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billbengen

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all.

    I am preparing an article on the 1956 Topps "Jets" series for a future issue of "The Wrapper". In particular, I am focusing on the issue of upright and inverted backs; particularly, why both exist in the series, and why only a few cards (two to my knowledge) occur with both upright and inverted backs. I would appreciate if any of the board members could help with the following questions:

      Has anyone discovered cards other than #148 and #228 with both types of backs?
      Can anyone explain why Topps elected to print some cards with upright backs, others with inverts
      Has anyone seen an uncut sheet of "Jets"?
      Does anyone know about the printing process employed with Jets; was it different than that used 
               for other Topps cards of that era? 

 
    Any insight you could provide would be helpful.

    Best in collecting, Bill Bengen
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John Shupek
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Go to my Skytamer website.  Use the following link

http://www.skytamer.com/R707-1.html

Good luck.

John A. Shupek
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Northrop Grumman Program Director F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (retired)


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billbengen

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Hi John,

    Thanks for the link. I have visited your Skytamer website before and it is terrific, especially for an old aero engineering student like myself.

    Not sure, though, I was able to locate answers to the specific questions which I posed. If you have any leads on them, or if I just missed it, please let me know.

    Best in collecting,

    Bill Bengen
billbengen

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Wow, I thought this board knew everything. I guess I really threw out a couple of stumpers![smile]

Bet in collecting, Bill Bengen
bvb5366

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Bill:  Your questions sent me to my Jets cards which just happened to be handy. I am engaging in some pre-estate organizing and I have a lot of cards all over the place. I checked out the two numbers you mentioned as going both ways. I had not known about the inverted cards vs straight-up cards previously. Thanks to my duplicates, I found I had both versions of those cards so I now have both versions in my set. Thanks for that info. As to why- who knows for sure this long afterwards. How about a speculation- the cards were printed in 121 card sheets. After printing the first sheet they had 119 cards to fill a 121 card sheet. Someone, possibly at random, picked out two cards to fill the spaces and (remember that this is Topps we are talking about) seeing the way they were set up decided to turn them around in the second position. As for why some were matched up with the picture and others were inverted in the first place, I can only refer you to my comment in the last sentence.  Oh yes, in my random group of dupes, numbers 148 and 228 were both present 4 times while everything else was either 1 or 2.   

       Has anybody ever set up a list showing which cards are inverted normally? If I could get such a list I would go through my dupes to look for differences but I am too lazy to make it up from my set. Just asking.

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billbengen

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Joe,

   Thanks for your thoughtful response and your suggestion about the 121-card sheets. I had considered that, but since the Jet cards were issued in two 120-card subseries, would a 121-card sheet be needed? And even if it were used, since both #148 and #228 were second series cards, wouldn't a first-series card have been used to fill in the 121st slot on the first-series sheet? The mystery continues to deepen, which is the way I prefer it!

   Below is a listing of all the cards in Jets which I have compiled, indicating whether the backs are Upright (U), Inverted (I) or available in Both (B). As it turns out, the inverted and upright backs are present in about equal quantities (but not exactly equal). Note also I have indicated whether the front of the card is printed in Landscape (L) or Portrait (P) orientation. The series contains just 12 cards in portrait. All 12 of the portrait cards have their backs printed in the same orientation, which I have defined as "Inverted" (I). This list probably should be double-checked, even though I have checked it three times against my set.

     I also thought that since the Jets cards are about the same size as 1953 Fighting Marines, they might have used the same sheet arrangement- but I don't know what that was.

      Best in collecting,

       Bill Bengen
 Spreadsheet- 1956 Jets.jpg

Billyo9999

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Reply with quote  #7 
Just to add a little more speculation in support of the 121 card sheet theory.  Isn't card 121 listed as a Spotter Series card like the first 120 cards?  So if card 121 was printed on the same sheet as the first 120 cards, that would leave 2 spots to fill on the second sheet which became the 2 extra inverted cards.
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bvb5366

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Reply with quote  #8 
Bill B.: thanks for the list. I will gather my dupes and check them out, As far as the logical way to place two 120 card sets on two 121 card sheets we must always keep in mind that we are talking about Topps. In his book, Dave Hornish starts out his article on the Jets set by saying "Jets is a strange set." I think we can certainly agree that he is correct. As for Topps card placing logic I remember that a year after Jets I was trying to make a set of Planes and I could not understand where cards 9 and 61-64 could be. I ended up with 3 complete sets of 1-8, 10-60 and 65. I can be stubborn at times.
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billbengen

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Hi all,

   I want to congratulate Billy O. and Joe Marciano for jointly solving one of the mysteries of the "Jets" series. Joe mentioned the likelihood of a 121-card sheet for Jets, which I thought was possible, but I wondered if that conflicted with the issuance of "Jets" in two separate 120-card subseries, which I thought was established fact. 

