Friday, 26 May 2023

Them Gumball Helmets

All nine 1967 Multiple Brands CFL Gumball Helmets  

Around 1967 a set of small plastic CFL themed helmets were produced, probably by one manufacturer but distributed by multiple different companies. So far complete helmet sets in white corrugated boxes have been identified from potato chip maker Humpty Dumpty Foods of Ontario, Federated Fine Foods of Manitoba and Orange Products Inc. of New Jersey (who would also produce NFL helmets in branded boxes and NHL novelties). They may have been available for a few seasons.

The helmets came with a large sticker sheet with team helmet logos (numbers for Calgary) and a second smaller sticker sheet with revised Calgary and B.C. helmet logos (some sets seem to have just included the 4 alternate logo stickers separately). There was also a third sticker sheet with seven team colored stripes (no Calgary or Montreal) so that you could customize each of the nine helmets helmets to match the team. Nine facemasks were also included and additionally there was a plastic goalpost tree you could assemble to hang the helmets on.

Three sticker sheets and two loose revised logo stickers

It is believed that beside full sets these were also available individually in gumball machines for 5 cents each. The  example shown below proves that they were at least packaged differently with separate team sticker sheets. An associated gumball capsule trophy that was supposed to stand for the Grey Cup but the resemblance was poor, also has been reported as having been available for a limited time. 

Although typically cellophane packaging was used when the item was in contact with food items which would not have been the case in the gumball capsule. I've seen references to versions with a pencil sharpener in the helmet as well and these definitely existed for NFL but I have no images of a CFL example to show

Late 1960's Argonauts single packaged helmet

By the early seventies you could buy PAX brand helmets, first in packages of 3 with three plastic footballs and eventually in a boxed set for all nine. The PAX helmets look cheaper than their earlier counterparts and the stripes were painted on rather than stickers. The glue used on the PAX logo stickers tended to dry up and the stickers fall off so if you find any unopened packages today, the stickers will be loose inside. The Alouettes, Argonauts, Eskimos and Tiger-Cats logos were different from the earlier helmet issues. There were also small oval stickers for the balls as well. 

Early 1970's carded PAX helmet packages with classic poster backgrounds 

All nine Early 1970's PAX CFL Gumball Helmets

PAX logo stickers

Eventually PAX issued a complete set of gumball helmets in a branded box with an elaborate gooseneck style goalpost stand that was much nicer than the old stand, except it only held six helmets at a time.

Early 1970's PAX Football Hobby Kit

I believe that this pictured city named ball is PAX related although it is a different style than the normal PAX balls from the carded packages or the box set. It is possible it could have been issued either early or late in the promotion but unfortunately I don't have any specifics. It was pictured in an auction with CFL gumball helmets so there is some relationship there. 

Multiple Brand goalpost tree on left, PAX goalpost tree on right

The two types of helmets are pretty easy to tell apart, since all but the Calgary and Toronto items have the stripes painted on the PAX versions, and even in those two cases it is clear, especially if you have both versions in hand. The following pictures show the differences in detail. There is no indication where the earlier helmets were manufactured but generally speaking production of certain novelty products was moved to Japan (50's, 60's), Hong Kong (60's, 70's), Taiwan (70's, 80's), Korea (80's, 90's) and now of course China.


1967 era helmet on left, PAX helmet on right

Besides the 1967 helmets being a deeper more translucent plastic, you can see the pins where the facemask attaches is shaped differently. The horse sticker is on backwards on this particular helmet.

The 1967 facemask has more rectangular edges whereas the PAX facemask is rounder and glossier.

Both helmets have four mold holes in the top but the PAX holes are larger and deeper.

The biggest difference is the underside of the helmet where the tabs are different sizes and the PAX helmet has "MADE IN HONG KONG" stamped inside.

So plenty of differences but the issue of which issuer it belongs to is complicated by the fact that everybody and their dog is now making these gumball helmets and selling them online, with every possible helmet logo variation from made to order sticker sheets. Since I don't know what the modern helmet shells look like, I don't know if you can differentiate them easily. Also in some cases manufacturers have managed to source the old toy maker molds so they may be producing exact replicas now.

