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Go Back   Net54baseball.com Forums > Net54baseball Postwar Sportscard Forums > Postwar Baseball Cards Forum (Pre-1980)

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  #1  
Old 07-05-2014, 08:53 AM
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Default Q: Press Plates

Have a question concerning the plates used for the baseball cards. I see with the modern cards they insert the plates in the regular issue card packs, black, yellow, etc., but where are the vintage plates? I've been following the Topps Vault items for quite some time now and I haven't seen any come up for sale (It's possible I missed some...). Anyway, do you guys have any in your collection or were most of them disposed of back in the day? I have seen a few from '62, and have one of them for the Brooksie AS card, but no others.

I'm really unsure why I like the odd-ball stuff (of Brooks/Orioles) anyways, but I do...

Pictures of any vintage press plates?!?
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:14 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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I have one card/plate from 62, and a couple printing blocks from a postcard set. But that's about it.

They'd typically be recycled, since it's a coated aluminum sheet. At the shop I used the small ones as dustpans then put them back in the recycling stack. If we'd ever done cards I'd have kept them.

Many of the new ones aren't even really the printing plates. Just aluminum cards made the same way as plates would be.

Steve B
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:14 AM
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Default Printing Plates

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Originally Posted by steve B View Post
I have one card/plate from 62, and a couple printing blocks from a postcard set. But that's about it.

They'd typically be recycled, since it's a coated aluminum sheet. At the shop I used the small ones as dustpans then put them back in the recycling stack. If we'd ever done cards I'd have kept them.

Many of the new ones aren't even really the printing plates. Just aluminum cards made the same way as plates would be.

Steve B
Steve,

To me it seems a bit odd that most of the one's I see are from '62; maybe someone, back in the day, took them after the process was complete. What plate do you have for the '62? Also, how many of the plates would there have been of a single card? I know you'd have the front and the back, but I'd assume you'd have all the different colors as well; is that correct?

So, do the newer/shiny cards even use plates anymore? If not, why do they market them as the printing plates?

Thanks for the information; I was just curious since I ran across my '62 plate of Brooks when I was organizing some stuff. I'm "trying" to become more organized.
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:37 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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I don't recall who I have from 62. There was a plate or plates found In I think the early 90's that was cut into individual cards. If you count the colors as different, then there would only be 1-3 of each. (I don't recall the 62 series size offhand.)

There would typically be four for the card front, Black, cyan (blue) Magenta. and yellow. Some cards may have had more, like some of the late 70's with some colors printed as solid areas.
My 62 is a magenta plate.

The backs would usually be two plates until they went to full color backs. So for instance 1971 would have a green back plate and a black back plate.

The process from roughly the early 90's and earlier involved making a "mask" Basically a very large composite negative, Then using that to expose the plate which was developed much like a photograph. At least one late for each color, maybe more depending on how many cards were being printed. By the early 90's all the companies were using multiple printers and each place would make its own plates - probably from copies of the original color separations.

The modern process also uses plates, but the newest stuff makes the plates directly on the press digitally. I'm not familiar enough with it to know if the system makes individual plates, or if the plate is redoable somehow. I would think both types exist, Places like Zazzle can print one copy of something cheaply and the stuff I've had done looks actually printed instead of done by a computer printer. (I could be wrong about that)

I was looking on Ebay for the ones I saw that weren't actual production plates and couldn't find them. They had the text saying they were a printing plate right in the image. The ones I looked at all seemed real, or at least likely to be real.

Steve B
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:19 PM
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I think we had a related discussion a while back on the 62 plates...

http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=137886

Have to admit I am still a little perplexed on how and when in the process the 62 plates were used.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:23 PM
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Default Printing Plates

Steve,

Thanks so much for the information, it kind of gives me a picture in my mind of how the process "sorta" works. Since I have never been in the printing industry I didn't have much clue. I know I have a few of the, I guess you'd call them, transparencies or negatives as well w/the varying colors. For whatever reason I've always liked the odd-ball stuff.

By the way, how do you tell what color your plate was originally?

Marty,

Thanks for the link; I don't know why I missed that since I'm interested in the plates or any other production process of the production of the cards.

Hopefully, one day, more will be found or come to the market, but as Steve said they were probably reused or sold for the aluminum.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:56 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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I'll answer a couple things at once.

The 62 plates were almost certainly portions of the actual ones used to print the cards.

All the following is for "modern" offset lithography, which is most commercial color printing from roughly the 1920's to 1990's. There isn't much change today other than how the plates are produced.

The plates mount to a roller in the press, and the coating retains water. The ink is oil based so the water retained on part of the plate rejects it while the portions intended to print don't.

So the plate passes first a roller that wets it, then one that inks it. (There are several rollers to spread the ink smoothly before it gets to the final inking roller. ) The next roller is the "blanket" a roller covered with a rubber sheet that the plate prints to. Positive image on the plate prints reversed on the blanket. Then the blanket rolls against the paper which passes between it and the impression cylinder.


Typically you want to run the lightest colors first. Yellow, then Cyan, magenta and finally black. For a two color thing like a typical topps back you'd run the color first then black. Yellow won't typically be opaque enough to cover black. -- It's interesting to note that some older cards like T205s didn't finish with black. On those you can often see the gold border covering the black frame lines. And I'm fairly sure some 1981 fleer were run with yellow after the black on the back.


When the plate is removed there's still some ink sticking to the parts that hold ink. So the yellow plate looks yellow, the magenta plate pink etc. A number of the modern press plate cards if they're the actual plates have been treated after use to make the image black. The last step in developing a plate is wiping it with a black or brown colored substance to make the areas intended to print show up clearly. It wouldn't be hard at all to make two plates from the same mask, one for production and the other to be cut into cards.

At least one company is using another process, and the plates show the card in mirror image those print directly to the paper.

Steve B
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:23 PM
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Default Plates

Steve,

Thanks so much for taking the time to explain the process; sure do appreciate the detailed information.

Regards,

Mark
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:57 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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I think it's fun. But sometimes I worry about going on too long. I haven't really found a way to cut the explanations down. I cut out 2-3 paragraphs before posting.

Steve B
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve B View Post
I think it's fun. But sometimes I worry about going on too long. I haven't really found a way to cut the explanations down. I cut out 2-3 paragraphs before posting.

Steve B
Steve,
I appreciate the time you take to share your expertise. It's a whole part of he process that most of us have no clue about but I for one find fascinating. As stated above thank you for enlightening us.
Drew
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