Cycleback's THE VINTAGE COLLECTOR
by David Rudd
** The Vintage Collector is an occasional email/online newsletter. Questions, comments and submissions are encouraged and welcome.
* Random Drawing: Win a Photograph
* Q & A
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FREE RANDOM DRAW
This newsletter will occasionally have a random draw for a prize. The winner of the last draw, for a Kellen Winslow Autographed card, was Don Gitersonke of Las Vegas.
THE NEW PRIZE: Original 1968 Ray Gora Photograph of Luis Aparicio and Luis Jr. Gora was a prominent photographer for the Chicago Tribune. This sharp black and white 8X10" photo shows the Venezuelan baseball great, Aparicio, in his Chicago White Sox uniform before a game. He is posing for the camera with his perhaps eight year old son, who also has a White Sox cap and fielding glove. An attractive, appealing and rare original photograph.
HOW TO ENTER: Email to say you wish to enter. Entering is free. After a few days, a winner will be randomly picked and notified.
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Q & A
QUESTION: What is a progression proof?
ANSWER: Progression proofs were proofs, or test prints, that were used by the printers to test the colors and color alignment before final printing. There was a series of progression proofs for a print, with each proof testing a unique color combination. For example, one proof was printed in black and white, the next black and yellow, the next blue and red, and so on. The set will show the prints in a variety, or progression, of colors. Progression proofs are often also called 'color separation proofs,' or 'color separation tests,' all which are acceptable names.
The below link shows a progression proof set for a baseball card.
QUESTION: Concerning the Andy Warhol print in the last newsletter, how are Warhol's print authenticated? Can a normal collector authenticate one?
One other question. I'm an Englishman, working in Oslo. How come football isn't popular in America?
ANSWER: A thorough discussion of Warhol's prints wouldn't fit into the newsletter.
For the experienced collector, the examination of Warhol's limited is straightforward. Warhol produced relatively few limited prints. As he was famous at an early age, had a recent career and was calculating (I don't meant that in a derogatory sense), there are ample and useful public records on his prints. A key resource is the book 'Andy Warhol Prints: A catalogue Raisonne 1962-87' by Frayda Feldman and Jorg Schellman, published by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. It is an expensive but essential book for the potential collector, dealer or historian. It covers the details about the prints, including what type of paper or board was used, size, how they were signed and numbered it. It is also fully and colorfully illustrated, making it a worthy coffee table book.
I also recommend that the collector get pictures of Warhol's signature (which I will provide upon request). While most of us are not autograph experts, I believe that the studios collector can get a feel for a signature.
Lastly, it is prudent to buy one of the prints from a respected and knowledgeable seller that provides proper paper documentation. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, in New York City, examines Warhol prints and will provide a certificate of approval if a print is deemed authentic.
As far as soccer (as we Americans call it) goes, I think it comes down to tradition and that US is already a sports saturated society without much room for new sports. A sport will only gather a large audience if the US is one of the top teams. Obviously, the US is not a soccer power, but the recent World Cup step is a good step in gaining fan support. It is worth noting that the three most popular team sports in the U.S. (American football, baseball and basketball) were either invented or developed in the U.S. At the least, this fact shows the long tradition of the sports here.
Though not as a popular spectator sport, soccer is popular in the U.S. It's commonly played by kids, in high schools and colleges. I played it as a kid.
I saw a British coach for a U.S. team say that Americans like team sports where, at any given moment, the fan knows exactly what is going on. I'm a baseball centric person, and baseball is structured in the extreme, with frequent pauses and startups, things like pitch counts, and bags, boxes and rubbers that the players have to stand on or in. Any baseball fan is familiar with the extreme statistical analysis that goes on during and after a game. A sport for the anal retentive. This soccer coach said that soccer is more free flowing and not natural to American audiences.
QUESTION: How rare are original Ty Cobb photographs from his playing days? Who's the toughest to find if not him?
ANSWER: Cobb played from about 1907-1928 and original photographs of all Hall of Famers from that period is scarce, especially if you're comparing it to baseball cards. From my experience Cobb photos are the second most common player photos from this time, with Babe Ruth being #1 by far. From this time period, managers John McGraw and Connie Mack are also common.