Finally there exists a somewhat rarer gumball helmet that is about 1 1/2 times as large as the standard size helmet and in this case is in gold plastic but they came in many different colours. This larger toy was in a capsule labeled "Jokes ~ Tricks ~ Puzzles ~" and that is about all that is known about it.

Early 1960's Vending Machine large gumball helmet

You may not be able to make it out but the distinctive underside of the helmet says "MADE IN CANADA" which to me dates it definitely before the PAX helmets and probably before the 1967 helmets as well. Scrunched up inside the helmet was a sticker sheet with team names and stripes. Western Rider fans would have to find an Eastern sticker sheet for their team, oh well at least the team name was spelt wrong with a hyphen for both franchises.

So what are these items worth? Well near-mint versions of the 1967 sets were selling on ebay for $400-$500 about twenty years ago, so they probably would rate at least that today. The PAX set maybe $175-$275 depending on the determination of the buyer. $100 - $150 for the PAX sealed packaged versions depending on condition. 

As for individual helmets, assuming you can be assured that they are vintage and not modern reproductions I would think $20 to $30 would be a reasonable price for the 1967 helmets, $15 to $20 for the PAX helmets and $30 - $50 for the larger helmets with capsule & sticker sheet.

Whatever the style, these little helmets are challenging to pursue and fun to own.

Thanks to Wayne Shukin for some of the images used in this post.

Thursday, 27 April 2023

Difficult To Catalogue Photos

If you collect CFL material you will occasionally encounter vintage photographs of a variety of different types. From a cataloguing point of view I have tried to list all photos, typically called media photos, that specifically focused on each individual player (often an action version and a portrait closeup version), or a posed group of players or a team photo. In order to help differentiate the hundreds of media photos sets produced, the photographer becomes an identifying part of the issue title if the photos are stamped by the studio on the reverse.

But there are a number of categories of photographs that either can't really be catalogued or can but don't make a whole lot of sense or can only be listed with considerable difficulty. One of these categories I like to call "Photos of Photos".

These photos from 1938 are clearly photographs taken of an already existing photograph as you can see the boundary of the originals on the scans. Apparently the negatives were not available to produce new prints and so the photographer shot new photos and processed those. These photos were then sent to Liberty magazine for use in their All-Star Canadian Football Team story. None of these photos has a studio stamp on the back.

Liberty Magazine, Dec. 17, 1938

You can see the pin holding the original to the wall on the Ferraro picture top right, and then at some point all of these photos of photos were probably tacked to a bulletin board and then torn off. 

Here are a couple of more recent examples of photos of photos, two of the biggest stars of the fifties Eskimo dynasty Johnny Bright & Jackie Parker in two of their most recognizable photos that were reproduced countless times in newspapers and magazines and on sports cards.

The backs are stamped by one of the most prolific photo providers for the Canadian market, the Toronto Star Newspaper Service. They may also have shot the original photos at one point and they made sure their copyright notifications were prominent on their products. These photos were used by Liberty Magazine for a certain issues and either earlier or later by the Calgary Herald as the handwritten notification indicates.

The Liberty art department typically used a stamp with four triangles labeled ON AT IN NB which is where the editor indicated they wanted the photo ON what page number, AT which position, IN which issue and I suspect NB might have stood for the Latin "Nota Bene" to communicate something or other. 

A category of photographs that can't typically be catalogued because of the sheer number of them randomly produced, are those that document various team activities, game action shots including sideline pictures, pre game preparations, post game celebrations and league events. 

Left: Sam Etcheverry with 1955 Schenley winners
Pat Abruzzi, Tex Coulter and Normie Kwong
Right: Charlie Shepard, Bud Grant, Kenny Ploen

As you might have surmised by now a lot of these images came from the archives of Liberty magazine which must have been released to the market at some point. Liberty, along with other Toronto based magazines such as Maclean's and Saturday Night were primary consumers of these types of photos from the service providers. Presumably Maclean's archives are still maintained by the company since they remain in business today.

Below you see this game action shot of Ron Stewart from Ottawa photographers Newton, used exactly where the ON AT IN instructions specify in the November 1961 issue of Liberty magazine.