    As it turns out, Dave Hornish, in his work on Topps 1950's cards, mentions that Fighting Marines and Look n See series, identical in physical dimensions to Jets, were printed on 121-card sheets. However, he made the same mistake I did in assuming that the two different back themes of Jets ("Spotter Series" and Plane Facts") were evenly split down the middle of 240 numbers. The real clincher was Bill O's mention that the first 121 numbers have backs which display the term "Spotter series", while numbers 122-240 are labeled "Plane Facts". Thus it seems that the first subseries of Jets consists of cards #1-#121, while the second series comprises cards #122-240, plus double printing of cards #148 and #228, for 242 cards in total. Mystery apparently solved. Great work, gentlemen!

    This finding seems to be substantiated by examination of the PSA Pop Report for Jets, which reveals that cards #148 and #228 have been graded in far greater numbers than the average number- in fact, about twice as much as average.

    Still remaining is the mystery why the backs of cards are split almost evenly between "upright" and "inverted." I am not aware of any Topps series which displays this peculiarity; usually the backs are all oriented in the same direction. Any takers on this one?

      Best in collecting,

      Bill Bengen




non-sports daniel

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Reply with quote  #10 
This board is a great pool of knowledge; that's for sure. Looking forward to your article Bill.
toppcat

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbengen
Hi all,

   I want to congratulate Billy O. and Joe Marciano for jointly solving one of the mysteries of the "Jets" series. Joe mentioned the likelihood of a 121-card sheet for Jets, which I thought was possible, but I wondered if that conflicted with the issuance of "Jets" in two separate 120-card subseries, which I thought was established fact. 

    As it turns out, Dave Hornish, in his work on Topps 1950's cards, mentions that Fighting Marines and Look n See series, identical in physical dimensions to Jets, were printed on 121-card sheets. However, he made the same mistake I did in assuming that the two different back themes of Jets ("Spotter Series" and Plane Facts") were evenly split down the middle of 240 numbers. The real clincher was Bill O's mention that the first 121 numbers have backs which display the term "Spotter series", while numbers 122-240 are labeled "Plane Facts". Thus it seems that the first subseries of Jets consists of cards #1-#121, while the second series comprises cards #122-240, plus double printing of cards #148 and #228, for 242 cards in total. Mystery apparently solved. Great work, gentlemen!

    This finding seems to be substantiated by examination of the PSA Pop Report for Jets, which reveals that cards #148 and #228 have been graded in far greater numbers than the average number- in fact, about twice as much as average.

    Still remaining is the mystery why the backs of cards are split almost evenly between "upright" and "inverted." I am not aware of any Topps series which displays this peculiarity; usually the backs are all oriented in the same direction. Any takers on this one?

      Best in collecting,

      Bill Bengen






Beat me to my own facts-curses!  Actually, I was about to post on the identical sheet sizes --which I should have caught when I published in 2013-- when I saw this and your updated query. I will post an update though-perhaps I can quote your piece once you publish and update it on my book's almost dormant blog? FWIW I am planning a revised edition at some point in the reasonably near future and have kept track of updates such as this, even if the book update blog has gone quiet. and also am breaking ground on a second volume which will be purely Non-Sports themed, or that's the plan at least.  Since my first book morphed from a small guide to the postage stamp sized 1949 cards to the larger study it became, so who knows?!

As for the inversions, Topps often did this in the 50's if it made sense to print things a certain way, depending upon the design of a particular set.  1954 Topps Baseball is a good example as the top border on the fronts bled to the edge, so "pairs" of cards were printed where one row was inverted and the top edges met at their respective borders. That covered the obverse; the reverses were just oriented in one direction so when cut the backs are half inverted, half not. Those bright red bottom borders on Jets would follow the same pattern. the portraits were likely grouped together when printed in their own little subsection or two-do they have any miscuts where a small sliver of red shows on the longer edge?

There may also be two 121 card half sheets that make up a 242 card master sheet, just like the 132/132 array they used for standard sized cards. That might explain why there is an oversupply of inverts or non-inverts as an even distribution was not always accomplished by Topps using this approach.  My guess is any discrepancy in the count will occur to a total of cards divisible by 11.  I have never seen an uncut Jets sheet.

54 topps uncut sheet cropped.jpg

I'll cross post the table of early Topps card sizes I developed for my book, it's an excellent resource to help see why certain things were printed a certain way, or when they were developed and produced.


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billbengen

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Reply with quote  #12 
That's fabulous stuff, Dave. Seems like another Jets mystery has been dispatched. Thanks for all the research you have done on cards, we have all benefitted from and enjoyed it. Best in collecting, Bill Bengen
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