Original Cobb photos, especially attractive ones, are still scarce and, due to his great popularity with collectors, expensive.
From this early 1900s, original Christy Matheson photos are the rarest for big name players. Though my guess is more examples will hit the market some day.
QUESTION: I read that a dealer cut up complete sheets of 1957 Topps baseball cards into singles and had them graded in high grade. Is this good or bad?
ANSWER: I'm not quite sure what you mean by good or bad. It is a matter of prevailing taste and honesty.
Many collectors are against cutting up old sheets like this. The first reason is that original, unusual material like this shouldn't be destroyed. It is true uncut sheets that old are rare and there's no going back once you've applied the paper cutter. While I appreciate the sentiments, this first argument more often than not is a crock argument. It is often the people who demand that the material be 'preserved' who were unwilling to buy the original material unless it's offered at bargain basement prices. In other words, they have no problem preserving something with someone else's pocket book.
The second reason against cutting up sheets would be these collectors do not consider a 1957 Topps card 'official' unless it was cut in 1957. They might buy the modern cut card, but at a discount. As a collector, I hold the same sentiments, which is not to suggest that these sentiments are entirely rational. Most collecting sentiments and fashions are not meant for rational analysis.
As a rule, there is nothing inherently wrong with alteration, whether it's cutting a card from a sheet or restoring a print, as long as the potential buyer is made aware of the alteration. I don't know how these 1957 Topps cards were represented upon sale, but it would seem best that be represented as modern cut cards. The potential buyer should be the one to decide whether or not that is important, not the seller.
I am familiar with the 1957 Topps sheets you talk about. For those unfamiliar with the story, people restoring a house in Philadelphia discovered the complete sheets of 1957 Topps baseball cards were being used as insulation within the walls. These sheets were about 3X2 feet, and had over 100 cards per sheet. 1957 is one of the most popular years for Topps cards, and the sheets contain the usual run of stars, including Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Hank Aaron. As you might expect, the sheets were in varying degrees of decrepitude. On a typical sheet, parts were clean, while other areas were torn and water damaged. As a matter of practical ness, some of the problematic sheets were cut down into partial sheets and large panels.
I bought several of the panels and partial sheets. While I didn't cut out any cards (I promise!), I found little interest in them upon resale. It is the dealer who I bought my panels from who eventually cut up some of his sheet and submitted them to a well known grader. Considering the lack of interest in the panels/partial sheets I understand his reasoning for cutting them down into cards. According to this dealer, he asked the grader if the cards would be graded if he cut them off the sheets and to the correct size, and the grader said that was okay.
QUESTION: What's a 'gold tone tintype'? I saw someone selling one.
ANSWER: Without having seen it, I suspect that the person was selling a gold tone, or orotone photograph. There was a brief article about the goldtone and related photographs in the newsletter's archives. See http://cycleback.com/solidtypes.htm. In short the gold tone photograph has the image on a pane of glass backed in gold. A tintype is something else, with the image on iron.
One significant point is that, with unusual exceptions, a tintype is a one of a kind, while there can be more than one copy of a particular gold tone.
QUESTION: How does infrared photography related to the infrared stuff you talked about in the last newsletter?
ANSWER: Infrared photography is same thing but in a different application. Many hobby and art photographers take infrared photographs using infrared film that only is receptive to infrared light. Some digital cameras can be made to do the same thing with a special screw on filter. As said in the last newsletter, different things, whether they are paints or animals or trees, absorb and emit infrared light differently. The resulting photographs have a dream/nightmare-like quality. Plants, including grass and tree leaves, appear like snow. Large bodies of water often appear black. Cold blooded animals, like alligators, often appear dark. Warm blooded animals often appear light.
QUESTION: Do the card grading companies use infrared equipment to detect alterations?
ANSWER: I don't know, you would have to ask them.
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That's it, thanks for reading
The Vintage Collector's Archives can be viewed at http://www.cycleback.com/newsletter.html