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  #1  
Old 03-20-2008, 12:23 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: addie_Joss

I've always wondered why Ray-O-Prints carry almost no value.

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Old 03-20-2008, 12:26 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: Al C.risafulli

As I understand it, the blank photo paper is still available, and you can obtain a kit and make Ruths and Gehrigs all day long, so there's no way to tell the originals from the ones that were made yesterday.

-Al

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Old 03-20-2008, 12:33 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: addie_Joss

Really? I didn't know you could still print them. Are they grade-able? There really isn't any way at all to tell them apart?

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Old 03-20-2008, 12:45 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: davidcycleback

You can tell the originals.

However, the safest thing to do is to buy the photo with the original kit, or just the original kit. The kits are scarce and valuable. You'll see the kits once in a while. The kits have an envelope (with identifying text on outside), negative and frame.

The Ray O Prints allowed a kid to make his own photo card of athlete or celebrity. In modern times, people have used modern photo paper to make more photos. You can identify the modern photo paper, and old photos usually show distinct signs of wear, but, as noted, a collector can also buy the original kit knowing the kit itself is has value. No one's reprinted the kit.

Most modern photo paper will be thicker than old paper and in much higher condition. Also, a majority of photo paper fluoresces brightly under black light. Old photos, especially ones owned and handled by kids, are almost never found in mint condition. If you see a Ray O Print or any Pre-War photo card in Mint condition, I'd be suspicious. I'd seen a good number of Nrmt-Mt and Mint Ray O Print complete sets, which made me think there were many modern versions on the market. Also, there are several different Pre-War photo kit baseball card issues out there. All the other issues are rare, some rarely seen on the market, while the Ray O Prints are commonly found, and, as noted, commonly found in high grade.

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Old 03-20-2008, 12:50 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: addie_Joss

Interesting. Do the cards grade?

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Old 03-20-2008, 12:57 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: Steve

I agree with Al. I think you need the Kit to establish provenance. These can still be made today and often photocopies as well are seen on eBay. The Ruth and Gehrig do sell for decent change, close to $100 at times. I haven't seen any SGC or PSA, just those of pseudo-graders. Too bad, when properly developed they're nice looking cards.



cheap copy vs. kit card

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Old 03-20-2008, 01:22 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: davidcycleback

The one thing about photo paper, and thus photos, is that it can be dated to a period with good certainty. Photography is a chemical process and requires specially made paper with photochemicals affixed to the front. You can print a lithograph on most anything, but you need specially photo paper to make a photograph. Due to the historical change in photography and technology, the paper has changed over the years, often in obvious ways (thickness, paper coating, paper manufacturer's stamping on back). So, a photo expert can look at a photo card and judge the age of the paper itself.

If someone made a Ray O Print set on 1995 paper, that could be identified by a photo expert, and even an average collect who knows what to look for. Elementally, if the complete set is in Gem Mint condition, you don't have to be a photo expert to deduce the cards probably aren't 78 years old.

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Old 03-20-2008, 01:26 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: Matt

david - presuming someone had 1930s photo paper, couldn't they make as many vintage prints as they wanted?

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Old 03-20-2008, 01:39 PM
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Default Why Are Ray-o-Prints So Worthless?

Posted By: davidcycleback

If you could find unused 1930 photo paper (and I said if, as in 'easier said than done'), I don't think it would be usable. I don't think photography paper that has dried out over 78 years is going to do the photographer any good.

The most famous photography forgery cases, including $100,000+ Man Ray forgeries made from the original negatives, were solved by analyzing the paper. Analysis of the paper showed the paper was too modern for the photos to be original. Again, as photo paper is a specialty paper made for a specific purpose, it is more straight foreword to date and identify than, say, typing paper or card stock. There could be wide variances to cardstock, but photo paper had to be made a specific way as it carried light sensitive chemicals. In the 1800s, most albumen photo paper used in the United States came from just two factories, one in Germany and one in France. And, in case you didn't know, all albumen photo surfaces (Old Judges, Newsboy Cabinets, etc) are covered in egg white. Albumen literally means egg white. At the time, egg white was considered the best substance for holding the delicate photochemicals to the paper, and the photo paper factories had thousands of chickens laying eggs on site. This just demonstrates how photo paper was made in distinct and specific ways.

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