The front images of T206's were printed using a six color lithograph process. Each individual color run overlapped previous ones in varying amounts to produce different colors and shades. The following is a breakdown of the color runs and the order they are thought to have been applied.
Stage 1 – YELLOW
The first color run in the printing process was yellow. It provided the foundation upon which other colors were added and/or combined to create the completed image.
Stage 2 – BLACK
The second color run was black. This provided the entire border, as well as any black coloring on the picture. Several cards have been seen that contain only the yellow and black color runs. These examples are missing the name and team designation captions, which were printed during the brown color run.
Stage 3 – BROWN
The third color run was brown. This run was responsible for not only the brown in the image portion but also for the name and team caption. Printing errors missing the name and team captions are missing this run. Also, any brown that was double printed would result in the name and team caption also being duplicated. Many cards have been seen with only the yellow, black and brown colors applied. These cards are found predominately with Sweet Caporal 350-460 Factory 30 backs.
The above incomplete images are good examples of the first three color runs of yellow, black and brown.
Stage 4 – BLUE
The fourth color run was blue. The blue printed on top of white would just be a light shade of blue, but when printed on top of the yellow would result in a light green. This blue and yellow color overlay was used to create the lighter shade of grass, lighter green backgrounds and warmed the color of gray uniforms.
The Donovan example on the left did not receive the blue color run, resulting in a yellow background. The example on the right did not receive the yellow color run, resulting in a blue background. The middle example shows how the yellow and blue when layered produced the intended green background.
Stage 5 – GREEN
The next color run was green. The dark green color was a separate stage and was not a result of overlapping blue with yellow. The darker green run when applied on top of the light blue stage would result in a darker blue.
The Richey example on the left has a lighter application of the green run than the one on the right. This is evident in the amount of darker green over the lighter green in the grass area and the amount of darker blue over the light blue in the sky.
Stage 6 – RED
The final color run was red. Many of the identified printing errors are of Boston players missing this final stage, indicated by the missing red “B” from the cap and/or uniform. Examples have also been seen of Cincinnati subjects missing the red coloring from the team name on the jersey.
Cards also have been seen that have successfully completed all the color runs for one player, but then had the color run yellow for another player added on top. Instead of starting the yellow color on a blank page, it was started on a completed page.