Liberty issues from this era are notable for occasionally putting hard to get colour photos of the players on the cover.

In certain cases the photo studios produced attractive player specific images (possibly on demand for a particular story, or possibly just as part of their regular documenting of the sport) that are similar to regular team media photos that I believe should be listed in the catalogue. Here are two such 8X10 images of Hamilton Tiger-Cats John Barrow and Cookie Gilchrist from the Star Newspaper Service probably in 1957.

But the problem is how to categorize them. To be consistent the issue should be named in part for the photography studio, but then should all photos produced by a given studio go in one set?, or one set per studio per season?, or segregated further by team? or segregated by the publication user of those photos such as a Liberty set? per issue? per year?

There is no complete listing of even the subset of player specific photos that I think make good candidates for cataloguing. There is no complete listing of Liberty / New Liberty CFL magazine stories (or Maclean's or the Star Weekly or Weekend / Canadian / Canadian Weekend magazines) and many of these publications tended to change their names over time further complicating things. For all of these reasons these photos have not been catalogued. But they still make great collectibles if you can get your hands on any of them.

Thursday, 30 March 2023

1962 Post Short Print Surprise - (Volume 1 Update)

Recently I was engaged in prepping the image files for the classic Post 1962 CFL set (for the upcoming digital catalogue) and while reviewing the notoriously difficult to acquire short print cards (accumulated images as well as actual physical copies) it seemed to me that I was looking at subtly different versions of many of them.

These versions of the short prints have no physical layout differences, but the ink colour tends to black  on the left side photos and tends to dark blue on the right. One has to have high res images (or actual physical copies) to be able to zoom in and really notice the slight colour discrepancies. 

As most vintage collectors know these short print cards apparently were printed on the backs of a cereal (Grape Nuts) that was much less popular than the other brands (Alpha-Bits, Bran Flakes, Sugar Crisp & Grape Nut Flakes). Volume 1 of Collecting Canadian Football listed 10 Short Prints and this blog post publicized 2 additional for a total of 12 distinct players, all of which are available printed in dark blue ink border and text. The short print cards I physically have on hand are definitely dark blue, a slightly darker blue than the regular issue cards blue ink.

I initially thought that the differences I perceived in ink colour were just due to bad scans calibration or lighting inconsistencies but the comparison of the following two cards shows that these were definitely printed on different box back panels.  

Black ink on left with gap between text and image,
dark blue ink on right with almost no gap between text and image
The dark blue image is also shifted to the right a teeny bit 

The way offset printing was done in the early sixties required the engraving of metal plates with the full card design and there is no possibility that parts of that image would move around from print run to print run, therefore proving that there were at least two plates with Cornel Piper on them and these were likely printed on two different sizes of grape Nuts cereal boxes.

Black/gap versus dark blue/ no gap differentiation on the Wes Gideon cards.
To further complicate matters the gap version also appears in Dark Blue text

So we know that at least two of the cards appeared on different box backs (engraved plates) and it would make sense that the black/gap cards appeared together and that the dark blue/no gap cards appeared together. In fact often times when a collection of multiple short print cards is made available on ebay the cards exhibit characteristics that would lead you to believe that they all most likely came from the same box back.

4 of the black ink short prints from a total of 8 that were offered together

The images above came from a different lot of the cards than the black ink cards shown earlier. In this case some enterprising child, for whatever reason probably in 1962, decided to mark up each of the cards in a similar fashion with the same pen (all eight were marked). One would have to conclude then that he almost certainly had all the cards together at the same time when he did the marking and that that occurred because he had cut them all from the same panel (some boxes featured 8 cards in 1962). Not guaranteed but probable.

So what does any of this mean to collectors? Well probably very little. These short print cards are so scarce (and therefore so pricey) that almost any complete set you encounter will probably have the regular version of the SP cards for the five that exist and the seven short prints will be worth between $1500 and $2000 total depending on condition. If the collector also included the 5 short prints that are available as regular cards, add another $300 to $400 to the total. 

Even if these variations were common knowledge, no collector is then going to spring for another $1000 to $1400 to add the 9 confirmed black ink SP cards to his set!

