Harvey Kuenn takes a bow…

Harvey Kuenn. Fifteen seasons and a .303 lifetime batting average.

I think that this is the nineteenth painting done so far for our series–it is coming along swiftly. There’s still a lot to be done before we see any cards but I am very pleased with our progress thus far. But what do I do about the backs? Should we write bios or have a common back? Charles.

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8 thoughts

  1. The biggest inspiration was the Diamond Stars sets of 1934-36. I am intrigued by art deco backgrounds and believe that they will translate well with players from the 1950’s. My plan at the moment is to forego a white border and let the images run edge to edge. As for size, I’m thinking 3″x4″ but this may change. I’ll end up making some sample cards in different sizes before making a final decision. I think that you are suggesting that if the Diamond Stars were the main inspiration then the backs of our series should probably have bios. Van, thank you very much for your posting, you always give me good food for thought.


    1. Okay, I can see that now, Diamond Stars except with a full bleed. And even better than the Diamond Stars, because, you know, Sanjay Verma 🙂 I agree with you that the art deco aspects to that set were attractive and distinctive, and very much linked it to an era in American history and art in a way that few other baseball card sets can claim. Although it also looks great with a 1950s theme.

      The Diamond Stars backs aren’t particularly dynamic, visually, but they’re a “good read,” and I’m sure you could create something more attractive for your ’50s cards. Bios in the same style would be cool, but of course you’re not tied down to anything just because you’ve done it a certain way before. It should be whatever feels right; your artistic instincts are always good.

      Have you ever seen the Diamond Stars’ “extension series?” It was produced by Den’s Collectors Den in 1981, a set of 12 “lost images” that were never originally produced but later resurfaced.I think you’d like them; the artwork completely eschews realistic backgrounds for total art deco design.There’s usually a few eBay auctions going for this extension set, if you want to take a look.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had completely forgotten about Den’s extension series and had to look it up. Yes, they all had full stylistic graphics. Interesting. Peppering a few in there would be nice but I wouldn’t want too many. If I recall I did only one full stylistic art deco card in the Game of the Century series and I liked it very much. I had just been playing around with shapes and colors and kind of liked one design. As for Denny Eckes, we were pretty good friends. At the time I had a company that made plastic sheets for cards, among other things. Denny used to have me make sheets to his design and logo. He had a good time at my wedding; it was very nice of him to drive from Maryland to Detroit so that he could attend. It was a complete shock when he passed away a month later! He was still in his forties. He was a really good guy. One thing I remember about him is that, at shows at least, he would refuse to take credit cards. His reasoning was that if you had to use a credit card than you couldn’t afford to be collecting. I remember him saying something about, and I’m paraphrasing here, “taking money from the family to pay for a hobby”. Thanks for reminding me, Van.


      2. Wow, Charles, I had no idea that you had a business arrangement with Denny Eckes; I probably have some of your plastic sheets deep inside some of my card albums 🙂

        What I miss about those days is that there used to be an attempt to provide all sorts of pocket sizes for plastic sheets, for the wide variety of card sizes produced back in the day, by people like Rotman Plastics (and, I assume, by you for Denny). Now, you’ve got BCW and Ultra Pro dominating the market, and they put out quality product, but they have precious little in the way of a variety of sizes and shapes. Would that there were still companies catering to those collectors who have something other than 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 cards in their collections.

        I’d forgotten that Denny had died so young. He was one of the great dealers of that era. He sounds like he had a real old school attitude towards collecting. And, as I recall, he had a good rep in the hobby as a decent guy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, traditionally with Helmar, the design of the backs have tended to informed by whatever card series inspired the Helmar series. For instance, Fthe Cracker Jack and Goudey sets had descriptive backs, so the Helmar E-145 and R319 series had bios as well. Likewise, both the original and the Helmar T-206 sets have had a multitude of advertising backs.

    Of course, recent sets like Oasis and Polar Nights have been an amalgamation of styles, leaving you to make your own call on how to approach the backs of the cards. Personally, I liked your approach for the Oasis series, rotating the seven different advertising backs of actual tobacco products.

    So maybe the question is, what sets you believe to be the greatest inspiration for the new ’50s series? And what size and shape will they be?

    Liked by 1 person

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