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  #1  
Old 03-24-2019, 11:57 AM
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Default Mr. Burdick's Collection at the Met!

I've been waiting for the opportunity to get a Good Look @ His Life's Work!
Hopefully Next month works out, & my Long Await'd Day will be Grand! : )

If this was mention'd Already... Than Please take this as a Reminder ~

https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibition...ruary-rotation
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  #2  
Old 03-24-2019, 01:16 PM
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That looks great! Wish I didn't live so far away or I'd love to see it in person.

The Met has always been a black hole for me, though, stop in for an hour and spend a week, ala "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler".

Tony
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  #3  
Old 03-24-2019, 03:09 PM
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Denny -- Tell em that Johnny says hi!
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  #4  
Old 03-24-2019, 03:25 PM
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In 1975 my Dad made an appointment to see the Burdick collection. We got a catalog of the collection and the Docent asked if we wanted Baseball or non sports. We said Baseball and early tobacco cards. We spent the whole day stopping briefly for a hot dog from a cart outside. One of my clearest memories was the Wagner was on a stamp hinge so that you could see the back of the card. It is such a shame that dishonest folks stole from the collection and took this experiance away from collectors.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2019, 04:15 PM
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I went last year and at the time it was just framed cards on one or two hallways. Was really cool but quite small. Wonder if this is something more elaborate.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:04 PM
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I've been a few times over the last few years, and it is like you said, a few things, selected around a theme. It rotates every 6-12 months, maybe? Last time I was there, it was the boxing cards, which were displayed with some of the museum's collection of boxing art and photos. It was really well done, and extremely interesting. Before that, the one I saw had a lot of baseball cards, grouped in frames of about 20-30, from various sets. It's funny that they will display the cards, and on the wall will be the description, with the players' names. If a card is damaged, where the name is not readable, the wall placard says "Unknown." It would take about two minutes of research to figure out who the card is, but they don't bother, which always seemed to be weird to me. Anyway, it's well worth seeing. And check out the room with the armor and muskets...awesome! And Washington Crossing the Delaware, which I could stare at for hours.

Last edited by HercDriver; 03-25-2019 at 07:51 AM.
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  #7  
Old 03-24-2019, 07:15 PM
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You can also now search his collection. Amazing!

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collec...asc&perPage=20

And here’s my personal contribution. Signed by Lefty, stamped by Burdick...

Leifield_AUTO_BURDICK_SGC_JSA_A
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  #8  
Old 03-24-2019, 07:28 PM
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I'll be in NYC this week. Plan to try to get see the exhibit on Thursday or maybe Friday morning.
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapolit1 View Post
I went last year and at the time it was just framed cards on one or two hallways. Was really cool but quite small. Wonder if this is something more elaborate.
It used to be the case that with an appointment you could view the whole collection or substantial parts of it in a separate room, is my understanding.
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:08 PM
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A few months back they moved the location of the rotating display to an even more secluded area of the museum -- so if you can't find it, don't be discouraged, just ask one of the museum guides. You'll likely be the only person in the vicinity, even on a busy weekend day.

Given the breadth of his collection, the actual display is very modest, but it's neat to see how Burdick mounted each card so carefully.

The bulk of the collection is no longer accessible to the public...I even contacted those responsible for the collection and asked "pretty please".
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2019, 10:03 PM
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My wife and I visited the MET in 2007 and I had a look at the Burdick exhibit. It was not exactly a thrill. Just a dozen or so framed groupings of cards and no other ancillary displays in an out-of-the-way hallway. The layperson might think it was cool but my guess is the average guy here would be underwhelmed. I understand they change out the cards every so often, and maybe it has been improved but I don't know.

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  #12  
Old 03-25-2019, 05:14 AM
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I saw the main collection many times in the 1980's and 90's, and it was easy to get an appointment. But as has been pointed out, people have stolen things from it over the years. It's too bad it's no longer available for viewing. Burdick would not have been happy about that.
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  #13  
Old 03-25-2019, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrysloate View Post
It's too bad it's no longer available for viewing. Burdick would not have been happy about that.
You can view it all - or at least 52,727 items so far uploaded - here:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collec...asc&perPage=20

Here’s 12,253 of his baseball cards:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collec...seball%20cards

And 540 of his T206 cards here:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collec...earchField=All

Including his Plank:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413206

And his Magie error:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413530

And a messed up color pass Cobb:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413043


He had a bunch of missing color scraps! Amazing...



https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413542

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413429

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/414040

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413580

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413609

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413589

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/414042
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Last edited by T206Collector; 03-25-2019 at 03:28 PM.
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  #14  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:01 AM
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going to NYC next week and planning on visiting Burdick collection. I have an appointment I believe to see some of the actual binders. Will let you know how (if) it goes.

