Sunday, September 4, 2016
Mystery wrapped in a riddle: How is this card supposed to have been centred?
Another week, another 1970s Calbee pickup, in this case card #17 from the 1977 set (famous scenes series). It features members of the Yomiuri Giants taken on October 16 at Korakuen Stadium singing a "song of victory" after going from worst to first under Shigeo Nagashima`s management.
The card carries a huge mystery to it which I am having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around. It seems to have been miscut on both the top and bottom, yet on both sides the nature of the miscut precludes the possibility of the other side`s miscut.
Look at the top of the card. The heads of Sadaharu Oh and Isao Harimoto are cut off from above the eyebrows. It seems the card should end a bit higher than that, so at least you get the entire faces of the two main players in the centre, right?
But then look at the bottom of the card. The lower, smaller bottom line of text says "巨人Ｖ１” but it has clearly been cut in half, with the lower part of the text completely off the card.
The miscut on the top suggests the card was cut too low, while the miscut on the bottom suggests it was cut too high. Under the laws of physics currently in force in the known universe it is not possible for these to both be simultaneously correct, yet they both exist. What gives?
In case you are wondering, the card has not been trimmed at all, it is identical in size to a standard card from that set. I can`t make heads or tails of this. The only explanation I can come up with is that the image on the card itself was somehow accidentally printed at 1.1 or 1.2 times magnification, making it too big to fit on the card. But I`ve never seen a card with that before.
Kind of a mystery, I almost feel like I am looking at an MC Escher painting or something. Anyone else come across similarly weird card cuts?
Raz in the comments made a pretty good find, locating the above image which seems to show how the card was intended to look when correctly centred.
This just really opens up a whole new can of "what?" worms. Calbee actually intended this card to have Sadaharu Oh and Isao Harimoto`s faces cut clean out of the photo? In order to provide more room on the bottom for that lovely image of....the backs of photographers?
I`m guessing there were a few quality control issues related to how images were centred on printing plates with Calbee cards in the 70s, there are a couple of other cards I have with questionably centred images. On most it isn`t noticeable since moving the centre of the image a bit only crops out a bit of random background, but on cards where some key element (like say the faces of the NPB all time home run king and hit king) is close to the edge, errors like this become really hard to miss.