Monday, March 31, 2014

One More Card to a Complete Set

Hello readers! Admittedly, I don't get to post often here as a result of it being very hard to find the remaining cards to complete my set... however,

I found a 1992 Lena Blackburne #905 "All Star FanFest" card !!!

As I had mention in the "1991-95 Prototype / Promotional Cards - 41 cards" post, I was missing 6 cards; four(4) VERY rare 1991 cards, the 1992 Lefty Gomez #662 "Prototype" and the 1992 Lena Blackburne #905 "All Star Fanfest" cards.

Now I am down to five(5) missing cards - four(4) of which I may never reasonably locate... but that doesn't dent my excitement today !!!

Here is the photo - and please check out the post about these special prototype cards as well :)



Saturday, March 9, 2013

They DO exist! Significant "FIND" ...

Back In July of last year, I questioned the existence of four(4) cards listed in the Sports Collectors Digest Catalog of Baseball Cards and also mentioned at Beckets.com. Although the details provided there are not quite correct, it turns out the cards DO exist.

One of our readers (let's call him Al) wrote me to say he had a Dizzy Dean card numbered 34 and copyrighted in 1991. That was the most recognizable card of the four as mentioned in my July 2012 post. The Dizzy Dean card was obviously planned or "guessed" to be #34 at the time the prototype was printed - but became #3 in the 1991 main set released later in the year.

I was excited. If the Dean card existed, the other three cards likely did as well.

He also mentioned he had three others that, when described, sounded like one of the first 2 printings of the 1991 set. Al agreed to take pictures of the front and back of these cards (as well as the Dean card) and send them to me.

Let's just say my newfound excitement quadrupled! All 4 cards were, in fact, the 4 cards in question - the early 1991 prototypes I was beginning to think never existed. It is reported there were only 2,940 of each of these cards printed.

#34 Dizzy Dean

No Curtis copyright on back
Megacards 1991 copyright on back
No MLB logo under the card number on back

This card differs from the #3 1991 main-set card by number (#34 versus #3) and the lack of the Curtis Management copyright.



#110 Babe Ruth

No Curtis copyright on back
Megacards 1991 copyright on back
No MLB logo under the card number on back

This card is listed in SCD as #145 in B&W (I now believe this is in error and should have stated card #110). The only difference between this card and #110 in the 1991 main set is lack of the Curtis Management copyright.



#111 Lou Gehrig


No Curtis copyright on back
Megacards 1991 copyright on back
No MLB logo under the card number on back

The only difference between this card and #110 in the 1991 main set is lack of the Curtis Management copyright.



#250 Ty Cobb

No Curtis copyright on back
Megacards 1991 copyright on back
No MLB logo under the card number on back

The only difference between this card and #110 in the 1991 main set is lack of the Curtis Management copyright.


Al tells me he conversed by mail with the Megacards CEO years ago, Mr.  Steve Juskewycz - who gave him these cards, I assume, for being so interested in the Conlon project. A great story!

Tremendous thanks to "Al" for contacting me and providing us with more information on this wonderful set, and congratulations to him for having what might be the hardest 4 cards to locate in the over 2,500 cards of the Conlan Collection.

For the rest of us, let's keep looking. There's 2,939 still out there! :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Autographed Cards

Between 1991 and 1994, 20,000 autographed cards were randomly inserted into factory sets. These cards included seven players; Johnny Mize, Bob Feller, Bobby Doerr, Enos Slaughter, Johnny VanderMeer, Hal Newhouser and Marty Marion (approximately 3,000 of each player).

Signatures were done in silver ink on the B&W cards. The silver, however, has turned mostly "white" over the following years.

NOTE: Any cards with autographs NOT in silver or white ink ARE NOT the original factory released autographed cards.

A few complete factory sets with these bonus card are still unopened. These unopened factory sets would be the best way to own an autographed card.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blog Update - Feb 2013

Hi readers. I've updated a number of sections on the Blog, nearing completion of all Conlon baseball cards produced from 1981 to 1995 - a 14 year run than created over 2,500 wonderful examples of Charles Conlon's photography. I still need to review everything for accuracy and will be adding a post about "signed" cards in the near future.

As always, I welcome anyone out there that might know further details about these cards and will certainly give you credit for any new information uncovered.

As a footnote; I continue to work on completing my own collection. I am in search of 3 specific cards (not including 4 cards I suspect really don't exist lol). I'm listing them here in case someone out there would be willing to sell them...

1. Copyright 1992, Lefty Gomez #662, with "prototype" printed on the back.

2. Copyright 1992, Lena Blackburne #905, with "all star fanfest" printed on the back.

3. Copyright 1994, Bill Dickey #36, blue background, color photo (color insert)

If anyone has the above card(s), please contact me at bigcity@citygate.net


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Do they or don't they?

UPDATE: Read updated information posted March 9th, 2013

Both Beckett.com and Sports Collectors Digest mention that there were four (4) Black &White prototype cards printed in preface to their first 330 card set. The descriptions read that these cards were distinguishable from the main set cards as follows..

#111 Lou Gehrig 
         (no Curtis Management copyright on the back of the card)
#110 Babe Ruth
         (no Curtis Management copyright on the back of the card)
#250 Ty Cobb 
         (no Curtis Management copyright on the back of the card)
#34 Dizzy Dean 
         (no Curtis Management copyright on the back of the card)
         AND differs in card number from the main set (#3)

These cards were reportedly printed in a run of only 2,940 cards each.

Admittedly, the first three cards listed would be very hard to spot since one would have to actually notice that the small print on the bottom of the back side only included the Sporting News copyright PLUS there are only 2,940 of them in existence.

The Dizzy Dean card would be much easier since #34 is either Dizzy Dean's prototype card or Bill McKechnie's main set card.

My concern, however, is this; 21 years after their release, I have not found a single reference of any of these cards being found. The only reason we even know about them is because of Beckett's and SCD's descriptions. It's certainly possible I've simple missed a hint somewhere, but I'm curious if anyone else has a clue as to the validity of these cards.

If you do, or have a comment, please email me at bigcity@citygate.net. I'll be sure to add your information here with your approval.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tip of the Iceburg

One detail about the 1991-1995 annual sets that is usually forgotten, is that the 1.430 cards published were less than half of what was originally planned as a 10 year project. The 1994 baseball strike and an over-saturated new-card market combined to interrupt the grand plan to showcase Charles Conlon's 8,400 original glass negatives in the middle of 1995 after the release of the '95 110 card set.

Seventeen years after that date, however, there still is hope that the set may someday be complete.

(Quoted from http://rogersphotoarchive.com) John Rogers, RPA's owner, was seven years old when he fell in love with the black-and-white imagery of baseball icons on vintage baseball cards and started his collection. By 2008, he was one of the world's great sports memorabilia collectors and traders, paying $1.62 million for a rare Honus Wagner baseball card.


Along the way, he acquired the photo collections of the top baseball photographers from the early 1900s to present day. He eventually amassed the world's largest privately-held collection of photographic images. His library of 52 million images includes vintage studio photographs, news photos, glass plate negatives, and cutting-edge digital photography. He began leasing the images in 2000, eventually expanding his business to forge partnerships with publications and photographers all over the country.

In 2010, Rogers purchased, from The Sporting News, Charles M. Conlon's 8,354 glass negatives spanning from 1904 to 1939. He currently prints high quality prints from these frames, but also plans on continuing the original 1991-1995 Conlon baseball card series.

We cross our fingers and wish him luck.