There are tons of pictures in that digitized Met site. I went down the rabbit hole for a few hours a couple times on that site..........still a lot unscanned or missing but there's tons of great stuff there..........sports and nonsports.......

Last edited by autograf; 03-25-2019 at 08:05 AM.
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  #15  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:23 AM
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So you can't make an appointment to view it anymore? That's so sad. I did so in the late 1989 on a class trip to NYC. Guard stayed in the room with me the whole time. It was amazing.
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  #16  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HercDriver View Post
I And Washington Crossing the Delaware, which I could stare at for hours.
Yes!

Burdick was well hidden and a bit underwhelming
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  #17  
Old 03-25-2019, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autograf View Post
going to NYC next week and planning on visiting Burdick collection. I have an appointment I believe to see some of the actual binders. Will let you know how (if) it goes.

There are tons of pictures in that digitized Met site. I went down the rabbit hole for a few hours a couple times on that site..........still a lot unscanned or missing but there's tons of great stuff there..........sports and nonsports.......
How did you get the appointment Tom? If you say you are doing research will they let you see it?
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  #18  
Old 03-25-2019, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
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How did you get the appointment Tom? If you say you are doing research will they let you see it?
Barry......I used Bob Forbes' protocol and called the prints room where the collection resides. And it does have to be some valid research purpose I guess. I've corresponded with the girl a couple times and I think I'm in but will update if I made it through the super secret handshake upon arrival...........
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  #19  
Old 03-25-2019, 10:43 AM
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Thanks for the links Paul! Cool cards. I think the Cobb is sun-faded, not a messed up color pass.

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Originally Posted by T206Collector View Post
You can view it all - or at least 52,727 items so far uploaded - here:

And a messed up color pass Cobb:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/413043

[/url]
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  #20  
Old 03-25-2019, 12:59 PM
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Default Burdick Cobb

If that's a color fade, it is quite uniform and straight across the top. But, maybe so...
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  #21  
Old 03-25-2019, 01:26 PM
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I think it was pinned up on a board in the sun and there was another card (or something) across the top that blocked the sun. If you look at the top left corner you can see the yellow is way brighter above the fade line than it is below it. Funky card though.
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Old 03-25-2019, 02:06 PM
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Just as an FYI for those who may not have seen it, below is a link to a post I wrote a couple of years ago about the origins of the Burdick collection. Burdick announced in the December 1, 1947 Card Collectors Bulletin that he was donating his card collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and over the next couple of years he began organizing his cards and sending them to the museum, while also soliciting help from CCB readers to fill in gaps in the collection. Many people sent him cards and even whole sets that he didn't have, so that while Burdick's personal collection was the core, the collection now at the Met is really a collaborative effort, with many cards contributed by other collectors. Everyone in the hobby realized that this was a big deal, and they wanted the collection to be as complete as possible. Below the link I've included two of Burdick's CCB articles, the first from the April 1, 1948 issue and the second from the October 1, 1948 issue, illustrating the support he was getting from the hobby.

http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=240887

April 1, 1948

October 1, 1948
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  #23  
Old 03-25-2019, 03:13 PM
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Burdick was in poor health during the time he was working to put the collection in albums and boxes for the Met. And he passed away very shortly after finishing his task.
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Old 03-26-2019, 08:12 AM
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Thanks for posting that, David. It has been quite a while since I have added any CCB's to the collection. ALthough yesterday I did get an original 1967 ACC, as I only have a copy reprint used for daily use.

