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Old 05-18-2018, 11:26 PM
steve B steve B is offline
Steve Birmingham
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Location: eastern Mass.
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The overall process would lead to them, especially in a place that was focused on production over quality.
The color strips on the 56s could come from a couple things.

One would be the original pasteup, which I believe Topps did in blocks or strips. So there would be a bit of original art (Using art pretty loosely, whatever you're making a plate of is the "art" even if it's text. ) The team boxes and the name/position box would be glued onto the pictures used for that block. If it's done a bit sloppy the picture shows over the box. Then when you photo the art for color separations, it becomes part of the negative.

More likely, it happened while making the raw negatives into the masks - large plate sized opaque paper with an assortment of negatives taped on making one large negative the plate is exposed from.

That would probably have had the art for the images initially just as pictures, one plate for each color CMYK at a minimum. The area where the team and name boxes were to go would have probably been blocked off by the mask paper. The Williams strips show some small cropping differences on the image that are consistent with the sort of stripe.
The blocks with the information would have been photographed all at once, and small negatives cut out.
Then those would be put onto the mask. The easy way is to make a small mask, which will make a non- printed area around the block. Then cut a hole in the negative and tape the small mask with the block into place. But only on the mask for that color or colors. If that small mask was added higher or lower a small bit of the underlying picture would show around the edge.
On one, what was left showing was a thin line of blue. On the others, one got a thick line of yellow and Magenta, while the other got all the colors also in a thick line.
I believe the different lines aren't different press runs, but are different individual instances on the plate. They would be consistent as long as the same mask was used, even if more than one set of plates was made.

None of that would be intentional, just sloppy work.

So very similar to the differences on the 52 Mantle. Interestingly, the numbers for the different versions are located slightly differently in relation to the laces. That would probably be from the laces and number being added to the mask individually. That's a good deal of extra work compared to having the number on the original art. It's hard to see a reason to make one left laces and one right, but it was done on all three doubleprints, so maybe it was intentional.


A number of 1981 Fleer were done sloppily so the tape holding the negative to the mask shows in the picture. I haven't seen any corrected ones.
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