||Collectors of Canadian and USA Tropical Birds
may have noticed that it is impossible to find a version of
card number 43 that does not have a 'dirty' looking background.
Even when the main subject of the card, the Spot-Breasted
Oriole, appears clean and sharply printed the background looks
smudgy, blurred and dirty.
To try and find out why this might happen it would be useful
to look at the original artwork. However much of the original
artwork is not available for general scrutiny, so another option
would be to see if the artwork has been used elsewhere. In this
instance the artwork was originally prepared for the National
Wildlife Federation, and was used after the card set was issued,
on their stamps - which have been produced over a number of years
in the United States. The artwork for this particular card can
be found on the National Wildlife Conservation Stamps series issued
in 1968. This series also use the artwork from cards 7 and 28.
The stamp is physically larger in size to the card and also a
different shape proportionally. The stamp shows more of the original
artwork to the left and right but is similar top and bottom. It
shows the main subject, in front of a background of trees and
vines which have been subtly toned back to allow the subject to
NWF stamp artwork
How it might have looked
It would seem that in the production of the card set each artwork
was cropped for the new format size, so that the subject was again
the focal point, and the remainder of the artwork was fitted into
the display area as best as possible. In the case of card 43,
although the image has been cropped the background would still
have been recognizable as tree vines, however as the actual colours
used in the printing of the cards are very different those used
on the stamp, the main subject remains vibrant in colour but the
background tones of green on the original background now appear
as a washed out grey/brown colour giving the card its dirty look.
With slightly different preparation and printing with the same
colours as those used on the stamps, it is possible to see how
this card may have looked (see example above). Much of the National
Wildlife Federation artwork that was used on the Red Rose cards
has also appeared on their own stamps and is an interesting source
for comparison and research.
to Terry Calleyne for help in the preparation of this article
- April 2003