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Originally Posted by trdcrdkid View Post
Just as an FYI for those who may not have seen it, below is a link to a post I wrote a couple of years ago about the origins of the Burdick collection. Burdick announced in the December 1, 1947 Card Collectors Bulletin that he was donating his card collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and over the next couple of years he began organizing his cards and sending them to the museum, while also soliciting help from CCB readers to fill in gaps in the collection. Many people sent him cards and even whole sets that he didn't have, so that while Burdick's personal collection was the core, the collection now at the Met is really a collaborative effort, with many cards contributed by other collectors. Everyone in the hobby realized that this was a big deal, and they wanted the collection to be as complete as possible. Below the link I've included two of Burdick's CCB articles, the first from the April 1, 1948 issue and the second from the October 1, 1948 issue, illustrating the support he was getting from the hobby.

http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=240887

April 1, 1948

October 1, 1948
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Old 03-26-2019, 08:34 AM
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If you look closely on the top of the Cobb, you can see the red rectangle area is shifted to the right. On the upper left corner there is a slight gap of just light orange near the black border line, and in the upper left the red extends past the border line into white border. Looks like it must have been a print anomally.
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Old 03-26-2019, 08:45 AM
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Default Wagner

I love the line in there about the T206 Wagner, that says it's in such demand, that several copies could easily be sold at $25 or more. Jeez...

Last edited by HercDriver; 03-26-2019 at 08:45 AM.
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  #27  
Old 03-26-2019, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HercDriver View Post
I love the line in there about the T206 Wagner, that says it's in such demand, that several copies could easily be sold at $25 or more. Jeez...
Even more amazing is that John Wagner had his T206 Wagner mixed in with his duplicates and almost inadvertently traded it away. Is it actually possible as a serious collector to have a T206 Wagner without even knowing it?
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:39 AM
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I love seeing John Wagner here. One of the earlier TTM autograph seekers on pre-war cards, my pet theory is that Burdick traded his T201 Leifield to Wagner, who then sent it to Lefty to be signed.

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Old 03-26-2019, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T206Collector View Post
You can view it all - or at least 52,727 items so far uploaded - here:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collec...asc&perPage=20

Here’s 12,253 of his baseball cards:

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collec...seball%20cards
You can view them all if you have the time, but in my experience the search functionality on the Met's website is horrible. Good luck if you are searching for something specific. Ostensibly because even in that department the Met people are not hobby people per se, they list the sets differently than people here would. For example, 1953 Topps is referred to as the "1953 Dugout Quiz" series due to the cartoons on the back. This kind of thing makes a Google-type search difficult. And even just paging through the entirety of the collection - things are not necessarily in order if you just continually use the "next page" functionality. They go from Topps cards to 19th century actor and actress cards, then back to baseball, etc. etc.
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:25 PM
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Definitely not a faded red.

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Old 03-26-2019, 03:46 PM
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Back in 2004 I got into the collection for research. Here is what I posted here about the visit:

Getting into the collection is like getting into the white house. You announce yourself at the front desk of the museum, where they check your ID and call up to the prints department to verify your appointment. You are issued a pass for the library and given directions. The library room of the prints department is behind a locked door. You ring a doorbell and they buzz you into the antechamber, where they take your bags, coat (if you haven't checked it), camera, pens, etc., and you have to produce your ID again, fill out a card with your info, and read and sign a page-long rules and regulations list. Once all that is done, they lead you into the reading room.

The reading room looks just like the reading room in any library; a couple of big tables with chairs. Only in this reading room, attendants hover and you cannot pull books at will from the shelves. The attendant sets up a velvet placemat in front of you and (because the collection is housed in books) two velvet covered bolsters on either side of the mat. The book is placed inside this rig so that it never lays flat, only in a "V".

You have to know exactly what you want to see and you more or less have to direct the curators to the proper volumes. Burdick wrote and printed a guide to the collection (it is in the same typeface and paper as the ACC, so I know it was printed) breaking up the collection by volume. If you are not very up on your nomenclature, you are dead in the water. For example, Book 202 is described as "A&G 1-48, 63-65" (not exactly, just as an example) and that's all the detail you get from Burdick. I tried to pre-arrange my viewing by sending them exact set names and numbers I wanted. The head curator told me that they could only ID about half of the sets ahead of time. I was able to locate the rest inside of two minutes just by viewing the book and knowing manufacturer and ACC designation (more on the lack of knowledge of the caretakers later).