Black ink cards matched as they would have appeared somewhere on a panel
The crappier the job a kid did separating the cards, the easier it is to reconstruct

It is debatable as to whether or not a gap or no gap should be considered a valid variation for the card listings, however differences in ink colour certainly should be considered a legitimate variation. While this won't make everybody with full sets go out and chase those variations, for cataloging purposes the listings should be as accurate as possible.
There are still mostly unknowns about the composition of the short print panels and how many different panels were produced. For that reason the actual counts of card types for this definitive set of CFL cards has not been absolutely finalized. But here is a summarization of the current situation:

# of distinctly numbered player cards in the set 137

# of perforated insert panel cards 29 + 1 variation (Faloney)

# of perforated cards that also have a regular card 5 + 1 variation (Faloney)

# of perforated cards that do not have a regular card 24

# of short prints that appear in dark blue text 12 + 1 variation (Gideon)

# of dark blue short prints that also have a regular card 5

# of dark blue short prints that do not appear in black 3

# of short prints that appear in black text (so far) 9

# of black short prints that also have a regular card 5

# of cards only available as regular cards 137 - 24 - 7 = 106 + 1 variation (Rigney)

# of promo header cards from the cereal box back panels (so far) 3

# of cards in the master set  106 + 1 + 30 + 13 + 9 + 3 = 162


Sunday, 26 February 2023

Tiny Time Machine - (Volume 1 Addition)

For a certain generation of Canadian sports fans, the athletic stars of their youth were purchased in wax packs, spread on bedroom floors and stored in shoeboxes. Then, almost invariably they were tossed out by their parents once they had moved on to more age appropriate teenaged pursuits. Now these vintage items have an almost magical ability to mentally transport the viewer right back to how they felt when they were collecting the cards in their youth. 

B.C. Lions - October 1968

Recently I came across an obscure and quite rare piece of CFL memorabilia that, while not a mainstream trading card, also allows the collector to temporarily revisit the past as it was over 50 years ago and spend some time in the bygone era. This 5 3/4" X 4 7/8" small desk calendar highlights players from the Western Football Conference in 1968 with a bunch of attractive and rarely seen colour photos.

Saskatchewan Roughriders - January 1969

Issued by Creative Advertising Consultants of Vancouver presumably the firm must have had some dealings with the B.C. Lions to be involved in a venture of this nature. There are 12 calendar pages running from October 1968 to September 1969, with most dedicated to a specific player with a splashy colour game action or practice photo on the fronts and a significant writeup. The backs contain two more players with writeups and green tinted smaller photos.

Calgary Stampeders - April 1969

Initially I thought that these would likely have been produced in the low hundreds and perhaps given out primarily to clients of the advertising agency. This would explain why most of them would have been discarded and no record of it had survived until this one was found. But the last page of the calendar might indicate that this was not the case.

Edmonton Eskimos - May 1969

Besides the 5 primary players shown in this post others featured were Terry Evanshen (CAL), Jim Thomas (EDM), Dave Raimey (WIN), Bill Lasseter (BC), George Reed (SSK)  and Gerry Shaw (CAL) although Shaw has no additional players in green on the back featuring shots of cheerleaders instead.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers - July 1969

The last month pictures Dave Raimey again in an action shot but he is not specifically identified. Instead there is a statement about how the company was working on a larger and better calendar for the next season! Given that they are telling the reader that these will be available at their stadiums, one would have to assume that somehow (perhaps stadium sales) this 1968-69 calendar was distributed to fans in all the five western football cities.

At this point it is unknown whether or not the 1969-70 calendar was ever produced but if it was then  there's another ticket to the past out there somewhere waiting for a passenger.

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Loss ... and Renewal

A couple of months ago came the sad news that retired local Calgary sports reporter (newspaper, radio & TV) John Henderson had passed away. What many did not know about John was that he was a passionate sports memorabilia collector as well. John was quite active on facebook in various sports related groups but he did not publicize the fact that he had a collection that was probably among the top 10 in Western Canada for scope and depth.

Naturally John accumulated the standard CFL card issues (Topps, OPC, Jogo) as a matter of course but he also had an eye for the obscure, unique and quirky when it came to collectibles. John was originally from Revelstoke B.C. and while he was a dedicated B.C. Lions fan he also acquired certain very rare team issued items from the other CFL franchises. 

