Thursday, May 19, 2011

For '52T fanatics. Gaps in your collection?

One of the greatest aspects of collecting baseball cards is that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to collect. Unlike coins and stamps, where the popular albums define the boundaries of a collection, in cards we're free to pick and choose what appeals to us.

Sure, to an extent the principal reference books like the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards present checklists of "complete" sets, but since these references are not "official," and in many cases are not all-inclusive, each collector can decide what constitutes a complete set.

This is particularly true of error and variation cards. Few collectors agree on exactly what constitutes an error or a variation, and their collecting pursuits are guided accordingly.

Back on May 8, we presented a newly reported Frank House variation card in 1952 Topps by Tom Killeen of Massachusetts. That card seems to fit the generally accepted hobby definition of a variation: requiring human intervention to create.

Killeen also sent along information and scans of two other 1952 Topps cards that may of interest to collectors of 1952 Topps and/or errors and variations.

Each of these cards exhibits a gap in the black frame line that separates the central picture portion of the card from the white border. The gaps are small, and could easily go unnoticed, but Killeen has sent confirmation of the existence of several examples of each card.

The cards affected are #99 Gene Woodling and #116 Carl Scheib.

It is probably impossible to pinpoint the cause of these gaps 60 years after the fact. They may have occurred in the pre-press color stripping process. More likely they occurred when wear or damage to the black printing plate resulted in part of the frame line being removed. Technically, if the former was the case, the correction of that error after it was discovered would fit the definition of a man-made variation. However, since the wear/damage theory would present the same gaps on the finished cards, it's unlike these two '52Ts will be added to the catalog's listings.

They're presented here because a fellow collector took the time and made the effort to study these anomalies and to share his findings with you. For that, Tom Killeen deserves our thanks.

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