How Printing Plates Work (Courtesy of Sewing Machine Guy)

Not long ago, I was contacted by Sewing Machine Guy about a trade (he had an ulterior motive). Before he even mentioned what he had to trade, I was interested — he’s another one of the card collecting blogger community I’d wanted to swap with at some point.  And then he set the hook: what would become my very first Twins printing plate (oh, and he included a Delmon Young card, too).  I’d already been struck by Michael Harrington’s (who?!) you-know-what-eating grin on his Bowman Chrome and Bowman Chrome Blue cards in my collection, and now they are joined by the cyan printing plate that created them. Both for a slightly used ’63 Al Kaline.

Turns out Chrome cards are printed using reversed plates, and as you probably already know, four plates are used to apply the four colors required for the finished product: magenta, yellow, cyan, and black.  I’m not sure what order these colors are applied (or if it matters), but here is the cyan plate:


2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP190 Michael Harrington cyan printing plate
(front and back)

I just so happen to have images of the other printing plates for this card, so I can show how the rest of the image is created.  Next, the three other print colors are applied, using their respective printing plates:
yellow…


2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP190 Michael Harrington yellow printing plate

…magenta…


2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP190 Michael Harrington magenta printing plate

…and black…


2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP190 Michael Harrington black printing plate

…yielding the final product, the 2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP180 Michael Harrington card:


2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP190 Michael Harrington

Amazing how Michael’s full color grinning face emerges from such dissimilar looking plates, but that’s the magic of Topps! And thanks again Sewing Machine Guy for an excuse to do a little research.

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2 responses to “How Printing Plates Work (Courtesy of Sewing Machine Guy)

  1. Looks like the yellow one will print a mirror image.

  2. the sewingmachineguy

    Ha! That’s funny.
    Thanks for the trade buddy.
    Peace.

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