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Printing Error a Bad Gamble On Poker Tour –Cagle

September 2011
Bits and Pieces

This summer our humble offices here on Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia welcomed author, CEO and printing industry good guy John Foley, he of Grow Socially fame. I took note because, earlier, Foley had remarked in a post on his Facebook page that he was in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Alas, Foley hadn’t ponied up $10,000 to play in the Main Event; he stopped in to watch some of the live play. “It was awesome. All you can hear are poker chips shuffling,” he wrote.

Had Foley attended the WSOP a few weeks earlier, he would have had a front row seat for a bit of a controversy that involved, believe it or not, a printing error. It seems printing errors were being spotted by WSOP players, allowing them to identify low spade cards that were lying face down. The TV lights used by sports network ESPN illuminated the problem.

The WSOP card decks were produced by U.S. Playing Card of Erlanger, KY. According to Bluff magazine, tournament officials replaced the decks with cards used in the previous year’s World Series.

You would think someone associated with the WSOP could’ve cleared out the local Wal-Mart’s supply of playing decks. Using year-old cards hardly seems up to championship standards.

With the lack of nighttime events taking place during Graph Expo, perhaps John can organize an industry game. Hey, it is Chicago, after all.

MR. COFFEE, MEET MR. ZIP: There are three Joe DiMaggio personas that Americans came to know, depending upon their age.

There was Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, the highly respected and multi-talented center fielder for the New York Yankees. Then came the Joe DiMaggio who married Marilyn Monroe; the stormy union lasted less than a year and made for great tabloid fodder during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Finally, we saw DiMaggio the pitchman, most notably hawking Mr. Coffee.

Well, now we have Joe DiMaggio, a.k.a. the “Yankee Clipper,” gracing a postage stamp. The man known for his 56-game hitting streak and denying Boston rival Ted Williams of the MVP award on more than one occasion, bats leadoff in the U.S. Postal Service’s 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star stamp series. Three other Hall of Fame legends, which hadn’t been named at press time, will join DiMaggio.

The baseball stamp series will be released July 2012 in sheets of 20. It’s part of the U.S. Postal Service’s efforts to increase interest in stamp collecting via social media (including its Facebook page).

The New York Times noted that while this marks the first appearance for DiMaggio on a U.S. stamp, he was actually depicted on a stamp issued by Ajman in 1969, an independent emirate in the Persian Gulf that is now part of the United Arab Emirates. As an aside, people are only honored posthumously on U.S. stamps, but many foreign countries depict still-living people on their postal releases.

You can check out Mr. Coffee himself in a feature about stamp collecting in this issue.

PRINTING GYPSY: Frank Romano, the wandering sage of all things printing, brings us this interesting tidbit regarding The Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA: it has acquired the Charles Francis collection of printing for display. The museum, an ideal location for industry events and parties, will have an exhibit of the Francis Collection beginning in 2012.

A backgrounder, courtesy of Mr. Romano: From the 1880s to the 1930s, the Charles Francis Press was one of the largest American printers. The Francis Press was the major tenant in the Printing Crafts Building, the first building designed for multiple printing industry tenants. Symbols of historic printers are still present above the main entrance.

With fellow printer Theodore De Vinne, Charles Francis helped to establish the predecessor to PIA and wrote several books on printing company management. Francis collected books and artifacts about printing history, which he donated to the New York School of Printing, also a tenant. In 1956, the school moved into its own building and was re-named New York City High School of Communication Arts.

Most of the library was packed in boxes and stored away for 50 years. In 2006, RIT Professor Emeritus Romano and a small team of volunteers organized the collection. The City of New York has converted the building to a Gateway School for technical subjects and print was reduced to one small set of courses.

New York gave some of the Francis Bibles and other items to Fordham University, and the balance to the museum, including the brass memorial to Charles Francis.

Letterform expert Paul Shaw acquired certain duplicates on art and design. One of the items is a commemorative book signed by every student of the school on the 80th birthday of Fred Goudy.

The museum itself houses a large collection of letterpress tools and presses, and boasts the only collection of historic phototypesetting systems in the world. The 25,000-square-foot museum also stakes claim to one of the largest collections of print-related books, ephemera and typeface art ( PI

–Erik Cagle


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