The Vintage Collector home



By David Rudd Cycleback


Issue:  May 17th 2002




* Item of the Week: Fatty Arbuckle�s Only Baseball Card

* Q & A: 1927 Fro Joy Babe Ruth

* Collagraph: What is it and How to Make One



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1919 Zeenuts Roscoe �Fatty� Atbuckle. 


This candy card, smaller than a credit card, is amongst the most desirable baseball cards of a non-player.  At the time of issue, Arbuckle was one of Hollywood�s leading silent movie comedians.  He was also part owner of the Pacific Coast League�s Vernon Tigers baseball team� thus, his inclusion in the Zeenut set.  The card shows him, in sunny days, pretending to eat a baseball.  Similar to O.J. Simpson, Arbuckle�s career was soon after ruined to scandal, after being acquitted of murder.  He died in 1932, at the age of 46


The Zeenut cards were issued annually from 1911-38 by the Collins-McCarthy Candy Co., of San Fransisco.  Zeenuts was one of Collins-McCarthy�s brands of candy. The cards depict players in the Pacific Coast League, a prominent minor league.  Numerous future stars appeard on these cards, including Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Lombardi, Paul Waner and Lefty Gomez.




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QUESTION: How can I tell if a 1927 Fro Joy Babe Ruth card is the real one or reprint? 


ANSWER: The rule of thumb with the Froy Joy Babe Ruth cards and uncut sheets is to only buy one if you really know what you are doing, or from someone who really knows what he or she�s doing. 


I�ve never owned one of the cards, but my guess is that the original printing is relief with halftone (aka photoengraving with halftone).  If you have a microscope, this is type of printing is identifiable by the distinct pattern and consintancy of the ink.  This type of printing is pictured, described in detail in the Authentication of Prints/Photos book.


For those unfamiliar with the cards, here�s a brief history.  In 1927 Fro Joy brand ice cream issued a set of black and white trading cards black depicting Babe Ruth in various poses (portrait, batting grip, sliding into base, etc).  The backs of the cards have Fro Joy ads.  The 1927 ice cream eater could mail in a set for a photograh of Ruth swiging the bat and an uncut sheet of the cards. 


The cards and sheets are scarce on the market.  The problem is that in later years the cards and sheets were reprinted without authorization.  The reprints come in the original black, and also in blue and white and multi color.  Knowing that the originals are only black and white, the average collector can quickly identify the blue and multi-colored cards and sheets as fakes.  However, the black and white reprints also far outnumber the originals, so great care should be taken when buying one.





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Collagraph and etching, by Rachel Kantaras


A collagraph is a print made from a collage of items glued to a sheet of cardboard, metal or similar flat material.  It should not be confused with �collatype,� which is a type of photomechanical printing.   The collagraph is primarly used in the fine arts.   Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Georges Braque were famous practitioners.  The collagraph is a relatively modern form of printing, probably originating in the late 1800s.


A wide variety of objects can be attached to the plate to give a wide and wild variety of designs and textures.  Common materials include cardboard cutouts, pieces of metal and wood, sand and glue.  The collagraph plates can be printed in relief (meaning, the ink is placed on the highest parts), in intaglio (meaning, the ink is placed in the lowest parts) or both.  The prints often have the plate mark, or pressed in area engulfing the printed area, that is typical to intaglio prints.  Collagraphs are often combined with other printing methods, including lithography, woodcut and etching.



Making your own collagraph.


Collagraphs are fun, easy and allow for imagination and experimentation.  Both kids and adults can make them.  As there are so many different and combinations of materials that can be used, there is almost a limitless variety of styles and designs one can make.

      This following simple example will show you how to make a simple collagraph printed in the relief manner. 



Plate = flat sheet of cardboard, metal, wood or similar material

Ink or paint


Brush or roller for applying ink

Paper to make your print on

Cardboard for making designs to paste to the plate. 

Stuff to clean up your mess





1) Cut out cardboard figures or other designs you want have in your print (trees, dog, clouds, whatever).


2) Glue the cardboard figures onto the plate.  Hot glue dries fast.  If you use Elmer�s glue, you will have to wait a while for it to dry.  You can glue other items to the plate if you wish (coins, stones, wood, design in glue).  Just realize that, for proper printing, everything has to be of similar height.

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3) With brush and/or roller, apply the ink or paint to the top surface of the items you pasted to the plate.



4) Place your piece of paper on top of your printing plate.  Apply pressure (with hand, paper towel other).  Remove the paper, by slowly pealing it from one side.


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5) You have made a collagraph.  If you like your design, you can re-ink your printing plate and make as many prints as you want.  You can add further detail to your print by hand painting or drawing designs.





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That�s it, thanks for reading        



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