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Civil War News - Short Prints

March 16 2017 at 7:43 AM
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Todd Riley  (Login

Seeing the Round-up thread - I wondered if anyone knew what numbers in Civil War News were short prints? Didn't Topps print on 132 card sheets? Wouldn't there be 44 short prints? (Assuming there was not a 2nd sheet with the other half double printed) Anybody have any info?

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Alan Miley
(Login alanmiley)

Fuzzy answer

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March 16 2017, 11:54 AM 

While it is not a definitive list, I have found that my stocks of higher numbers stack up faster than lower numbers. Some time ago, I posted something to this board about the question but it found little traction. Without a true list, I just went with the approximation and now price my high numbers at half book. A more precise list wold be appreciated.

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Todd Riley

Re: Civil War News - Short Prints

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March 16 2017, 12:55 PM 

Thanks Alan. Some insight is better than nothing. Like you I also would like more concrete answers.

Question: I know your feelings about the PSA pop reports and personally agree with them. However, in this case do you think they might be helpful? As you stated, one reason for a skew in the numbers is that when short printed cards are known they tend to influence submission rates. Since nothing has been published (that I am aware of) on this set maybe that's not a factor. (I understand that #1 and #88 would be exceptions.)

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Todd Riley

Re: Civil War News - Short Prints

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March 16 2017, 1:57 PM 

Just for fun I pulled the pop report (only interested in totals) added what I had and sorted by the total. Not sure what we can determine from this but it is interesting:

Order Count Card Num
---------- ---------- ----------
1 154 74
2 159 24
3 166 25
4 168 8
5 173 7
6 173 49
7 174 12
8 178 11
9 179 46
10 180 9
11 183 32
12 183 80
13 185 18
14 187 33
15 191 44
16 191 72
17 192 3
18 192 23
19 194 57
20 194 66
21 197 30
22 197 59
23 198 20
24 199 43
25 200 26
26 201 2
27 204 34
28 205 21
29 205 65
30 206 37
31 206 61
32 207 67
33 207 81
34 207 83
35 208 17
36 208 35
37 208 63
38 208 77
39 209 82
40 209 86
41 210 58
42 212 14
43 212 28
44 216 85
44 mark ----------------------------------
45 217 13
46 219 50
47 220 70
48 222 5
49 224 87
50 228 27
51 228 55
52 229 73
53 230 68
54 231 45
55 231 78
56 232 16
57 232 31
58 232 64
59 233 69
60 233 84
61 235 53
62 236 48
63 238 54
64 239 22
65 240 29
66 242 75
67 243 6
68 244 15
69 245 41
70 245 79
71 246 4
72 246 56
73 248 36
74 248 38
75 248 40
76 249 62
77 251 71
78 251 76
79 252 19
80 257 52
81 263 10
82 266 39
83 274 47
84 275 60
85 279 51
86 283 42
87 310 1
88 343 88

Note: This does illustrate exactly what you are talking about. Many more cards 1 & 88 have been graded than any other in the set.

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Alan Miley
(Login alanmiley)

Pop Report

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March 16 2017, 2:38 PM 

My main caveat on the pop report numbers is that high demand cards may tend to be disproportionally submitted. "High demand" here can mean short prints, short series, first & last cards, checklists, or "stars." This only applies to #1 & #88 here, although I find #2 may be in above normal demand also.

Anyway, for the other 85-86 cards, it may be assumed that absent a short/over print list, the populations may reflect the submitted populations may better reflect the natural populations.

The correlation may be a little complicated by the effect of condition. For example, consider Look 'n See Rembrandt. It seems to be off center in a higher percentage of cases than other Look 'n See cards. Now if we suppose that some Civil War News card has the same tendency to be off center (or to have some other manufacturing flaw), then it is less likely to be submitted and will have a lower pop. If you are interested in getting your set on the registry, shortage of well centered cards is equivalent to shortage of cards, but if you are just trying to fill an open slot in your binder, the card may not be considered a short print. Similarly, if you are trying to reconstruct the printing sheet, an artificially low submission rate will distort your data.

