Often times the photographer's name is on the photograph- whether
by stamp or handwriting. Many photos have no indication.
However, as many of the photographs were intended for publication in a
magazine or fashion
catalog, legwork can find the answer. Some experts in the area can
who is the photographer and issuer even when
there is no marking.
If applicable to the photographs I own, I try and get a copy of the
publication in which it was published. The pairing is both neat and
enhances the value. This is often easier said than done, especially
don't know where or where the image was published.
QUESTION: I collect Exhibit Supply Company Wrestling cards and you
your site that the 1930 Bronco Nagurski was
there other wrestlers also
not actually made like that?
ANSWER: Including the Nagurski, there are
eleven 'ghost' cards from the
1930s Exhibit Supply Company wrestling sets. For these only
art exists. The corresponding finished cards have never been found.
are as follows:
Jim Browning, American
Abe Coleman, Poland
Abie Coleman [no country listed]
John Freberg, Sweden
William 'Scotty' McDougal, Scotland
Bonny Muir, Australia
Bronco Nagurski [no country listed]
John Richthoff, Sweden
Karl Sarpolis, Lithuanian
Oki Shikina, Japan
Jagot Sing, Hindu
On the art, the wrestler's origin (as listed above) is below the
name. Some of the above wrestlers may be a second different card
exist, as some wrestler's hand different cards. When there are two
for a wrestler, the images are completely different and usually also the
The recommended resource for wrestling card checklists is the 'Vintage
Wrestling Cards Archive' at http://x-titles.com/wc/index.html
QUESTION: What sells better original football photographs or original
ANSWER: Both baseball and football photographs have healthy collecting
markets. With highest end items, Major League Baseball will fetch
prices than pro football. With quality but middle range items
photos, for instance) the market and prices is about the same.
Currently there is a healthy market for nice vintage college football photos
(Notre Dame to Yale). With a particularly nice example, both football
and college collectors will be interested (Each college collector
specializing in a particular school). I've found that, on average,
college football photo will sell about the same as a similar NFL photo.