Sunday, September 20, 2009

Standard Catalog Update #27 : '56 Schmidt variation?

There seems to be a lot more interest in vintage variations right now than there was when I left the Standard Catalog helm 3-1/2 years ago. I'm guessing that's a result of the ever-increasing role of the internet in facilitation collector communications, and especially the easy sharing of card images that can used for variation verification.

An old-school variation hunter and long-time catalog contributor Al Richter of Texas recently sent a batch of color photocopies of various 1950s-1970s variations. One of which I'm sharing here with you in an effort to determine whether or not it will be listed in future editions of the catalog.

Frankly, in my current second-term as vintage editor for the "big book," I am going to be a lot tougher on variation additions. The internet information explosion has resulted in the "discovery" of dozens -- even hundreds -- of minor variations that are obviously the result of printing problems, rather than intentional corrections of design or textual errors. The various card forums I follow are full of reports of this card or that card with a gap in the black border surrounding a photo, or a missing spot of color on a graphic, or a stray scratch or splotch on a photo. Most of these will not find their way into the catalog, even though they may be virtually identical to some of the variations already listed. In fact, it is more likely that some currently listed minor variations will likely be removed from future editions.

The card pictured above, however, has caught my interest more than once on forums. As you can see, there is a blank box where Schmidt's previous year losses (it was 6) should appear. In fact, on most #323 backs, the "6" does appear.

What I'm trying to determine with this presentation is whether or not sufficient numbers of the "no losses" variation card exist to warrant listing as a variation, or whether Al's card is just an anomaly caused by a stray bit of flotsam getting between the plate and the cardboard on one or a handful of examples.

Please, respond with a comment if you can shed any light on this variation.


New information on this variation situation has surfaced. Please check back on Sept. 22 for an update.

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