Once they know what to get, they go fetch it for you. They roll in a cart with the books of the cards you want to see and they place a book in front of you. You are not allowed to touch the cards (obviously) or to have more than one book at a time. You can turn the pages yourself.

Remember that this entire collection is one guy's stuff, arranged by him. The poor bastard sat there for three years pasting down this stuff, and you could see that as he went on, he got less and less interested in tabbing things. By the time you get into the later albums, there are virtually no tabs at all, which made finding sets a bit of a challenge.

The paramount ground rule I was told of was "no looking at baseball cards." They were very adamant about this. However, the disorganization of the collection is such that you have to look through albums to get to certain sets, meaning that I had to look at baseball sets to find the boxing sets I was there to study, which led to a kind of funny incident. I was looking for the E211 set (York Caramel boxing) and had to go through an untabbed volume loaded with every E card you could think of to do it. The curator came over and said "you are looking at baseball cards." I said "no, I am looking for the E211 set of boxing cards." I started to describe what I was looking for, her eyes glazed over, and I had to keep going. What a shame...

In terms of my research, the collection was very useful. I was able to verify the existence of many cards, found many uncatalogued variations, and was able to flesh out some checklists. Oddly enough, however, Burdick was very spotty on certain sets. He had only 1 T229 Pet/Kopec card and only 2 E211 York Caramel cards.

Now for the fun stuff you all might appreciate: Owing to the organizational issues, I was able to view some of the OJ's, CJ's, E cards, and T cards. It is obvious that Burdick cared more about completion than condition. Cards range all over the place from poor to near mint. The OJ's I saw were organized by team, with an added section of miscellaneous cards, and averaged ex. The CJs were gorgeous--obviously a near mint set. Most of the T cards were strong ex to ex-mt. The T227 Cobb was stellar ex-mt. The Fatimas had lots of cracks and creases. Burdick also had two of the Fatima style PC backed cards, but in a different book--he obviously did not consider them to be Fatimas. The common E cards from the 1920s were all razor sharp sets. The E210 set was all over the place, from poor to ex, mostly vg. The great shame of it all was that every card was friggin glued down, very firmly. the CJ Jackson was obviously an "8" when it was put into place, but is poor now.

I was surprised and saddened by how little the curators knew about the cards (as I said above, they could not even find many of the sets I needed because they did not know Burdick's nomenclature and when I tried to talk cards with them, they obviously had no idea what I was saying). It was sad as well to see just how under-utilized and under-catalogued the cards were. Burdick did a monumental job of collecting and mounting these cards, but a crappy job of cataloguing and indexing them. There are albums with literally nothing to define what is in them other than a single line entry. It appears that no work has been done to see what is in this collection over the last 40 years. In the boxing cards alone, I found literally dozens of unknown cards and variations that have been sitting there for 40 years, ready to be discovered. The head curator even admitted at the end of my visit that they don't know much about the collection. Consequently, a very valuable and very useful resource sits mostly unused and "unloved" in albums in the bowels of the museum.

The trip was an absolutely amazing experience. Burdick's collection is unparalleled and priceless. It also was a thrill to see his writing and his notations right there on the pages he mounted, and to see what he was thinking when organizing the ACC.
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  #32  
Old 03-26-2019, 04:07 PM
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I disagree, I think the top left is yellow, not orange. And the evidence is that the red and the orange on the upper left are perfectly aligned, which is because they are the same layer. For the upper left corner to actually be orange, the border of the orange pass would have to be non-linear and shoot way left at the top, which it didn't do because that isn't how the printing worked. The fact that the yellow is shifted left explains why there is a light pink slice down the right --- the yellowless red on the right faded to pink, the red and the yellow overlap faded to orange, and the yellow on the left faded to a lighter yellow. The second card posted just shows that there are two sun-faded Cobbs.

Fun discussion, even if we are derailing this thread a bit.



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Originally Posted by yanksfan09 View Post
If you look closely on the top of the Cobb, you can see the red rectangle area is shifted to the right. On the upper left corner there is a slight gap of just light orange near the black border line, and in the upper left the red extends past the border line into white border. Looks like it must have been a print anomally.
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Old 03-26-2019, 06:27 PM
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the evidence is that the red and the orange on the upper left are perfectly aligned, which is because they are the same layer.
Except the red and the orange on the upper right are definitely not aligned, with the red bleeding over the border, and the pink staying within the border.