I got to know John well after he had volunteered to allow me to scan some of these rare items for my second guide and then later some pennants for the forthcoming digital app version. In particular John had the largest known holdings of the super-rare early sixties Calgary Stampeder Union Packing wiener cards, which I naturally attempted to cajole him into selling to me, "after all a Lion's fan really shouldn't even want those much anyways!". But being a true collector he wouldn't budge, which I of course grudgingly understood completely.

All collectors (or their families) will eventually have to decide what they want to do with their treasures once they are gone and there are three primary options. 

1) Leave it to your children or other relatives, which makes sense only if they share your interest in the subject matter, and more often than not that is not the case. The larger and more intricate a collection, the more overwhelming this task becomes for them. Then they are looking at the next two options.

2) Donate it to an archive. Which helps preserve it but also usually means the items go into storage somewhere, and with organizational budgetary cuts sometimes become inaccessible to researchers.

3) Sell it to like minded collectors who will be absolutely thrilled to augment their own collections with the "New" rarities. In this way the memorabilia fuels the hobby and renews the passion collectors have for preserving this important history.

Fortunately John's wish for his treasures was that they go to people who will appreciate them as much as he did. And to that end I was graciously allowed to acquire the collection and this blog post will illustrate a few of the CFL gems (new and old) that John had owned over his 50+ years of active collecting. 

Despite the fact that I have recently spent upwards of a year cataloging every new/old CFL team issued set that I came across since 2013, upon reviewing John's items I immediately encountered more things that need to be added to the listings.

How often do you see Saskatchewan Roughrider 8x10 media photos
from the era predating their green and white uniforms? Yeah, me neither...
Here are two of the four 1947 photos in the collection, Stan Rose & Art McEwan 

A Scotiabank 2009 set of three 8x10 printed pictures on thin card stock.
Nick Arakgi & Martell Mallett were 2 of the 3 Lions up for Gibson's Players Awards that year
It is unknown if nominees from the other teams were produced

Of course there is plenty of fantastic ephemera as well.
Here are the fronts of each Eskimo Christmas Card from their mid-50's run 

This Team Issued printed picture on cardstock measures 13 3/4 x 11

Novelties and Souvenirs are also abundant, some well known such as these 60's glasses
and some not, such as this 1980s? Stick Em-Up
Good luck trying to find the poster that was also available

For the 1979 Schenley awards 5 x 6 3/4 glossy photos were produced with a glossy sticker on the back.
Here are Montreal's David Green (MOP winner) and Tom Cousineau (MODP runner-up)

These 5x8 media photos look to be from 1965
They don't match any of the other sets I have listed for this era in Ottawa

These 1996 matte finish 8x10 photos with the embossed metallic Tiger-Cat logo
were apparently sold only at the Stadium / Roarr Store
Matt Dunigan also has an action photo and possibly Miles Gorell does as well 

These 2003  5 1/2" x 8 1/2" thin stock cards were probably handed out for fan autographs at practice or other functions. I was aware of these but only had three of the ten checklisted

I intend to appreciate the Stampeder items as part of my own collection but since my children are not at all interested in sports memorabilia, and I don't want to burden them with managing the eventual estate, I have decided to sell just about all of the CFL material I have accumulated that is not a part of my core Calgary collection (or needed for historical research). While my focus has always been on the Stampeders (and there will be a lot of duplicates of this material available) I also have a reasonable number of gems from the other franchises that will be looking for a new good home.

The good news for CFL collectors is that this dispersal will eventually include most of John's collection as well so that those who specialize in other teams (or collect the whole league) can also benefit from his passion for the game. I anticipate this will happen sometime towards the end of this year or perhaps early 2024.

RIP John, and thanks for the wiener cards.

Friday, 30 December 2022

Colourization --NOT-- Catastrophe - Topps CFL Cards Part 2

A couple of years ago I posted the first part of this analysis of how poorly Topps colourized their classic CFL trading cards. This is the sequel post to assess the Eastern teams from the same time period, however the analysis reveals that Topps actually did a damn fine job for the eastern division and it was in no way the catastrophe that the western division was.

