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  #21  
Old 01-11-2018, 03:19 PM
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swarmee swarmee is offline
J0hn Raff3rty
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Well, lowpopper sent me 5 unopened packs of these when I only asked for the Friendly insert card, so I really appreciate it. I got two packs of Randy Johnson and three commons. Now I have to figure out something I think he will like as a return piece of the trade... it will be mailed tomorrow. Thanks!
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  #22  
Old 01-12-2018, 05:07 AM
Rich Klein Rich Klein is offline
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I wish I still had the letters we received from collectors in 1990-91 who received the Thomas out of the pack while we were working on exactly what that card was.

I have no doubt from my memory that these cards are legit, were put into packs, and more importantly it was just a printing fluke which make the NNOF. Since we were a publishing company in those days, we had tons of people with printing experience. I still remember we showed one of our pre-press managers the card and he said the error was a printing mistake and was absolutely legit.

Rich
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  #23  
Old 01-12-2018, 05:46 AM
West West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Klein View Post
I wish I still had the letters we received from collectors in 1990-91 who received the Thomas out of the pack while we were working on exactly what that card was.

I have no doubt from my memory that these cards are legit, were put into packs, and more importantly it was just a printing fluke which make the NNOF. Since we were a publishing company in those days, we had tons of people with printing experience. I still remember we showed one of our pre-press managers the card and he said the error was a printing mistake and was absolutely legit.

Rich
Thanks a lot for your response Rich. I've been working on something - independently of this thread - regarding this card and I may PM you for a bit of information at some point.

An educated opinion from someone with pre-press or plate making experience would be very helpful as I am always looking for more opinions on these cards.

One thing I might note on the print variation vs. printing defect discussion. Many people have termed the NNOF and the other blackless errors a "short run print defect". When I think of print defect, I think of fisheyes, ink run, solvent drips and the like. The most convincing theory that I have seen put forth regarding the cause of the error contends that the error was the result of a bad plate, which in my opinion is quite different from a print defect. According to those with printing experience, that is the only way that this error could be exactly reproduced in quantities in the hundreds. The cause of the plate production error is still in dispute. The most likely hypothesis that I've seen (from forum member Steve B) is that a piece of tape or paper blocked the negatives from being exposed onto the black printing plate when the plate was made. This theory makes a great deal of sense to me given the conditions required to produce an exact replica of the error over a print run of 400-1000 sheets. Also, when looking at the physical shape of the error, it appears that tape or paper could very well be the culprit. Looking at different examples of errors in the "Show me your...print variations" thread that were caused by solvent or water drips, this fact becomes fairly indisputable.

I wholeheartedly agree that the error was indeed a printing mistake and not an intentional move by Topps to recreate the Fleer FF fiasco or generate buzz. At the same time, I think that knowledge of exactly how this error occurred is beneficial to collectors who want to reach an understanding of what constitutes a simple print defect (fisheye, etc), a print variation (an actual change in the printing plates, such as the different Fleer FF versions) or a print error (the player's name mispelled, wrong team, etc).

If we accept the conclusion that the error was produced with its own set of printing plates, and then had to be corrected by producing a new set of plates, I would be inclined to characterize the NNOF and the other dozen errors as true printing variations (not just a random "print defect"), worthy of their inclusion in the PSA registry.

Last edited by West; 01-12-2018 at 07:23 AM.
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  #24  
Old 01-12-2018, 10:25 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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Well, it's limited but I do have experience in most of the departments of a small print shop.

I worked in one in High school. While I was technically there to do cleaning, the place had us do other tasks after our regular work was done, sometimes before if things were busy enough. So I got cross trained in everything eventually. To them it was handy to have extra help available if someone was hurt or sick. Generally though the other guys would slide into the tougher jobs, and I'd get into one of the easier jobs.

I had a piece of art I did made into a small poster, so I've done original art. (After the yearbook company cut it in half )

I helped a couple times in the camera room. - Yes, literally a camera that was room sized. Lighting and original art on a large sliding holder, camera in the wall, and darkroom behind the camera to develop the huge negatives. Other than the size and ability to scale the size of the resulting negative it's just like operating most other cameras.

When the camera guy drank a bit too much and "cleaned" the camera room stirring up a ton of dust just before shooting a big job, I got to spend a few days fixing the masks with some special whiteout or tape. Interesting stuff, semi transparent red scotch tape that would block the light used to expose the plates.

I helped a couple times in the platemaking room, another biggish job and even essentially untrained I helped get it done a bit quicker. Made probably 5-6 plates?

My last week one of the press operators got hurt and I got to run a 35" Heidelberg sheetfed press. They didn't expect I'd be as fast as the regular guys, and told me to just concentrate on quality. By the end of the week I was doing pretty well on speed too.

