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  #1  
Old 12-07-2022, 04:31 PM
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Gr.eg McCl.@y
 
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Default Red to Orange in c. 1910 T and E cards.

The most common "misprint" seen in these cards is cards that should be red, but appear orange. Sometimes, if they picture a baseball HOFer, they sell for huge premiums.

However, they are, at least in the vast majority of cases, not misprints at all. They didn't leave the factory that way. Exposure and some storage conditions will fade the red ink to appear orange, with little or no effect on the other colors. The red ink, for a reason I am sure Steve or someone else is better able to explain, is very susceptible to fading. It is also the easiest to doctor, but I would rather not, for the obvious reasons, delve into exactly how one can do this in a lot less time than using the sun.

Since this stemmed from an E77 Wolgast, I will use boxing examples here, beginning with it as an illustration of the difference. Note that one is obviously red, and one is obviously orange in the background. You can also see (I hope, I'm capped to ~200KB pictures max here), that the red in his skin toning is lighter on the orange example. Note the yellow ink layer's slight misalignment in the background on both, more extreme in the red card. Differences in colors other than red are essentially non-existent. The black is ever so slightly darker on the orange "misprint", the blue slightly darker on the red card.
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2022, 04:37 PM
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Next, let's use this T218 Jimmy Gardner, which I bought, I don't know, 8 years ago hoping it was a cool misprint. It's not.

Both these cards Mecca 649's. Gardner should have a red drapery background. Gardner makes for a very good example in particular, because his correct card also has an orange area. Next to the "13" sign on the far right, the gap between it and the white border isn't red on our bottom card, it's orange. It's like that on every example with proper registration.

Now, Gardner "misprint" is not a real one, or a doctored card. It's just faded from exposure. The top corners remain some of their original red, where the card was secured into one of those binders popular at the time, where a picture was pushed in and secured by the corners. That part of the card wasn't as exposed, and so did not lose all of it's original color. Note that the orange card has the rest of the drapery faded to the exact same shade of orange as the gap next to the "13" sign. The fading from red orange makes it exactly match the orange coloring used on these cards. So here's a clear example of how it works, how these cards naturally fade into orange from their environment.
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2022, 04:39 PM
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Like Gardner, here's a Cross. The corner was just left exposed at some point, and natural fading resulted. Obviously this card didn't leave the factory this way, and it's not a misprint.
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  #4  
Old 12-07-2022, 04:45 PM
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Here's a Donovan of Today. The card on the right is correct, with a vibrant red belt. The card on the left has an orange belt. The left card also has a lightened copy of the pinkish dot above the hill at left, and the slight spots of pink in the crowd (none are red) are a bit less clear too. I got this one probably 15 years ago hoping it was a cool misprint. Unlike Gardner and Cross, the card itself doesn't make obvious that it didn't leave the factory this way. It's theoretically possible it did, but is it likely? No. It's just the color of ink that doesn't survive as well as the others and is the easiest to modify, either by natural storage conditions or by crook. It's like making a 50's to 70's Topps card go from green to blue; easy to do, oft happens naturally, and easy to do by doctoring. Note that it's usually these "misprints" that are sold as such - the ones that are the easiest to make and happen naturally. Finding non-proof or scrap cards missing other colors is extremely rare for T cards - because those other ones don't change color so easily. It's possible this card is a genuine misprint. But it sure isn't likely that this is the case.
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  #5  
Old 12-07-2022, 04:51 PM
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Here's a cooler one; the T220 Maher (corrected variation, with properly colored ropes and without the solid backdrop layer). The card on the left has the fainter pink in the stripes on his flag belt, and an orange backdrop. The reddish given to skin tone is also a much fainter pink, but the other colors remain bold and strong. Is this a rare, true misprint? Maybe. But it probably isn't.

Based on the tiny prices paid and how I acquired these cards, with the sellers not even notating the color differences, none of these are likely to be intentionally doctored cards. They are just the affects of a century of non ideal storage. It happens in T cards, red fades to orange even without malevolence. But when it's a Cobb with an orange background being sold for big bucks, one should remember that it just so happens to be the color issue that happens over time naturally AND is easy to doctor. I've seen it done and done it myself on non-sport test T cards; producing red to orange is not difficult. No wonder there are so many of those Cobb's.
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2022, 06:19 PM
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Good explanation on the fading red Greg. Like you on a rare occasion I see an example that is possibly a mis-print/variation but I don't trust any of them enough to ever pay a premium.
Here are a few T206's that have fading.

