Saturday, September 28, 2019

Depression's Got A Hold On Me

Well, you learn something new every other day or so I guess.  I was poking around a while back and spotted a very interesting article from the Brooklyn Times-Union October 30, 1933 edition concerning the long-time HQ of the American Leaf Tobacco Company (ALTC) at 7 Debevoise St., which my intrepid readers know as the primordial Shorin family company's second location:

I do believe the ALTC survived as an ongoing entity until 1938 so this foreclosure notice is a very intriguing find. It appears the Shorins partnered with a couple of members of the Rabkin Family and together they owned the four story building that had housed the ALTC since around the time of World War 1. I have not seen any associations between the Shorin and Rabkin families before, so this bears some further investigation. The connection with a paper company is intriguing as well.

The building, as you can see, was auctioned on October 14, 1933 so it seems possible the ALTC continued to maintain a presence within as renters but again more research is needed on my end.  The Shorin's were starting to heavily invest in gas station properties around Brooklyn at this time, so there may have a been a plan in place for dumping losses into 7 Debevoise St., or they just got over-extended. Either way, this further supports some reports I have seen from this era concerning the family's real estate investments. The family and ALTC primarily did business with Manufacturer's Trust, so the Williamsburgh Saving Bank may have been brought to the table by the Rabkin's.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Anaglyph You A Headache

One of the more forgettable fads in the 1950's was 3-D.  A craze developed around this gimmick that went from movies, to comic books to trading cards in short order following the release of a movie in Late 1952 called Bwana Devil.

B Movie fare for sure but it was off to the races in Hollywood and 1953 saw several major motion pictures premiere using one of two different processes, both of which required the viewer to don a pair of cheap cardboard glasses to experience the 3-D effects promised in the posters and adverts of the day.

Topps issued two 3-D sets, both featuring Tarzan, who was featured on the silver screen in Tarzan And The She Devil, released on June 15, 1953, albeit in standard black and white.

Topps took this movie and had a 60 card set made up in 3-D.  A proof panel surfaced recently and the dating is interesting as you can see it's stamped September 15, 1953. So it took Topps three months to bring the set to fruition.

The set sold well and it was followed by Tarzan's Savage Fury, which used scenes from a 1952 movie and given the dating of the proof above, looks to have been issued in 1954.

View some of the cards below, just make sure you have the red and blue version of the glasses!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Wrappers Delight

I'll spare you all the historic details of the Star Wars movie franchise and lengthy history of the Topps sets issued in the wake of the world's most popular Space Opera saga (40 plus years strong and counting) but do want to focus on an esoteric issue from 1978 today.  Commonly referred to as Star Wars Movie Photo Pin-Ups, Topps printed 56 different images on the backs of sugar free gum wrappers in 1978 as the frenzy around the first Star Wars movie (now known as "A New Hope") continued unabated.

These interior wrapper images are nothing special and were clearly just pumped out with very little editorial effort:

These measure about 2 7/8" x 3 5/16" once opened and flattened but the real money shots are the four exterior wrapper varieties:

Also of particular interest to me, is the little production rip along the blank edge of these wrappers (which images come from, I believe the Twitter feed of one "Mr. Non-Sports"), although where R2-D2 has gotten to, I'll never know.  I've covered this rip in depth previously here and keep progressing the end date for same as I examine newer sets.  The rip is not from opening the packs but rather a result of the packaging process at the factory.  I'll leave it to you all to determine if this should hugely impact the grading of such affected items but it's interesting that the original equipment used to produce the first Topps confections in 1938 was still in use forty years later.  It was described as "ancient" by Topps in 1938 so its exact age is far older.

The box is pretty nice too:

I grabbed that from and you should head over there if you want more details on this set as he has an exhaustive page on it with the full set illustrated along with plenty of ancillary material.

As noted by Mr. Monin, the set didn't sell well and it's not all that easy to find these days.  The real standout though, is a bit of a Topps anomaly, namely a full box wrapper:

The trumpeting of the lack of saccharin was a direct result of of the Saccharine Study and Labeling Act of 1977, which required warning labels for products using this artificial sweetener. I'm not sure if this extra wrap was to maintain the freshness of the gum, draw attention to the lack of saccharin or some kind of attention grabber for the retailer but it's pretty neat no matter what its purpose.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Nice Pull

So I managed to glom another 1968 3D card in the latest REA extravaganza and it's got two characteristics that intrigue me, although since I collect 60's and 70's Mets cards, it's really three characteristics.  I'll leave it at the first two for this post though for you non-Mets fans.

Here is one of the heroes of Game 4 of the 1969 World Series, pre-Miracle:

We will come back to the front momentarily. The back is reason No. 1 I wanted this specific card.

We've seen those stamps here previously and they also come in black.  The auction in question featured one back with a black stamp (Fairly "No Dugout" variation) and a whopping eleven with the red version, including the "Dugout" version of Fairly.  The Clemente was lacking the stamp, otherwise there would have been a complete set of reds, which is the most I have ever seen in one place.

By the way, a master set, per Keith Olbermann, includes five variations (Fairly, Maloney, Flood, Powell and Staub), all of which can come with either a red or black stamp to boot, although only blank backs would have been included in the Topps test packs.

Take a look at that lower left corner of the card front.  You can clearly see two "pull" marks:

Those are similar to those found on my Maloney "No Dugout" card:

The two marks on Maloney are spaced farther apart so I don't think they represent damage from a "grabber" used after the cards were cut apart.

They likely do however, represent a problem related to the cutting process, where portions of the ribbed lenticular coating used to create the 3D effect would pull away from the surface during production.  I suspect problems like this (and expense) contributed to the demise of this set, rather than just a poor test response.  Just look at the long run of Kellogg's 3D cards from 1970-83 and aftermarket interest in this set to gauge what the interest level could have been.