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Old 03-10-2018, 05:37 PM
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Eddie S.
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Default Why did 1920s cards regress back to black and white?

Maybe there isn't a hard and fast answer to this, but I have always wondered why so many of the 1920s cards seemingly took a step backward to black and white compared to all the color issues of a decade earlier (or even the colorful cards of the 1880s like Allen & Ginter and the Goodwin Champions set)?

There are obviously many iconic and very valuable Babe Ruth cards of the 1920s, but I wonder how much the value of his four Goudey cards from the 1933 set would be impacted if there were some color options from the 1920s besides the horrific strip cards that may or may not bear a vague resemblance to what Ruth actually looked like.

Last edited by Bored5000; 03-10-2018 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:48 PM
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Most of them are black and white due to the fact that they used black and white photographs to make the cards at that time. Actual color photography as we know it did not exist. The earlier cards were drawings not actual photos.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmac32 View Post
Most of them are black and white due to the fact that they used black and white photographs to make the cards at that time. Actual color photography as we know it did not exist. The earlier cards were drawings not actual photos.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I know you are completely correct with what you said regarding actual photographs compared to an artist's drawing from earlier sets. The dearth of color always just struck me as weird when the previous decade had good looking drawn sets like T205, T206, the Cracker Jack sets, etc. Even the few artist drawn sets of the 1920s are pretty pitiful efforts..

Last edited by Bored5000; 03-10-2018 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:09 PM
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This is just a random thought and not sure if it has any relevance. But, I was under the impression the ink used for cards came from Germany. If that is indeed true, then WWI would have had a huge affect on the availability of those inks. Thus going to B&W cards would make sense.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:24 PM
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Possibly the use of color by then was seen as just a fad that had passed, thus the return to classic black and white photography as opposed to tacky brash colorful lithography.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanH3 View Post
This is just a random thought and not sure if it has any relevance. But, I was under the impression the ink used for cards came from Germany. If that is indeed true, then WWI would have had a huge affect on the availability of those inks. Thus going to B&W cards would make sense.
seems to me the reason would likely be war related.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ullmandds View Post
seems to me the reason would likely be war related.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:40 PM
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It was probably cost.

Some of the old sets were actually done from photos, like the halftone portions of T206 or many of the caramel cards. But the color portion was what was done by artists.

Even on the most basic level, you'd need a plate for each color, six or more. Plus the back. And you'd have to pay the artists who did the backgrounds. That's already at least 6 times the cost.

The issuer would have had a lot of the say in it, and there's a pretty big difference between what a near monopoly is willing to pay to finish off any small competitors, and what a smaller company is willing to pay for something to give away for nothing to help stimulate sales.

There are a lot of similar modern situations, Topps going to large format cards in 52, which had to have been more expensive to produce than the smaller Bowmans.
And I think, even closer is the number of issues from MSA in the 70's. Mostly stock discs with black and white pictures that didn't include logos. Sometimes I think that many of the 20's sets were produced by a similar company. MSA didn't make stuff to compete with Topps, but made stuff that could be sold to a number of companies as giveaways.
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:36 PM
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The American 1920s issues are unusually bland and often of poor quality, and yet the Cuban 1920s issues are glorious in their use of true photographic quality, like the Old Judges. Check out the Billikens, Aguilitas, and Nacionales!
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:51 PM
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Funny, my absolute favorite pre war cards are the black and white photos. Many of my prized cards are exhibits from the 1920's. I think they destroy the drawings and paintings on other cards of the era.
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