A wild card here is in collation into packs. Do wax and/or gum stains differentially affect certain numbers?

Sorry if the question elicited an over-extended babble.

Here is how I would examine the hypothesis:
1) Assume that #1 and #88 are SPs and throw them out. If assume different, this merely affects the numbers in step 2).
2) Divide the remaining cards in the least common 42 and the most common 44
3) Plot the populations of each of the cards
4) See how well the plot reflects two normal distributions
5) Ideally, the peak of the common distribution would be twice that of the scarce distribution, but the tendency to collect entire graded sets would tend to throw this off. So I ask see whether the difference between the peaks "feels" right.

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(Login flubadub)

Re: Civil War News - Short Prints

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March 16 2017, 3:58 PM 

I can say with certainty that there are no short prints in CWN. PSA pop reports are useless in this instance as there are several numbers that are always o/c and don't get sent in for grading as much. I've opened many cello packs and found no cards to be short. There are even 7 cello packs if the right number is on the back, there's a checklist in the middle, for sure. With that type of consistency it wouldn't seem like there would be short prints. I also had two complete sets of cello packs with each number on the front of the pack. Not possible with short prints. Ron Wilson would know as much as any body cause he broke a lot of cellos to make sets.

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Alan Miley
(Login alanmiley)

pop report graph

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March 16 2017, 4:05 PM 


I saw your last post after I completed mine. I fed your numbers into a spreadsheet, threw out #1 and #88 and came up with the following:
[linked image]

where the x axis is the number from the pop report and the y axis is the number of subjects from (2-87)

You can make a case for two superimposed distributions although I would be more happy with a better separation.

I would say that anything from your list with a pop up to 209 is probably a SP, anything 228 or more is a DP and anyting in between is ambiguous.

Of course, if I were really ambitious, I would organize a survey and compare the results to this.

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Todd Riley

Re: Civil War News - Short Prints

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March 16 2017, 5:24 PM 

Thanks flub! That helps.

I also heard Topps printed on 264 card sheets at some point. If they did that with CWN that would be exactly 3 sets so there would be no short prints.

I'm mainly asking this as I do seem to keep getting a lot of the same numbers when I pick up lots. I didn't know if this was just coincidence or if there was something more nefarious going on. (I think SP/DP are pretty nefarious!)

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Alan Miley
(Login alanmiley)

Me too

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March 16 2017, 6:49 PM 

I also have seen quite a few discrepancies in my CWN acquisitions. It seems like there are more that would be explained by sampling over a flat distribution. I am at a loss for an explanation.

Again, I was out of synch, posting my stats before seeing flubadub's experiential account. It would be nice to hear (read) Ron Wilson's confirmation.

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(Login egbeachley)

Re: Civil War News - Short Prints

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March 16 2017, 9:01 PM 

1-44 are clearly less in quantity than 45-88 but I don't see any significant variation within those groups.

Alan, I wanted to add on what you said about grading with poor centering. You make a good point that poor centering may prevent cards from being sent in. But it also means that there would fewer cards getting higher grades and, therefore, those cards that are better centered may get sent in when they otherwise wouldn't.

Hope that makes sense. Basically, the same event that causes lower submissions may also increase them.

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(Login flubadub)

Re: Civil War News - Short Prints

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March 16 2017, 10:03 PM 

I don't know what ever happened to Ron Wilson, or if he reads this forum. He would take up half the room with all his "stuff" at the old AU Non Sport show in Chicago. And he knew his "stuff". Wrote the best Indian Gum article ever written for the Wrapper. Maybe Les can chime in.

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Todd Riley

Re: Civil War News - Short Prints

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March 16 2017, 10:58 PM 

Well, I actually contacted Ron and here is what he said...

Hi Todd;
Actually in the Wrapper magazine I wrote a long article, it may have only been one page very densely typed, explaining what we found in the Civil War News find. I don't think it was an article entitled Civil War News, but one of those articles where I just tell some of the things I'd been seeing in the hobby.

