Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1948 Leaf Pirates

This month’s VCoM comes from the 1948 Leaf Pirate release, each card was included in packs of Pirate Bubble Gum. Around this time companies began to realize that there was a market for the cards so they began moving away from the illustrated entertainment cards and began evolving in to sports card makers. Leaf, Topps and Fleer all rose in the 1950s in the sports card world. The 1948 Pirates release is actually one of Leaf’s final non-sports releases and by 1949 they had released baseball and football sets only.

Similar to the illustrated sets of the 1930s and 1940s these cards are bright, reds and yellows were pretty much the standard. One thing that you will notice though is that the printing used here is different than previous sets, the printers used a process called Ben-Day printing where colored dots are used to create various colors and shading, this is a relatively inexpensive way to adjust colors. It is pretty common in comic books and it reminds me of the activity books I had as a kid where I could use a wet paint brush to create water color paintings.

There are 168 cards on the checklist, the big names include Blackbeard (Edward Teach) and Anne Bonney. This is one of the more difficult sets to hunt down, the big name cards rarely show up and even cards in rough condition tend to sell higher than you would expect.

Greaves was not what you would consider a typical pirate, he came upon the career by mistake as he was trying to escape his violent master. While swimming across the Carlisle Bay he climbed on to a ship assuming it to be a merchant vessel but it turned out to be the ship of the pirate Captain Hawkins, a very violent pirate. To keep from being killed he joined the pirate crew but eventually got in a duel versus Hawkins, who he killed. Greaves was selected the new pirate captain by the crew. He eventually retired but was captured later and sentenced to die, he escaped from prison during the Port Royale earthquake of 1692. Eventually he was pardoned and became a well-known philanthropist.

The card is solid and the card board is stiff. Some of the colors are strong but there are areas where it has been rubbed away, noticeable in the green. There is quite a bit of aging discoloration on the front and back. The back has three spots where it appears that the card may have been taped in to an album.
I wonder if I can still send 5 wrappers and 25 cents to Leaf to get the specially designed 32 page album.

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