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Old 09-23-2020, 08:50 AM
steve5838 steve5838 is offline
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 42
Default Versions of "Marlboro Ad on Scoreboard"

Hi everyone. Sorry it has taken so long. Over the last couple months I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to wrap my mind around the “best” way to extend my classification figure of the Randy Johnson Marlboro cards. I have over 70 of the 1989 Fleer Randy Johnson cards which I believe PSA could label as "Marlboro Ad on Scoreboard" (over 40 of these are graded by PSA or BGS). Of course there is a wide range of versions which could fall under this label. I want to preface this by saying that this was my attempt at classifying the different versions under this heading. That said, I am sure not everyone will agree with what I've put together and am equally sure that there could be better ways of doing this. Also, I am limited due to the size and scope of my collection (I have not actively collected the blackbox or fish versions). Just because I don’t show a particular version only means that I don’t have that version (not that it doesn’t exist). That said, for me, the resulting classification provides some order to help me better understand (and gives me a new way to think about) the versions I have in my collection (i.e., cards which PSA could potentially classify as "Marlboro Ad on Scoreboard"). Take it for what it is worth.

Here was my process. I scanned all 70+ of my cards and cropped the Marlboro sign. All scans were made on the same scanner with the same scanner settings. I used an Espon V600 scanner for all scans. Someone on the board posted a good set of instructions on using an Epson V600 scanner so I purchased this scanner last spring at the start of the lockdowns (to avoid any learning curve). I am very happy with it because I can get consistent lighting conditions on the Marlboro signs across the various versions. I then put all the cropped scans of the Marlboro sign into a PowerPoint slide and manually moved the 70+ photos around to try and put "like cards" in piles. I then arranged the piles into some natural order (at least to me) based on (1) tint, and (2) clarity - defined as being able to clearly read all letters in the word Marlboro. Of course, this definition of "clarity" impacts the order since there are versions with very clear letters but where you can't see the cowboy. The definition for tint was harder than it first appeared and it took me quite a bit of trial and error to come up with what I believe is a logical scale…

As I put “Marlboro signs” into piles the one thing that began to stand out to me was subtle differences in cards with the same clarity due to "vibrancy". Upon closer inspection I began to attribute this "vibrancy" to having more blue-ness or almost a blue glow around the sign. I had always assumed that "clarity" was on a continuous scale. Now, I feel that tint is on a continuous scale too. I became curious about what would happen if there were three PRIMARY COLORS of tint (i.e., GREEN, BLUE, and RED -- labeled g1, b1, and r1 in the figure). I know these are not the real primary colors but they seem to be predominant varieties of the tints so I went with them. For example, on the blue-red spectrum you get purple tint cards, on the green-blue spectrum you get the very dark GREEN, and on the green-red spectrum you get some of the more dulled out reds.

Anyway, I ran with this idea (because under this notion the card locations started to naturally fall into place) and here is what I came up with. I threw in some labels for my own record keeping (but did not label anything that I felt couldn’t be classified as “Marlboro Ad on Scoreboard”… of course you may disagree). A couple of final notes. Beyond the clearest version (n0), my favorite versions are b1 and br2. I never really understood what made br2 stand out to me over the similarly clear rg2 card. Now I believe it is due to the blue-ish tint that makes the letters almost vibrant in the br2 version. Some people may scoff at this but holding br2 and rg2 next to each other there is a clear difference and I know which version resonates with me (perhaps since my favorite color is blue??). Second, I put a yellow rectangle around the blue box version that Hatorade provided. This is the one version I do not have a copy of (so the picture is not from the same scanner/scanner settings). Beyond that one card these are all my cards and I was able to group every one of my 70+ cards into one of the piles shown in the figure. Third, I want to reiterate that my view of “clarity” is on a continuous scale. There could certainly be versions between g1 and gb2; however, for me simply knowing I have a card that is g1-gb2 is sufficient to know where it places in my mental framework of the versions.

I hope this helps move forward the discussion and interest in my favorite card.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Marlboro_Versions.jpg (70.2 KB, 171 views)

Last edited by steve5838; 09-23-2020 at 08:54 AM.
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