This Beckley was tacked to something with another card tacked over top of the right hand corner
Beckley.jpg

Pickering that had some kind of frame around it
Pickering.jpg

and a Beaumont with an outline of a corner tab
Beumont Sun corner tab.jpg
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  #7  
Old 12-07-2022, 07:35 PM
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That's a good lesson, professor! Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2022, 01:51 AM
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Those T206's are excellent examples of this. The large number of 'orange' cards that are only partly orange and show exactly how they came to be orange is further evidence that almost none of the orange cards are misprints or anything but heavily damaged.

There are other color changes that happen naturally through storage and environment too, before we even get to the doctors. Jones here is not a freaky misprint, he was just glued down. A lot of cards glued to something have front and/or back discoloration resulting from it. Some of these cards have been soaked free cleanly and then get sold as wild misprints or errors, lacking the direct evidence on the card itself that it didn't come out the press this way. The vast majority of them are also just heavily damaged cards.

P.S. I just love that Fielder Jones, the manager of perhaps the only fielding-over-hitting WS winning team, was actually named Fielder.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2022, 02:54 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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Red pigments and dyes have been troublesome almost as long as we've had them.

Prior to the bright red of cochineal dyes from Mexico, the primary one in Europe was Alizarin Crimson. Which created a range of red to brown colors depending on the additives used. The most popular shade? Turkey Red.... Yes, a specific red developed in the middle east.

It was eventually discovered to be made from two different colorants in the same plant root, Alizarin and purpurin, the latter of which fades easily. Not that Alizarin doesn't also fade somewhat easily.
This became the first chemically synthsized dye in 1868 or so.

The reds from Cochineal (Insects) are durable, cloth dyed nearly 2000 years ago that has survived away from light is still red.
But as far back as it has been used artists have known that it will fade with light exposure, often turning towards brown before fading away altogether. (But not water and soaps, hence it's wide use in cloth and cosmetics. )

I'm not sure there's a lightfast red available today.



The top two cards, Downey and Lobert were part of a batch of framed T206s that turned up on Ebay. Supposedly 40+ years of light exposure while framed.
Downey is interesting because the team name is usually bright red, and here is obviously faded away, while the belt is printed in the pink color they usually used under the bright red* and which usually doesn't fade.

The other two are a Huggins with a particular color setup that leaves the subjects looking very washed out, not a misprint exactly, but I believe it left the factory that way. And Beck, which is legitimately missing two colors.
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Old 12-08-2022, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve B View Post
Red pigments and dyes have been troublesome almost as long as we've had them.

Prior to the bright red of cochineal dyes from Mexico, the primary one in Europe was Alizarin Crimson. Which created a range of red to brown colors depending on the additives used. The most popular shade? Turkey Red.... Yes, a specific red developed in the middle east.

It was eventually discovered to be made from two different colorants in the same plant root, Alizarin and purpurin, the latter of which fades easily. Not that Alizarin doesn't also fade somewhat easily.
This became the first chemically synthsized dye in 1868 or so.

The reds from Cochineal (Insects) are durable, cloth dyed nearly 2000 years ago that has survived away from light is still red.
But as far back as it has been used artists have known that it will fade with light exposure, often turning towards brown before fading away altogether. (But not water and soaps, hence it's wide use in cloth and cosmetics. )

I'm not sure there's a lightfast red available today.
I knew you could give us the "why" it's the red that does this with time. Thank you
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Old 12-08-2022, 08:03 PM
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Cool thread. Was told years ago this is why there are orange T206 Cobb cards. As soon as they started selling at a premium magically several showed up.
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2022, 08:45 PM
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Here's another kind of color change that occurs naturally, without need for a card doctor.

These are C52's, which does not have a stock variation. The card on the left bears evidence of having been affixed to something, but appears normal, with the light cream stock and clearly black ink. The card in the middle is heavily toned, its back ink starting to lighten, but still mostly black. The card on the right is heavily toned, and its back is no longer black, but an almost teal green.

The cards in middle and right were from a very old (possibly original) outside the hobby collection, stored in an album for at least several decades until I acquired it, where cards were slotted in between two sides of thick paper. These aren't rare teal backs or a different stock, it's the back changing tone and ink color from its very long contact with the album pages. This is most commonly seen on Canadian cards, where this particular type of album storage was clearly more popular, but it is encountered on T cards as well. I hope Steve can explain why exactly this is so, because I can only speculate.

If an odd colored back is also toned, beware. It's almost never actually a rare printing error.
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Old 12-09-2022, 12:44 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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There's a lot going on there. A few different things all at once.