Year by year for 1958, 1959 & 1960 I will compare the card colours with mostly readily available colour images of each team from those seasons and assign a generalized rating number where the player is featured in uniform on the following scale

3 - Accurate representation of the team uniform colours

2 - Mostly Accurate representation of the team uniform colours  

1 - Partially Accurate representation of the team uniform colours

0 - Totally Inaccurate representation of the team uniform colours

Cards that show a player out of uniform will not be rated.  In some cases I might not have a real colour reference photo to refer to so an educated conclusion will have to suffice. Also keep in mind that uniforms were not 100% standardized in those days, not everybody wore the exact same helmet stripes or socks, players would wear older style jerseys during photo shoots and even sometimes during games, and occasionally teams would wear the opposite of their road/home outfits on a particular night, so this is going to be a "near as can be determined" result. 

The scores for these cards per team will then be added up and divided by the number of cards to generate an aggregate average number for each team that will represent just how well or how poorly the Topps card design personnel performed.

1958 Toronto Argonauts
Road Lights (Paul Fedor), Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Dave Mann, Dick Fouts - muddy pants)

There are 11 Toronto Argonaut cards in the 1958 set.

Only 1 player is shown in a complete road uniform photo and the colourization is accurate (the shades of the Argos double blue, light and dark, being somewhat variable depending on lighting). Also the pants may have been white or off-white or a combination of both used by different players during the same season. Rating (3).

The remaining ten cards are all head shots with minimal jersey visible, one coloured white and nine coloured varying shades of dark blue. Rating (3)

1958 Rating : 3 + 30 = 33 / 11    =    Average Rating of  3.00

1959 Toronto Argonauts
Road Lights (Jim Rountree), Home Top Dark Bottom Light Khaki? (Dick Shatto, twice)

There are 11 Toronto Argonaut cards in the 1959 set.

All of them are shown in their road uniforms with the white or off-white pants, with one exception where the image is waist up only in the light jersey. Rating (3).

I don't have any colour images of the Argos in road nor home uniforms from 1959 but the 1959 Weekend magazine Dick Shatto illustration shows a decidedly khaki or gold hued pants. It is hard to tell but it looks to me like the 1959 7-UP photo and an image from a 1959 home game might support that the pants worn at home were not the white or off-white pants worn on the road this season.

1959 Rating : 33 / 11    =    Average Rating of  3.00

1960 Toronto Argonauts
Road Top Light Bottom Darker (Marty Martinello), Home Top Dark Bottom Lighter (Dick Shatto)

There are 10 Toronto Argonaut cards in the 1960 set.

The Argos started to wear numbered helmets in 1960 and switched to a double blue leg stripe but none of this affected the cards because Topps went back to mostly the head shots this year with six of the cards showing the proper dark blue coloured shoulders, one showing a white jersey shoulders. Rating (3).

Tobin Rote also appears in a head shot that looks like it came from the 1958 NFL Lions photo shoot and the jersey colour is the Detroit Honolulu blue. Rating (2).

The two remaining cards are the same road uniforms used the prior two seasons. Rating (3).  

1960 Rating : 21 + 2 + 6 = 29 / 10    =    Average Rating of  2.90

TOR 1958 - 1960    95 / 33   =   Aggregate Rating of 2.97

1958 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Road Lights Top Yellow or White (John Barrow from '57 Grey Cup, Bob Dawson),
Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Fran Rogel, Harry Lampmann)

There are 11 Hamilton Tiger-Cats cards in the 1958 set.

Six are full uniform shots with the dark jerseys, 4 are partial uniform shots with the dark jerseys and one is a full uniform shot with the light jersey. All of these images are very accurately colourized with the only quibble being the gold colour should have been a little more yellowish. Not enough of a difference to affect the rating. Rating (3).

1958 Rating : 33 / 11    =    Average Rating of  3.00

1959 Hamilton Tiger-Cats (same uniforms as 1958 with Road Top White)
1956 Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Vince Scott, John Fedosoff)

There are 9 Hamilton Tiger-Cats cards in the 1959 set.

