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Old 09-11-2019, 09:19 AM
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Great info, David. Thanks so much for sharing...

Originally Posted by trdcrdkid View Post
The full-color ones are one of two variants printed by the Courier Lithographic Company of Buffalo, the other variant being the "almost monochrome" three-color cards. Both sets have the same images except for the color, and they have a Merchant's Gargling Oil ad in the bottom panel and "The Courier Lith. Co., Buffalo N.Y." somewhere on the front of the card. Some also have a Merchant's Gargling Oil ad on the back as well, but most have ads for other products. The full color ones are harder to find than the three-color ones, but neither set is too difficult.

Another common variant of the set was printed by Gies & Co. lithographers, also of Buffalo. They have the same images as the three-color Courier cards, but the Merchant's ad in the bottom panel uses a slightly different font (the difference is noticeable when seen side-by-side), and they say "Gies & Co Buffalo N.Y." somewhere on the front. These are also sometimes found with a Merchant's Gargling Oil ad on the back, unlike the remaining variants listed below.

Probably the toughest variant is the cards printed by Karle & Co. of Rochester. They have the same basic images as the Courier and Gies cards, but they're noticeably different, with sharper outlines and a slightly darker background. The Merchant's Gargling Oil ad at the bottom uses a different font than the other two, with "MERCHANT'S GARGLING OIL" in a serif font that looks very different from the rest of the text. Only three of the five cards have been seen in the Karle variant ("The Hero of a Home Run. The Ladies' Favorite", "A Close Affair. Hugging the Bat", and "Something Must Be Done! Put It There!"), of which I have the first two.

The fifth variant set was printed by Clay & Richmond of Buffalo. The images are very similar to the Courier ones, but with noticeable differences when you look at them, especially in the shadows. The Merchant's ad at the bottom is in yet another different font, a smaller one which changes the lineation. Clay & Richmond was also the lithographer for the popular Capadura Cigars baseball trade card set, and the images in that set are very similar to these.

Finally, the sixth variant has no Merchant's Garging Oil ad in the panel at the bottom (which is blank), and no lithographer identification. I'm pretty sure these were also printed by Clay & Richmond, because the images are exactly the same, and one of my cards of this type has "Clay & Richmond, Buffalo N.Y." on the front. (My other copy of the same card in this variant does not have that line.) I have two sets of this variant, and both of them lack any ad on either the front or the back.
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