The typical scrapbook or album years ago had pages that weren't acid free if anything they were pretty acidic.
Products of the fibers in the wood pulp breaking down over time. Some huge percentage of books produced around the 1890's -1920's are mostly doomed if they don't get deacidified. So much so that LOC tried building a machine to deacidify books in bulk.
That acid makes the paper turn brown and brittle. It can and will transfer to paper that's held against it, even staining acid free paper.
I don't know for sure if those cards are also acidic, or if that's just staining from the acidic album pages. It could be either. The T220 and T218 cardstock is actually pretty good, I haven't looked at it super closely, but some older paper - pre optical whiteners had a high rag content. So It's got fewer (Or no) wood fibers, instead having flax, wool, cotton and maybe silk. Once bleached, it's hard to tell. I believe at least some T card cardstock is at least as acid free as the stuff you can get in the craft store.

The second thing is related to the third.

The inks could be darker or lighter depending on how much colorant was used. What the hardening agent/carrier is affects it too.
Black was usually carbon, which won't fade, and isn't really probe to chemical changes either. But it could also be a chemical dye, and those are changeable. My kid chemistry set had a way to make black ink, then to change that ink to blue. And the cool part was also being able to change it back to black.
So it may be the acid in the paper changing the ink
OR
It may be the ink being slightly translucent, and the color you "see" is the paper color darkened by the overlaid ink. Everyone will see this differently. I see the right one as a gray with maybe a bit of overtones of blue or yellow. If you're seeing teal, it may be that you are better at seeing yellow shades, and that the ink I see as Black/gray is actually a very dark blue. Mixed with a bit of enhanced yellow... might = teal. So we could see a color totally differently, and both be "right" (And yes, that's effin confusing!)

And there's a good lead in to the third possibility.
Since we all perceive color differently, that color difference could be from the "black" being seen against a yellowish background.
That sort of thing is the underlying thing in modern cmyk printing, the four colors mix in perception to produce ALL colors.
I was going to write up a thing about this for more modern cards, where two of the same card have slightly different shades in the sky it's often a slight registration problem.

All this could be put to rest by identifying the ink composition etc. But it would take access to some really involved equipment.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2022, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve B View Post
There's a lot going on there. A few different things all at once.

The typical scrapbook or album years ago had pages that weren't acid free if anything they were pretty acidic.
Products of the fibers in the wood pulp breaking down over time. Some huge percentage of books produced around the 1890's -1920's are mostly doomed if they don't get deacidified. So much so that LOC tried building a machine to deacidify books in bulk.
That acid makes the paper turn brown and brittle. It can and will transfer to paper that's held against it, even staining acid free paper.
I don't know for sure if those cards are also acidic, or if that's just staining from the acidic album pages. It could be either. The T220 and T218 cardstock is actually pretty good, I haven't looked at it super closely, but some older paper - pre optical whiteners had a high rag content. So It's got fewer (Or no) wood fibers, instead having flax, wool, cotton and maybe silk. Once bleached, it's hard to tell. I believe at least some T card cardstock is at least as acid free as the stuff you can get in the craft store.

The second thing is related to the third.

The inks could be darker or lighter depending on how much colorant was used. What the hardening agent/carrier is affects it too.
Black was usually carbon, which won't fade, and isn't really probe to chemical changes either. But it could also be a chemical dye, and those are changeable. My kid chemistry set had a way to make black ink, then to change that ink to blue. And the cool part was also being able to change it back to black.
So it may be the acid in the paper changing the ink
OR
It may be the ink being slightly translucent, and the color you "see" is the paper color darkened by the overlaid ink. Everyone will see this differently. I see the right one as a gray with maybe a bit of overtones of blue or yellow. If you're seeing teal, it may be that you are better at seeing yellow shades, and that the ink I see as Black/gray is actually a very dark blue. Mixed with a bit of enhanced yellow... might = teal. So we could see a color totally differently, and both be "right" (And yes, that's effin confusing!)

And there's a good lead in to the third possibility.
Since we all perceive color differently, that color difference could be from the "black" being seen against a yellowish background.
That sort of thing is the underlying thing in modern cmyk printing, the four colors mix in perception to produce ALL colors.
I was going to write up a thing about this for more modern cards, where two of the same card have slightly different shades in the sky it's often a slight registration problem.

All this could be put to rest by identifying the ink composition etc. But it would take access to some really involved equipment.
Thank you for this, great stuff. I would suspect the T218 and T220 card stock is not acidic itself, just from handling tons of them and from noting which ones have such problems and how they were stored when acquired from finds. Thank you for sharing
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