Much of what has been discussed as of late and in the past deals with manufacturers tagging of products. This is not limited to jerseys as a center brand on a bat serves the same purpose…customer and public identification with a product. For this I will limit my comments and discussion to jersey tagging.
Part of the process of evaluating a jersey involves the manufacturers tag. There are a number of aspects to consider:
1. Is this manufacturer a known provider of uniforms to a particular team during a given period?
2. Is the manufacturers tag consistent with the time period of the jersey in question?
The first thing I would like to address is that neither of these issues should be considered matters of absolutes individually, especially with respect to the farther you go back in time. Manufacturers tags are identified or placed to a date or range of dates based on looking at it as a manufacturers characteristic over time and other teams. These tags don’t have an invented on date or an expiration date as some might suggest. There are always going to be anomalies as with everything else that is manufactured by man. There are any number of reasons to see some variance in when a tag was supposed to have been used.
Tagging irregularities are just that and need to viewed within a broader context. What I have noticed in almost 20 years as a collector/researcher, is that these anomalies appear to show up with greater frequency in star or period star player uniforms. In each case they appear, they must be looked at on an individual basis. There are times when the anomaly is a bit easier to understand such as when:
-The tag can be seen to have been resewn.
-The tag has been trimmed to a much smaller size. Often an indicator that the trimming was done to mask previous stitch marks.
– The tag does not appear in a location on the jersey were it is typically found as compared to those of the same team. I highlight same team as not all jerseys from the same year manufactured by the same company will have the tags in the same location. (See example of 1969 Spalding products for both the Dodgers and Pilots).
– The size of the tagged jersey does not mach the true size of the jersey when actually measured.
-The tag is not applied correctly, such as being sewn through both folds of collar when it should only be sewn through one layer of fabric
– The size tag does not seem consistent with that of what a player is thought to have worn by comparison to other jerseys from the same period (Yes, I know there will be and are anomalies here as well).
– The period of time and chronological progression of the tag. By this I mean it would not be unreasonable to see a tag that was thought to have appeared in 1968 be seen in 1967 any more than it would be to see a tag that was thought to have been replaced by a different version showing up a couple of years later. Companies will use old stock as a matter of fiscal practicality for both tags and garments. I have in my collection of common exemplars a Texas Ranger Road jersey with a Wilson tag that is considered to be commonly used between 1967-1973 (as pictured). The question might be why not expand the category to read 1967-1974? That answer comes as a two parter: First,that we begin to see a change in this tag during 1974 and as a matter of practicality you have to establish some range based on a larger trend by the manufacturer. But when you see a tag that is not commonly seen until the late 1970s show up in a jersey from the early part of the decade, and it happens to be on a star player jersey, it should raise a red flag.
The above list of other issues that need to be considered when evaluating a jersey with an anomaly respective to likely period of use are just as important as the dating issue itself.
Just some food for thought…
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