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  #1  
Old 07-09-2017, 07:08 PM
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Default The Curious Case of 1972 Harmon Killebrew...

There are quite a few 'In Action' cards from the 1972 Topps set that are just a nightmare to find anywhere near 'perfectly' centered (#40 Bob Barton IA and #50 Willie Mays IA immediately come to mind). Don't take this as scripture, but they are generally found cut correctly (no tilt), and just OC left to right or top to bottom. Once in a while, though, a centered version does pop up. Probably because Topps printed so many freakin' cards that year, that the blind squirrel found an occasional acorn, as the saying goes.

But it gets stranger. I don't have a pic of an uncut sheet of cards from that series, but all of the other series runs had the IA cards grouped together in the corner of the printing sheet (usually with 2 of each card in the layout). So here is a list of the 12 different cards that would have been neighbors during the first series print run:

32 Cleon Jones IA
34 Billy Martin IA
36 Jerry Johnson IA
38 Carl Yastrzemski IA
40 Bob Barton IA
42 Tommy Davis IA
44 Rick Wise IA
46 Glenn Beckert IA
48 John Ellis IA
50 Willie Mays IA
52 Harmon Killebrew IA
54 Bud Harrelson IA

Now, virtually all of these guys are hard to find perfectly centered, and I'm reasonably certain no one is aware of this, but it's apparent that the Harmon Killebrew IA card just exists in a whole other universe altogether. This card is one of the most ubiquitous cards out there (you probably have 5 of them within reach right now), but although there are untold bazillions of them wherever you look (ebay, COMC, card shops, etc.), I dare say you will never see one perfectly centered. Among other things, they are almost always found off-centered way to the left and 99% of them are noticeably tilted to the left, like so:

1972killebrew52.jpg

Even when you think you have found one, a closer look will undoubtedly reveal the image to be slightly tilted to the left. In looking at the PSA page, I do see there have been a handful of cards graded a 10, but I'm wondering if they, too, actually have a slight tilt and/or are off-centered a bit more top to bottom than should be the case? I dunno.

So what’s the point of this thread, besides to simply point out this anomaly? Well, obviously, if anybody has one perfectly centered (with no tilt whatsoever) I’d love to see it or trade for it, but more importantly, if all of these cards were printed together, why in heck don’t the other ‘In Action’ cards (and the 'regular' cards, too) on that sheet show the same wicked ‘Killebrew tilt’ throughout the run?? It's not like the blade was running straight and then suddenly veered off when it reached card #52 and then corrected itself again. Some cards, like Cleon Jones IA (and perhaps others) have a lot of tilted versions, but not nearly at the same rate as the Killer’s card. And (assuming he wasn’t at the very top of the print sheet) if you follow the left edge of his card and treat it as a cropping line, wouldn’t a large percentage of the images on the cards above him be sheared off as the cut continued upward?? Why isn't that the case?? It makes no logical sense.

Anybody wanna bet that soon after this thread is posted someone is going to post a picture of a bunch of 1972 Harmon Killebrew IA cards they have that are perfectly centered?? Ha ha!!
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:12 PM
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I was asked what exactly was meant by, "And (assuming he wasn’t at the very top of the print sheet) if you follow the left edge of his card and treat it as a cropping line, wouldn’t a large percentage of the images on the cards above him be sheared off as the cut continued upward??"

So I randomly superimposed a Killebrew IA card (third column from right, fourth row from bottom) over a different IA card in a photo of an uncut sheet, and then drew a line (in white and it's easiest to see it by starting at the top of the image) along the edge of it and upward to show how the cut would've screwed up the cards (in this case) above it. In creating this graphic, it wasn't done to perfection (in fact, it's a bit of an overly conservative reading of the actual angle of the tilt), but this will give everyone a good idea of what I'm talking about…

1972killebrewcutfinal.jpg
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Last edited by JollyElm; 07-09-2017 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:16 AM
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Mine's pretty nice, but there's still a bit of tilt.

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Old 07-10-2017, 08:04 AM
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It looks very nice to me Bob. if you detect a tilt to the card, just tilt your head in the other direction when you look at it.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:47 AM
murphy8276 murphy8276 is offline
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The PSA 10 last sold went for a steal for registry purposes, but it wasn't a PSA 10 IMO. Had tilt and several spots of PD around the outsides if you ask me. Should have been a PSA 9 pd.


Last edited by murphy8276; 07-12-2017 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:11 PM
jmoran19 jmoran19 is offline
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here's the full 1972 first series sheet.

Killebrew IA is on right half, column 9 row 8 and 11

John

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Old 07-12-2017, 10:20 PM
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Hey, John, thanks for posting that! Been looking for one for quite some time. In the example I created (above), I was very close to getting the proper placement right. Pretty cool.


As stated, there is a huge percentage of Killebrew IA cards that are cut on an angle, but when you look at, say, #17, Dave Duncan, cards (two of which appear in the same column as the Killer cards), they are obviously O/C virtually across the board, but there is barely an angular cut to be found in the group.

Take a look here to see a whole bunch of Killebrews (with a ton of angle cuts):
https://www.comc.com/Cards,sl,=1972+52

And here to see a bevy of Duncans:
https://www.comc.com/Cards,sl,=1972+17

How does this make sense?? If the blade was straight and the sheet was cut on an angle, the offending angular cut of the Killebrews should appear on a similar percentage of all the other cards in the row and (most likely) on all the cards printed on the sheet.

What in high heck is going on?????
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Last edited by JollyElm; 07-12-2017 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:02 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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Since the masks would have been done by hand, it's possible the card is a bit crooked on the sheet. I expanded to 200% and still couldn't see any difference, but it would be pretty small.
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