The sharply focused horizontal contrast between the red and the orange is much more likely to reflect the sudden stop of an ink pass than the partial and consistent sun damage required to make that happen.
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Old 03-26-2019, 06:30 PM
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The yellow is way brighter above the fade line than it is below it.
I think this is a optical illusion. Yellow contrasted to red will appear brighter than yellow contrasted to orange. If you cover the red and orange and just focus on the yellow line, it appears to me to be the same color and brightness.
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by barrysloate View Post
I saw the main collection many times in the 1980's and 90's, and it was easy to get an appointment. But as has been pointed out, people have stolen things from it over the years. It's too bad it's no longer available for viewing. Burdick would not have been happy about that.
Yeah... i decided Not ta go!

Way ta Turn, A Good ting Bad Guys...

(oN the Other hand!?)

Adam, thanks fir the grand writeup!
I remember reading it and wanting to go.
(Yeah, its been awhile

However, if Your free next month, maybe we could meet in New York and use your Creds ta get us All iN!!!!

Sorry, i got a lil excited dare...

And as for as the Mr. Cobb goes, i've learn'd a bit ago
I gotta Look at the Card iN me Hand!
(Not the Other Hand... ThiS Hand

(Bryan, Sell me your Jennings Ghost
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  #36  
Old 03-26-2019, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu View Post
I disagree, I think the top left is yellow, not orange. And the evidence is that the red and the orange on the upper left are perfectly aligned, which is because they are the same layer. For the upper left corner to actually be orange, the border of the orange pass would have to be non-linear and shoot way left at the top, which it didn't do because that isn't how the printing worked. The fact that the yellow is shifted left explains why there is a light pink slice down the right --- the yellowless red on the right faded to pink, the red and the yellow overlap faded to orange, and the yellow on the left faded to a lighter yellow. The second card posted just shows that there are two sun-faded Cobbs.

Fun discussion, even if we are derailing this thread a bit.
Interesting, but unlikely observations...
Were Sun to bleach/fade ink, it would not pause to decide to attack red-only pigments, but would equally take or lighten sections not colored by the red pass. So you would see the greys and black of the uni also heavily faded, the orange of his hair, certainly to a degree that would be obvious in comparison to other red background cobbs. Even the borders would show difference in tone from sections that were unexposed to heavy enough sunlight to remove a layer of color.
To boot, I've seen at least 4 examples of the 'orange' cobb including mine and the Burdick example, as well as a number of other T206 orange variations from their usual red. LOTG has a nice Chance up right now in their auction that also either got a lighter than usual pass of red or missed altogether.

It will take time for the community to come to agreement, just like with this Aaron, but they'll get there.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:28 AM
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There are definitely cards that are missing color passes and I am not saying that there aren't. And T206 inks weren't always mixed the same either - probably the most famous examples of this are the Hindu red background portraits that are actually red-orange. However, those cards are red-orange with strong colors throughout the card.

On T206, the red ink is the "weakest" - it is the first to change when a card is faded or exposed to chemicals. Black is the most resistant and stays fine through a lot of punishment. The fact that the yellow along the left border fades from top to bottom at the same point the red does makes this a pretty rock solid case of fading. I think all of the colors on both of these Cobbs (minus the red strip at the top of Burdick's) are a bit washed out (though unevenly watched out, as the colors don't fade at the same rate), which suggests sun exposure.

Here are more examples of cards that the sun has washed out only parts of and which are not print goofs. One Cobb clearly shows the outline of an album hinge on the corner. The other Cobb shows that there was something that covered the top and a sliver of the right side, though some light still was able to get under it. The others either had some sort of a clip, tape, or something else that protected that one section and made it fade slower than the rest.

Cobb scrapbook holder.JPG

Cobb partly faded.JPG

Burke sun a.jpg

Tape 2.1.jpg
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:55 PM
68Hawk 68Hawk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobu View Post
There are definitely cards that are missing color passes and I am not saying that there aren't. And T206 inks weren't always mixed the same either - probably the most famous examples of this are the Hindu red background portraits that are actually red-orange. However, those cards are red-orange with strong colors throughout the card.