The discussion you are describing, is one where the concept seems to be impossible for many collectors to grasp no matter how many times I explained it to them. With Topps printing 132 card sheets and the set being only 88 cards, what we saw in our find was 88 cards and then duplicates of the other 44. So, in our haul, there was a massive double printing of the same 44 numbers over and over again. Regardless of the large number of sets we made it, just think of how many additional sets we could've made if the cards had been there in equal numbers. Given that crazy time, those probably would've sold as well.

Much of what was in our haul, was a bit off-center, and we had to cull out the best ones to make our sets. As I explained in the article, we made tons of sets. It's amazing how the market can totally absorb a find if it's something where the demand far out strips the supply. Find 20 sets of something very rare, but of something they don't care about, and you'll have a hard time selling them all.

Now just because our lot seemed to be all off the same single sheet of 132 cards, doesn't mean they only had one sheet layout going. My theory is a lot of these overstock vendor boxes that they threw on the market were done so because they had a bad print run or something was off-center. Through the years most every single vendor box from Topps that I saw were mis-cuts and off centers. I think this is the way they still got a little money off of their mistakes.

So, in reality, we might have just gotten the results of a single day's bad print run off of a single printing line, when in actuality they might've had two or more different sheet layouts running on presses that produced the cards normally in equal numbers. It could also be that they didn't and that the normal run was with short prints. For this set, I tend to believe that they had at least two sheets going and that in the normal print run – when there were no errors – that the cards were made in equal numbers. That's what I tended to see outside of our find it. Again that may not be the same with other sets.

So, with Civil War News and with any other set where there is a later find of such factory stock, often badly cut – as I recall with the Movie Star set from the 50s that were in abundance and with only certain numbers, there are two questions being asked. One, was the set originally produced with short prints and over prints, and two, as a result of later finds that were biased toward being from a single printing sheet with over prints, what is the end result?

I firmly believe that in both the case of the movie star cards and in Civil War News, they were originally printed on more than one layout sheet such that there were no short prints or over prints. However, what with literally tens of thousands of cards surviving that came from what appears to be a single printing sheet that didn't allow for equal numbers to be printed, the end result is that on the current market the populations of cards available are biased only because the newer unbalanced finds far outweigh the equally balanced early print production that managed to survive.

So, even though our find was fun, we spent hundreds if not thousands of man-hours culling through the cards just to produce the decently centered sets that we sold. Anyone who looks back sees that with what was left we sold them in bulk and didn't hide the fact that they might be off-center. So, buyer beware when you are offered cards from what was a Topps vendor box, that it is quite possible that they only got there because Topps wasn't happy with the quality. That may not have always have been the case, but time and again it is what I saw. If you inspect them, you can find a lot of good cards there, but my experience has been most vending boxes have a lot of off-center cards and that was the reason they were not put into wax packs for the kids.

Go find the article I wrote in the Wrapper that described in depth what we found in our Civil War News find. Hard to believe it was 25 years ago. For now, I'm tired of typing on this small phone screen, so enjoy your cards and say hello to everybody!


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(Login flubadub)

Re: Civil War News - Short Prints

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March 17 2017, 8:26 PM 

Well I have a problem with some of what Mr Wilson said. Every thing I got was not in a vendor box. They were either unopened cello boxes (36) packs or 36 count rack pack cases. In every instance every thing was sealed. Topps sold that type of material at their warehouse which you could go to and by closeouts. Just like X-out boxes of Football and Baseball. It wasn't crap they put in a vendor box to get rid of, rather crap that just didn't sell and the vendors returned it for credit. Maybe Ron bought a different batch but I'm sure we bought it from the same guy. I had multiple cases of each and found no problem making sets, although I sold a ton by the box or rack pack. I almost flooded the market. This was just prior to the advent of grading. Now, since grading I'd be willing to bet there is little unopened left out there.

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