Sunday, July 1, 2012

05 1955 Armour part 1

Saving the best set for last, lets go over the 1955 Armour set, the set that started it all.

The 1955 set consists of 24 players, 10 of whom were from the NYC area teams (Yankees, Dodgers, Giants). As far as we can tell in 1955 all of the coins came in all of the reported colors although some are much rarer. 1955 Coins were only available one per pack from the purchase of Armour hot dogs. No mail in offers similar to 1959 and 1960 were available in 1955. With variations there are at least 37 coins as listed below.

1955 Variations

 In 1987 (32 years after their initial distribution) when Bob Lemke published the 1st edition of the Sports Collectors Digest “Baseball Card Price Guide” 2 1955 Armour coin variations were listed : Harvey Kuenn (a) spaced letters in name and (b) condensed letters in name and Mickey Mantel (a) incorrect spelling (Mantel) and (b) correct spelling (Mantle). These same two variations were identified by Doug Stultz in his key SCD article in Feb of 1987. Doug was the first to attempt to capture the many color variations found in all of the Armour sets.
Starting in 1999, comparing notes with Doug Stultz and Larry Serota ( aka SFLAYank), who were bidding against me in early EBay auctions, we came up with numerous other variations in the 1955 set. In 2004 Lemke ( Editor of the Std Catalog of BB Cards - i.e. the BB card bible) accepted the Trucks variations (a) Whitesox vs (b) White Sox in the 13th edition of the Std. Catalog of BB Cards. By the 2006 15th edition we had identified and reported variations of Antonelli, Guilliam, Jackson, Jensen and two Mantle correct variations and they too were also listed. Since then, 4 more variations have appeared: (1) Gilliam with tight spacing on Brooklyn Dodgers (which has been added to the price guide); (2) Haddix with tight spacing on St Louis Cardinals; (3) Snider with a 341 or a .341 as is batting average and (4) Finnigan with either Quincy or Ouincy as his home town which are all undergoing the verification process. Credit for Snider and Finigan goes to long timer Laura Salzy.

2013 UPDATE - the Finigan, Snider and Haddix variations have not been added to the Std Catalog of BB CArds. Bob Lemke has retired and Krause Publications rejected changesto he 55 set right before Bob left. He describes heir attitude as being more concerned wit hmaking money than on accurately tracking new findings on old less followed sets.

It should be obvious but this is my blog and I get to say it " the Std Catalog of BB Cards " isn't the Bible anymore." Fortunately or unfortunaely it is now up to colelctors like me to maintain this info on the internet otherwise it will disappear forever.
The rare variations are usually the corrected ones i.e.
Jensen- Red Sox
Trucks - White Sox (two words)
Kuenn -Bats, throws (last line)
Mantle- correct spelling
but, in some instances like
Jackson – Infielder
Antonelli -N.Y
the correct variation is the common coin.
The Mantle, Gilliam and Kuenn coins exist in 3 different variations. In the Mantle case the incorrect spelling “Mantel” is the common variation and the corrected coin with “Mantle” spelled correctly comes in two variations showing him as batting “L or R” (more common) or “L-R” (rarest coin in the 1955 set). Since the only other switch hitter in the set is Gilliam, one cannot be sure whether “L or R” or “L-R” is the corrected version since Gilliam shows this variation also (the “L-R” variation is the rarer one here also). The 3rd variation of the Gilliam coin has different facial features (note the difference in the eyes and lips in the photo below), has a closer spacing (condensed) of the “Brooklyn Dodgers” on the front of the coin and comes (so far) only in the “L-R” variation. The last line on the back of the 1955 hitters coins is normally “Bats X Throws X” (X = L or R). In the 2 more common Kuenn variations (shown below) his name, “Harvey E Kuenn”, is either condensed or spread on the front of the coin and the last line on the back is “1954 Average 306”. The much rarer corrected version has the spacing corrected on the front of the coin and has “Bats R Throws R” as the last line on the back of the coin.
Lets take a close look at these variations.
Antonelli - N.Y Giants vs New York Giants on back of coin. New York Giants is the much harder to find variation

Jackson - Infielder vs nfielder on back of coin. nfielder is the much harder to find variation

Jensen - Red Sox vs Reb Sox. Red Sox is the harder to get variation.

Trucks - Whitesox vs White Sox , The two word white sox is the much harder variation
Guilliam - ( L or R) vs (L - R). L-R is the harder variation
Guilliam - Bklyn Dodgers spread vs tight. Tight is the much harder variation
Kuenn front - front Kuenn nornal vs spread vs Kuenn tight; back last line = batting avg vs last line Bats / Throws. Normal Kuenn with last line on back bats/throws is the much harder variation.

Finnigan - Quincy or Ouincy on the back. Both ~ equal population
Haddix - St Louis Cardinals tight vs spread. Tight is the much harder variation
Snider- with and without comma on date and .341 vs 341 on the back of the coin. Unsure of rarer variation at this time
Mantle - Mantle on front spelled "Mantle" or "Mantel" Incorreect spelling is the common coin. Corrected coins come with (L or R) or (L - R) on the back of the coin. Correct spelling / (L -R) is the hardest coin in the set

Next blog we will look at 55 colors .....................

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