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Ralph P
Reply with quote  #1 
Although I mainly collect R cards of the 1930s and 40s (once also did the 50-s and 60s but narrowed my focus), a few exceptions are still made in my collection . . . namely, some of the specific card sets that I recall collecting as a kid in Chicago. This is a pretty select group: Civil War News, Foney Ads, Blackstone Magic Tricks, Wacky Plaks, Funny Valentines and, of course, Leaf's SPOOK STORIES.


There is a variation back for Spook Stories cards with a pair of black dot 'eyes' that are hovering out in space, in between the words 'SPOOK' and 'STORIES'. Ron Wilson pointed this out in an issue of The Wrapper long ago, and speculated this the version of the cards with the 'bugged-out eyes' was probably the original version, with an error.

The fix-up for LEAF was to just remove the eyes, so the vast majority of Spook Stories cards you see nowadays are 'eyeless'. Just white eye sockets.

Next came Todd Riley, in another Wrapper maybe a decade ago, who with some fancy graphics footwork demonstrated that the cause of the variation was a reversal of a printing plate which had the eyes, putting the eyes in the wrong locations. He was able to show what the cards would have looked like, if they had been done correctly.

Perhaps Todd can use Photoshop here to demonstrate this?

Here's the two different versions of the backs:

Todd Riley
Reply with quote  #2 
Hey Ralph,

Yes, it was actually the Ghost graphic which someone had reversed on the backs. Here is what the back should have looked like had they paid their paste-up technicians more money:

Ralph P
Reply with quote  #3 
Nicely done, Marty!

A complete set averaging Ex/mt overall is really really good, cuz with these you just gotta take what you can get, when you CAN get em.

Consistent with Ron Wilson's early hypothesis, these probably WERE the earliest run of Spook Stories (before the error was found and corrected), so they would be both oldest version and also in limited supply. And probably adds up to a poorer condition bias, one would suspect.

I am trying to complete a second set of these (floating eyes only) and do have some dupes to trade, for those last numbers that I need. If anyone wants to do some trading, pls email me.
Reply with quote  #4 
hey ralph- i have tons of extra's. most regular and i think some wandering i have to look. please shoot me an email. are you looking for the wandering or regular issue? or both.
Charley Ramone
Reply with quote  #5 

Very Interesting...Never noticed. Cool!

Thanks for sharing!
Reply with quote  #6 
hi ralph- i am one of those, i did put a set together of wandering eyes, fun doing it, condition is all over the place but probably overall ex/mt.
Ralph P
Reply with quote  #7 

And Charley, you're not the only one who's never noticed. 

Although the info has been out there for quite a while, this is an extremely little-known variation even though most big stacks of Spooks may contain a few of the bug-eyed spooks!   I suspect the fact that it didn't turn up in the Benjamin guides has kept the knowledge a bit low-key.

But take heart, a few super-Spook collectors have indeed been able to put together entire sets of these, slowly accumulating them whenever they show up.

And there is at least one dealer out there who regularly puts a high-grade specimen onto eBay, starts the min bid relatively high ($9.99 or $14.99) and captions it as a rare "test" card.  He is max'ing his revenue and slowly selling em off that way.



Ralph P
Reply with quote  #8 
The second variation that collectors occasionally encounter with Spook Stories is that sometimes, there are different front/back combinations. For a while, I wasn't sure what this was due to . . . but more recently have learned that much of this can explained by an assertion that I believe is true, though little-known:

Leaf actually published a special version of Spooks Stories cards which I have been told were for distribution in the UK. These were not little mini-cards, like A&BC; they were printed by Leaf, but evidently outside the USA. These UK Spooks are the same size and sport the same overall look as the USA Spooks but differ in a number of specific features. These differences are easy to overlook until you are focusing on seeing them, and then you wonder how you ever missed em.

Different fronts on top of the backs


Let's look at card #9, backs first, UK on top and USA on bottom:

Yup, they are identical, though the color of the ghost is a little different, but that may just be these two cards. Can't tell.

But now here are the fronts, US on the left and UK on the right:

.........................................................USA Spook...........................................................................................UK Spook

Two things jump out at you:

1. Different fronts!

2. Even more interesting, notice the text line at the bottom. The wording "Printed in U.S.A." is missing from the card on the right, from the UK.

Other differences: Collectors of USA Spooks know that the card finish is like a genuine photograph, highly glossy and easy to scratch. The UK Spooks are different, but this can only be discerned when holding the card in the light and tilting it obliquely, so you can see the surface. The UK Spooks are NOT a hard shiny photo-type finish but are more granular, a bit like the textured surface of a basketball (exagerrating this to communicate the difference).

So there you have it.

Your last question is an obvious one: Given all the above, how do we know this is from the UK? The source I acquired these from told me that, with certainty. Am not sure if he bought these directly from the UK market but these are certainly not your everyday US Spooks. Everything else in the explanation hangs together, backing up the contention of a different, separate issue from outside the USA.
Reply with quote  #9 
Hello to All ,

Hi Ralph ,

In the early 1960's Leaf issued quite a few sets for the UK market . I'm sure there are more UK collectors that know more than me but ..

In 1962 they issued ' Totem Pole Talking Signs '


Ralph P
Reply with quote  #10!%29

Putting a lot of these up for sale on the BST -- don't see these too often.

Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #11 
Originally Posted by martyq
hey ralph- i have tons of extra's. most regular and i think some wandering i have to look. please shoot me an email. are you looking for the wandering or regular issue? or both.
marty I need a number 56 with the floating eyes . I have several duplicates to trade. Let me know if you are interested.
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