Five of the nine cards are the same uniforms (Home) and same colouration as the previous year, so these are all correct. Rating (3). One of these cards is the same uniform but the numbers are a different shade than the rest of the gold. Rating (2).

Then three of the cards inexplicably show the players in their 1956 uniforms, but correctly coloured. Rating (3). 

1959 Rating : 15 + 2 + 9 = 26 / 9    =    Average Rating of  2.89

1960 Hamilton Tiger-Cats (same uniforms as 1959 with Road Top White, John Barrow)

There are 10 Hamilton Tiger-Cats cards in the 1960 set.

Eight of these cards show the player in the home dark tops uniform and since these had not changed they are all correct. Rating (3). 

But Vince Scott is in his home dark top uniform but coloured dark blue instead of black. Another better colourization job is pictured from a same era game program. Rating (1).

One of these cards is a cropped Bernie Faloney again in all yellow so his top is wrong for this season. Rating (1).

1960 Rating : 24 + 1 + 1 = 26 / 10    =    Average Rating of  2.60

HAM 1958 - 1960    85 / 30   =   Aggregate Rating of 2.83

1958 Ottawa Rough Riders
Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Bobby Judd, Bob Simpson),
Road Top Light Bottom Dark (John Bove, Dave Thelen)

There are 11 Ottawa Rough Riders cards in the 1958 set.

Four players are shown in white jerseys without the shoulders visible. Rating (3).

Two players are shown in white jerseys missing the proper shoulder striping colours. Rating (2).

Four players are shown in full or partial uniforms (some of which are from prior seasons) with the correct coloring (although the red could be darker). Rating (3).

One player has incorrect arm striping colours. Rating (2).

1958 Rating : 12 + 4 + 12 + 2 = 30 / 11    =    Average Rating of  2.73

1959 Ottawa Rough Riders
Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Frank Tripucka, Ron Stewart),
Road Top Light Bottom Dark (Jim Reynolds from '60 Grey Cup, Russ Jackson)

There are 10 Ottawa Rough Riders cards in the 1959 set.

Four of the players are in appropriately coloured jerseys with the shoulder stripes (3 Road, 1 Home). Rating (3).

Three of the players are in jerseys cropped so close no striping would be visible. Rating (3).

Three of the players are shown with incorrect shoulder or arm striping. Rating (2).

1959 Rating : 12 + 9 + 6 = 27 / 10    =    Average Rating of  2.70

1960 Ottawa Rough Riders
(very similar uniforms to 1959, maybe some sleeve number changes, Ron Stewart, Gary Schreider)

There are 9 Ottawa Rough Riders cards in the 1960 set but George Brancato is cropped so close no jersey is visible so he will not be factored in. As was Topp's custom the card images were mostly just re-used versions of the cards from prior years, so they are mostly correct.

Six of the cards are tight head shots and the minimal jersey showing can be considered correct. Rating (3).

One is Bobby Simpson from a properly colored older uniform style. Rating (3).

One is Kay Vaughn from an improperly stripe coloured older uniform style. Rating (2).

1960 Rating : 18 + 3 + 2 = 23 / 8    =    Average Rating of  2.88

OTT 1958 - 1960    80 / 29   =   Aggregate Rating of 2.76

1959 Montreal Alouettess
Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Same Etcheverry, Ed Learn),
Road Top Light Bottom Light

There were no Montreal Alouettes cards in the 1958 Topps set.

There are 8 Montreal Alouettes cards in the 1959 set.

All eight players are shown in the team's home uniforms (although some are from earlier seasons with no numbers on the upper arms) and all eight are correctly colourized. Rating (3).

1959 Rating : 24 / 8    =    Average Rating of  3.00

1960 Montreal Alouettes
Home & Road same as 1959 except with the winged helmet (none on cards),
(Marv Luster, Jim Copeland)

There are 10 Montreal Alouette cards in the 1960 set.

As you should expect by now all 1960 cards were tighter cropped versions of the same images used earlier, or head shots with minimal jersey showing and a couple of older uniform cards. Again all players are in their home uniforms and all are correctly colourized. Rating (3).