On T206, the red ink is the "weakest" - it is the first to change when a card is faded or exposed to chemicals. Black is the most resistant and stays fine through a lot of punishment. The fact that the yellow along the left border fades from top to bottom at the same point the red does makes this a pretty rock solid case of fading. I think all of the colors on both of these Cobbs (minus the red strip at the top of Burdick's) are a bit washed out (though unevenly watched out, as the colors don't fade at the same rate), which suggests sun exposure.

Here are more examples of cards that the sun has washed out only parts of and which are not print goofs. One Cobb clearly shows the outline of an album hinge on the corner. The other Cobb shows that there was something that covered the top and a sliver of the right side, though some light still was able to get under it. The others either had some sort of a clip, tape, or something else that protected that one section and made it fade slower than the rest.

Attachment 348603

Attachment 348605

Attachment 348602

Attachment 348604
There are definitely cards that are faded and I am not saying that there aren't ().
I'm just grateful the sun left her sunkissed imprint on the cheeks and lips of these fine young men when all else was blast asunder....
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Old 03-27-2019, 02:22 PM
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I was surprised and saddened by how little the curators knew about the cards (as I said above, they could not even find many of the sets I needed because they did not know Burdick's nomenclature and when I tried to talk cards with them, they obviously had no idea what I was saying). It was sad as well to see just how under-utilized and under-catalogued the cards were. Burdick did a monumental job of collecting and mounting these cards, but a crappy job of cataloguing and indexing them. There are albums with literally nothing to define what is in them other than a single line entry. It appears that no work has been done to see what is in this collection over the last 40 years. In the boxing cards alone, I found literally dozens of unknown cards and variations that have been sitting there for 40 years, ready to be discovered. The head curator even admitted at the end of my visit that they don't know much about the collection.
Interesting read, thanks Adam. Long what I had suspected about the Met curators / staff and their approach to the collection. Sad because a couple of trusted hobby veterans could probably go in there for a week or so and improve the cataloging and index immensely, but I doubt they will ever let that happen.
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:37 PM
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Just did a moderately lengthy post on

https://vintagenonsports.com/

about my trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an appointment to view a few albums in the Burdick collection. Hope you enjoy it.................
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:51 PM
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Just did a moderately lengthy post on

https://vintagenonsports.com/

about my trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an appointment to view a few albums in the Burdick collection. Hope you enjoy it.................
Hi Tom,
Judy and I were thrilled to meet you and Kelly and the girls at the Met. Hope we get a chance to do it again.
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:14 PM
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I went to the Met last week and was pretty let down by this exhibit. There are only a few frames up and the card selection, with the exception of the N173's and the Gehrig Delong, was pretty weak. Glad I only paid 5 bucks.

If you go, the collection is in the American Wing and on a level called "Active Storage" or something like that.

Last edited by packs; 04-15-2019 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:22 PM
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thanks for this. i live right near the Met and it's so disappointing to see voluminous amounts of "crap" displayed in the Met (rows of silverware and wood carvings and glassware, etc.. maybe someone cares about this stuff, but its very uninteresting to look at), and they care little about, know so little about, and show so little publicly of this amazing collection. makes me very sad and angry!!



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Back in 2004 I got into the collection for research. Here is what I posted here about the visit:

Getting into the collection is like getting into the white house. You announce yourself at the front desk of the museum, where they check your ID and call up to the prints department to verify your appointment. You are issued a pass for the library and given directions. The library room of the prints department is behind a locked door. You ring a doorbell and they buzz you into the antechamber, where they take your bags, coat (if you haven't checked it), camera, pens, etc., and you have to produce your ID again, fill out a card with your info, and read and sign a page-long rules and regulations list. Once all that is done, they lead you into the reading room.

The reading room looks just like the reading room in any library; a couple of big tables with chairs. Only in this reading room, attendants hover and you cannot pull books at will from the shelves. The attendant sets up a velvet placemat in front of you and (because the collection is housed in books) two velvet covered bolsters on either side of the mat. The book is placed inside this rig so that it never lays flat, only in a "V".

