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Thread: Why do collectors shun printing plates?

  1. #16
    Senior Member joey12508's Avatar
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    I think some compliment the cards in my collection.




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    Senior Member gracecollector's Avatar
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    I love them, but I can see others' points that they are less attractive than actual cards. They are a tool used in the printing process, so they often have ink smears or scratches as they aren't made to last forever. I'm still chasing a full set - have got to 3 of 4 on one card.

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    Senior Member MisterT's Avatar
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    I love the design @mouschi did. I agree that it does not need to be that involved, but something to make them more attractive would be nice. I buy them from time to time, but there is really only 1 that I care about. It was from Topps 2005 after Boston won the series...It was a "curse" card and I "had" to own at least one of the plates from it.
    Last edited by MisterT; 09-09-2016 at 02:09 PM.

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    After posting this online, a few other ideas came out:

    A booklet with the entire plate ...



    and a booklet with pieces of all plates used ...

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    Senior Member MisterT's Avatar
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    Amazing. I prefer the single plate book to the multi. Man, I hope they make those!

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    Senior Member Juan Gris's Avatar
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    That multi-plate card is a great design.

    I only pick up printing plate cards if they include an auto. Anything else doesn't hold my interest.
    Always Looking For Adam Dunn Autograph Cards, 1/1's And Game Used Bats!

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    Senior Member hive17's Avatar
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    I would buy them whenever I can, if not for the fact that sellers tend to hold them hostage a stupid price points. They refuse to let the market dictate what they should go for, so they remain unsold, thus adding to the theory that they are not liked by collectors.
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    Junior Member sierra79's Avatar
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    Generally, I'm not a huge printing plate person (In fact I don't have a single one at this time in my collection). However, I think they look killer when compiled with a rainbow set. I can understand both points of view. With that said, I do love preproduction material, especially from the 80's and early 90's when the product was overabundant and the images of the cards themselves were pierced into my childhood memory. Original photo match prints or color separation proofs (which remind me of Andy Warhol art) are absolutely awesome as they provide rarity in an otherwise saturated market. Seeing an '87 Donruss Bo Jackson RC always hits me 100% with nostalgia, but to see a color separation proof...well that would be too cool (Never seen one by the way). I'm still waiting for the day that the Topps Vault releases ANY Maddux 1987 preproduction material - it's going to put me back a little.

    With regard to the printing plates, I guess there are two things that have kept me from jumping on them.

    1. I would prefer spending my resources on (true) 1/1's, pre-production material from the 80's to mid 90's, or things of that nature.
    2. They are placed in packs with cards which doesn't quite have the same impact (to me) as material that was back doored or made without initial intention of selling it as a collectable.

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    Junior Member Mark70Z's Avatar
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    I personally think the printing plates are cool. I'm in the boat where I enjoy the production process, but also understand individuals who like the finished product. To me, I'd rather have a printing plate, match print photo, transparency, etc. to the regular issue card. They produce tons of cards, but these items are pretty much one of a kind and kinda cool to me at least.

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    Senior Member Austin's Avatar
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    I have mixed feelings about them. They're cool because they were used to make the cards.
    Imagine having a printing plate used to make iconic cards like a the '89 Upper Deck Griffey rookie, or vintage cards like a '34 Goudey Ruth or '52 Topps Mantle.

    But don't companies use several, dozens or in the case of mass-produced '80s cards, possibly hundreds of printing plates, because they get worn out?

    And then one of each color of those dozens of plates used is saved to be inserted into packs? Or maybe the printing plates inserted into packs are just clean spares that weren't even used?

    So technically, printing plates are like 1/1s, but many more were actually used to create the set's cards and then were thrown out.
    Last edited by Austin; 09-09-2016 at 09:27 PM.
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    Senior Member fordman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    I have mixed feelings about them. They're cool because they were used to make the cards.
    Imagine having a printing plate used to make iconic cards like a the '89 Upper Deck Griffey rookie, or vintage cards like a '34 Goudey Ruth or '52 Topps Mantle.

    But don't companies use several, dozens or in the case of mass-produced '80s cards, possibly hundreds of printing plates, because they get worn out?

    And then one of each color of those dozens of plates used is saved to be inserted into packs? Or maybe the printing plates inserted into packs are just clean spares that weren't even used?

    So technically, printing plates are like 1/1s, but many more were actually used to create the set's cards and then were thrown out.
    You would be correct on all accounts! If there was an '89 UD Griffey, '43 Goudy Ruth or '52 Mantle set of plates out there, I'm sure there would be collectors going nuts over them.

    Yes, printing companies keep more than one set of printing plates. The plates dont really wear out, they do get clogged up with ink if the ph in the ink goes up or down really quick. The printer operator either has to stop the press, hand wash the dies or remove it, replace it with a clean one, then get it back in time with the other 3 colors and off he goes. Then clean the die once it's off the press. It's really a facinating process. I worked for Georgia-Pacific years ago in their packaging division and really not a whole lot has changed with printing processes in 70 years other than the machines are faster and we now use soy/water based ink vs lead based ink.

    Fordman

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    Quote Originally Posted by fordman View Post
    (...) they were actually used to make the cards we go after.
    are they really? All the plates I own look too clean to have been used to make the cards we get. I'd expect the plates to have some misc or stray ink stains on them and especially on the reverse from handling. My feeling is that one set of plates are created and cut up to be inserted rather than using the plates to print some cards and then get cut up and packed out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsmath View Post
    are they really? All the plates I own look too clean to have been used to make the cards we get. I'd expect the plates to have some misc or stray ink stains on them and especially on the reverse from handling. My feeling is that one set of plates are created and cut up to be inserted rather than using the plates to print some cards and then get cut up and packed out.
    I believe them to be, but then again, I don't have any proof one way or the other. I would think it to be very unethical (which I wouldn't put it past any company) to make them under the assumption that they were used to print the others, only to find out they were just made to be sold. If they weren't used, they still do have the cool 1/1 factor going for them. But then again, I believe them to be used.
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    Senior Member Austin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordman View Post
    You would be correct on all accounts! If there was an '89 UD Griffey, '43 Goudy Ruth or '52 Mantle set of plates out there, I'm sure there would be collectors going nuts over them.

    Yes, printing companies keep more than one set of printing plates. The plates dont really wear out, they do get clogged up with ink if the ph in the ink goes up or down really quick. The printer operator either has to stop the press, hand wash the dies or remove it, replace it with a clean one, then get it back in time with the other 3 colors and off he goes. Then clean the die once it's off the press. It's really a facinating process. I worked for Georgia-Pacific years ago in their packaging division and really not a whole lot has changed with printing processes in 70 years other than the machines are faster and we now use soy/water based ink vs lead based ink.
    Cool first-hand information. Thanks!
    Set builder, autograph hunter and fan of the Texas Rangers & '50s-'60s Yankees

  15. #30
    Senior Member fordman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsmath View Post
    are they really? All the plates I own look too clean to have been used to make the cards we get. I'd expect the plates to have some misc or stray ink stains on them and especially on the reverse from handling. My feeling is that one set of plates are created and cut up to be inserted rather than using the plates to print some cards and then get cut up and packed out.
    We're going to have to take them for their word that they were used in the actual card making process. The companies arent going to order a set of printing dies just to cut them up, way too expensive for that. The dies are cleaned before they're cut up and inserted into packs. The dies are made of stainless steel, add that to the soy based inks used now vs lead based, there isnt any staining of the plates. I've seen plenty on ebay that have a magenta or yellow hue to them, so that should tell you that they were used, just wasnt cleaned that well before cutting up.

    Fordman

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