1960 Rating : 30 / 10    =    Average Rating of  3.00

MON 1959 - 1960    54 / 18   =   Aggregate Rating of 3.00

So to summarize Topp's performance with a ranking out of 3 points ranging from Pretty Decent to Absolute Garbage : (and keep in mind I was just assessing the colour accuracy, the fact they hardly ever got the players in the current uniforms is a different failure altogether).

TOR  2.97      HAM  2.83     OTT  2.76        MON   3.00

A very credible job for the Eastern teams, here were the Western teams scores from the earlier blog post

WPG  2.14      B.C.  1.87        EDM  0.93        SSK    0.00        CAL   0.00

If you were a kid collecting cards in the east, your teams were properly represented. 

In the west it could have been OK or it could have been pathetic.

Gridiron Uniform Database - CFL additions

I first did the Topps colourization analysis for the western teams in 2020, and I felt it would enhance the post to show the players in their uniforms in game action to get an idea for what the style was if not the actual colours (same as I did here for the east). 

Last year the group responsible for The Gridiron Uniform Database announced their intention to add CFL uniforms to the site on the premiere football memorabilia forum: The Vintage Football Discussion Community. The person that runs the site indicated he "knew next to nothing about the CFL and knew nothing about it's history". 

I was asked to comment and suggested that:

"the comments made about not knowing anything about CFL history, to me would indicate that (other than from say the 1980's up, where colour references from actual game play are relatively plentiful) your teams best intentioned efforts would likely be frustratingly inaccurate and prone to a large number of inconsistencies and errors, because unless you are really familiar with the teams and the history and the players, it won't always be possible to tell if a particular image is really related to the team, year, player, road or home uniform in question (even if it is captioned as such). Finding what colour images do exist is not easy, and I would guestimate likely only cover about 30% of what you would need at the absolute most." and "I just don't believe that people with no knowledge of Canadian Football history can accurately untangle the historical puzzle that it presents."

A reasoned and informed opinion I thought, naturally it was derided by a poster whose CFL expertise was evidenced by his statement on "the Montreal Alouettes (whatever those are)" ...

The GUD subsequently launched their CFL section in 2022 and has now expanded from 1945 through to sometime into the seventies. So I compared what they had for the relevant years in the east for 1958, 1959 and 1960 to see how they stacked up to what I was seeing using actual online newspaper images (presumably the same ones they used) and the colour reference material I had available (presumably most of which was not available to them). And my assessment of their results is:

- Did they put in a monumental amount of effort - Yes

- Did they accurately determine the uniform styles game by game (including exhibitions) from newspaper archives - Yes, probably to a high 90's percentage level anyway

- Did they have to make a lot of assumptions on actual uniform colours, and extrapolate those to other years based on minimal source colour reference material that would have been available to them? - Yes, they must have because accessible reference material for each year does not exist

- Can you assume that the colours presented for each team and each year are correct? - I'm afraid not, as I had indicated, if you had zero familiarity with the subject matter and then have to make assumptions, then some of them are going to be wrong.

So just for the years I was looking at here are a couple of example discrepancies I saw:

Left is the GUD entry for 1958 and 1959 Ottawa Road Jerseys
Right closeup of late 50's Ottawa road jersey, shows definitively red, black, red stripes
the numbers have black outlines

The sorts of fine details you see if you have access to a repository of high-res images and can assess what year they were taken, are lost when all you have to go on are blurry low-res newspaper images and you have no frame of reference for any other visual record, because your knowledge of the league is zero.

Left is the GUD entry for the 1960 Grey Cup game Ottawa Jerseys
Right a screen grab from the game, clearly the sleeve numbers are black and
the jersey numbers have black outlines

Apparently checking the most commonly available online sources (youtube) for the proper colours wasn't part of the process either.  

I'm not trying to denigrate the massive amount of work that was put in by these people to put this together or nitpick one or two issues I discovered. Everybody makes mistakes, me certainly included. I am just stating my opinion, once again that CFL historical information should be compiled and vetted by those that are familiar with the league and have spent a long amount of time and effort to understand its history. That way there will be less errors and less inaccuracies. People will look at this reference and assume that every entry is correct, when that is not the case.

On the other hand perhaps if they had just added a few more resources that had no clue what the Montreal Alouettes were, maybe then it all would have worked out perfectly