You have to know exactly what you want to see and you more or less have to direct the curators to the proper volumes. Burdick wrote and printed a guide to the collection (it is in the same typeface and paper as the ACC, so I know it was printed) breaking up the collection by volume. If you are not very up on your nomenclature, you are dead in the water. For example, Book 202 is described as "A&G 1-48, 63-65" (not exactly, just as an example) and that's all the detail you get from Burdick. I tried to pre-arrange my viewing by sending them exact set names and numbers I wanted. The head curator told me that they could only ID about half of the sets ahead of time. I was able to locate the rest inside of two minutes just by viewing the book and knowing manufacturer and ACC designation (more on the lack of knowledge of the caretakers later).

Once they know what to get, they go fetch it for you. They roll in a cart with the books of the cards you want to see and they place a book in front of you. You are not allowed to touch the cards (obviously) or to have more than one book at a time. You can turn the pages yourself.

Remember that this entire collection is one guy's stuff, arranged by him. The poor bastard sat there for three years pasting down this stuff, and you could see that as he went on, he got less and less interested in tabbing things. By the time you get into the later albums, there are virtually no tabs at all, which made finding sets a bit of a challenge.

The paramount ground rule I was told of was "no looking at baseball cards." They were very adamant about this. However, the disorganization of the collection is such that you have to look through albums to get to certain sets, meaning that I had to look at baseball sets to find the boxing sets I was there to study, which led to a kind of funny incident. I was looking for the E211 set (York Caramel boxing) and had to go through an untabbed volume loaded with every E card you could think of to do it. The curator came over and said "you are looking at baseball cards." I said "no, I am looking for the E211 set of boxing cards." I started to describe what I was looking for, her eyes glazed over, and I had to keep going. What a shame...

In terms of my research, the collection was very useful. I was able to verify the existence of many cards, found many uncatalogued variations, and was able to flesh out some checklists. Oddly enough, however, Burdick was very spotty on certain sets. He had only 1 T229 Pet/Kopec card and only 2 E211 York Caramel cards.

Now for the fun stuff you all might appreciate: Owing to the organizational issues, I was able to view some of the OJ's, CJ's, E cards, and T cards. It is obvious that Burdick cared more about completion than condition. Cards range all over the place from poor to near mint. The OJ's I saw were organized by team, with an added section of miscellaneous cards, and averaged ex. The CJs were gorgeous--obviously a near mint set. Most of the T cards were strong ex to ex-mt. The T227 Cobb was stellar ex-mt. The Fatimas had lots of cracks and creases. Burdick also had two of the Fatima style PC backed cards, but in a different book--he obviously did not consider them to be Fatimas. The common E cards from the 1920s were all razor sharp sets. The E210 set was all over the place, from poor to ex, mostly vg. The great shame of it all was that every card was friggin glued down, very firmly. the CJ Jackson was obviously an "8" when it was put into place, but is poor now.

I was surprised and saddened by how little the curators knew about the cards (as I said above, they could not even find many of the sets I needed because they did not know Burdick's nomenclature and when I tried to talk cards with them, they obviously had no idea what I was saying). It was sad as well to see just how under-utilized and under-catalogued the cards were. Burdick did a monumental job of collecting and mounting these cards, but a crappy job of cataloguing and indexing them. There are albums with literally nothing to define what is in them other than a single line entry. It appears that no work has been done to see what is in this collection over the last 40 years. In the boxing cards alone, I found literally dozens of unknown cards and variations that have been sitting there for 40 years, ready to be discovered. The head curator even admitted at the end of my visit that they don't know much about the collection. Consequently, a very valuable and very useful resource sits mostly unused and "unloved" in albums in the bowels of the museum.

The trip was an absolutely amazing experience. Burdick's collection is unparalleled and priceless. It also was a thrill to see his writing and his notations right there on the pages he mounted, and to see what he was thinking when organizing the ACC.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:01 PM
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In response to the post about 52 Thousand items having been photographed and cataloged. I was reading the catalog I purchased from the Met and it stated that the collection contains over 306,000 items. So they have a way to go before finishing the catalog.
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:54 AM
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My collection as improved will be at the Detroit Institute of Arts this Summer. The T 206 collections includes many new 9’s and 1 of 1’s as well as a PSA 8 52 Topps Mantle. The museum had 100,000 people visit last Summer and I hope it brings joy to many. This Board was a inspiration for the collection and several of you were a great help, especially Bill Latzko.

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