I got to do a lot of stuff in the bindery. That was "my" area to keep up with (and the stockroom, but that's not anything fancy) I didn't get to do any setup work, but ran a bunch of the machines. The only ones I didn't get to run were the cutters, but they're simple and I was around them every day for a bit over 2 years. In a later job I ended up going back there and repairing one of the cutters (I did 11 years of hydraulic repairs)

Also did a bit of shipping/receiving, plant maintenance, carpentry, painting....
But no front office work, like cost estimating or sales etc. (I don't count the hour watching the phone while the office people had a meeting about something. It didn't ring, so it was pretty much just sitting there. )


Topps I think farmed out some of the printing at the time, and was more of a high production lower quality sort of shop. They also did FAR more proofing than we did. The handful of proofs I saw at our place were basically photo mockups of booklets done from the masks and hand folded/stapled.

Steve B
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  #25  
Old 01-12-2018, 10:58 AM
West West is offline
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Hi Steve
From everything I've read, Topps subcontracted printing until around 1983-'85 and then brought most if not all of it in house from then until the early-mid-90's (haven't researched beyond '93 and have no interest to).

Because of this, and the clear evidence of an east coast distribution, I believe the Thomas NNOF was printed at the factory in Duryea. The biggest challenge has been trying to figure out if it was a first run error or something that occurred in the middle of the press run. I've gotten first hand reports of the NNOF being pulled from a pack as late as April 1990 which would have been well into the press run if it had come straight from Duryea to the retail display rack. But it very well could have been sitting in a store room for 5 months before the pack was purchased.
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  #26  
Old 01-14-2018, 10:44 AM
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I'm not entirely sure what Topps ever printed in Duryea but would love to find out. Len Brown once said in an interview they did so "much later" (referring back to the beginning in '66 there) but they would have had to reconfigure the plant to do so and late 80's/early 90's were a time of economic issues for Topps. I do know a lot of the lithographers they used historically were out of business by 1984 or so, some a lot earlier than that. It's a bit of a mystery what they may have printed themselves vs third parties after they lost their long time printers.

Has anyone ever seen anything from the 1980's or 90's indicating where they printed cards? I think they closed Duryea in 1996, or at least drastically cut back their lease space at that time, although a nearby plant in Scranton remained (and remains) open but I think they just made candy products there. It makes Ring Pops today apparently.
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  #27  
Old 01-14-2018, 01:07 PM
West West is offline
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I've seen evidence of some of the less mainstream stuff (usually products associated with motion pictures) being printed in Ireland. The rest of the sports product from the 1980s that I've seen came from Duryea.

Last edited by West; 01-14-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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  #28  
Old 01-14-2018, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by West View Post
I've seen evidence of some of the less mainstream stuff (usually products associated with motion pictures) being printed in Ireland. The rest of the sports product from the 1980s that I've seen came from Duryea.
Yes, they had a huge facility in Ireland-I think they still do. They would occasionally import items from there for the US market.

I got the feeling the items Len Brown was talking about were the "new" cards made from 1994 onward but could be mistaken. When you say they came from Duryea, if you are referring to the copyright on the wrapper, that does not indicate where they were printed but rather where the packs were assembled with cards, gum and wrapper coming together. Some products would still have a Brooklyn address after they switched almast all the wrappers to Duryea in mid '69 but nothing was packaged there after 1966. For some products, it would seem using NY as their legal address meant more sense than PA, maybe due to licensing or regulatory concerns.

Last edited by toppcat; 01-14-2018 at 01:46 PM.
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  #29  
Old 01-14-2018, 02:24 PM
West West is offline
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From 1982:


"Space creature helps unemployment
Aug. 27, 1982

DURYEA, Pa. -- Topps Chewing Gum Inc., riding the success of the year's most popular space alien, says it will delay seasonal layoffs and recall other workers to meet the demand for 'E.T.' bubblegum cards.

Topps Chairman Arthur Shorin said Thursday the firm also plans to market other products related to the successful Steven Spielberg film later this year.

'We knew the movie had every chance to be a hit, but we didn't know how big of a hit,' Shorin said. 'We're delighted to see how it turned out.'

Topps spokesman Norman Liss reported 'excellent sales' of 'E.T.' cards, which it markets in 30-cent packets of 10 that also include a slice of gum and a sticker.

Liss said 25 employees who had been furloughed by the firm's Duryea plant will return to work Monday and the company will delay its usual seasonal layoffs to keep up with the demand.

The plant, which employs 675 people, makes the bubblegum sold with the 'E.T.' cards and the firm's more famous baseball and football cards.

Liss said the 'E.T' cards are printed 'in different places, which we don't say for security reasons.'

Shorin said Topps will introduce an 'E.T.' sticker album in the fall and plans to market plastic figures filled with candy by Christmas. Other products, which Shorin declined to describe, are on the drawing board.

'We have a good ability to maximize on a property such as this,' he said. 'At this point, we think good combinations are possible.'

Neither Shorin nor Liss would comment on how much revenue the company expects to realize from its 'E.T.' product line.

Shorin said the company obtained the bubblegum card rights to 'E.T.' long before the motion picture's release, 'but we had a great deal of faith in Steven Spielberg and his organomething America needs. It's a refreshing character.'
"
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  #30  
Old 01-14-2018, 05:27 PM
Rich Klein Rich Klein is offline
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The "Tiffany" Sets were all printed in Ireland as were the Traded sets and I think 1-2 other products. So in the 1984-91 realm there are definitely two different printing places (if not more).

Rich
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