As with the Colorline project, my COMC mailday last year involved fleshing out my Colorwheels project. I did a quick look through and grabbed the cheapest cards I could find for this. Not done yet but the binder is looking a lot better now and I definitely need to update the status and needs.

I have all six 1954 colors. Not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of the page or how I want to arrange these. For now they’re just organized in rainbow order when the page is viewed in portrait orientation.

Four 1955 colors. I grabbed the gradients going both directions. I did not pay attention to the color of the bars on the bottom but it’s nice that all but the blues are different.

Neither 1956 nor 1957 are a colorwheel set. I’ll have to think about what kind of project I’ll want to do to put a page together of each of those.

1958 though is perfect for the colorwheel thing. There may be more than nine colors but distinguishing those from printing variance is kind of impossible. I went with nine obvious ones since the light and dark green and blues are easily distinguished by the white or black text.

The 1959 page was covered already on this blog but it’s worth posting a second time. As with 1958 I’m letting the text color be the distinction between the different greens and blues.

Fast forwarding to 1965. 1960, 1961, 1963, and 1964 are all plenty colorful but because of all the different combinations I haven’t researched things fully to figure out how I want to make pages of them. 1962 meanwhile is not a colorwheel set.

For 1965, the only color I’m missing is grey but I’m perfectly happy having a black card in the center. One nice thing with 1965 is that it uses the purple 100% magenta, 100% cyan color and as a result is the first page that looks like an actual color wheel.

I’m oddly short of 1966 Giants duplicates (and have no Senators cards) so I have no dark green card to slot in here for now. The other nine colors fill the page nicely. I’m not sure which card I’ll replace with the dark green but it’ll probably be Rigney since the light purple doesn’t quite fit with the color progression.

Somehow I’ve not yet acquired a Phillies or Orioles card to fill that last yellow slot. The rest of the page looks fantastic though.

I’ve had this page done since the beginning. Still looks great and really shows off how the color wheel works.

I’m “missing” light pink, light blue, and brown. And while I have light purple it isn’t on this page either. The other nine colors are though and make up the same wheel as 1968.

In the 1970s there’s a possibility of color wheel stuff but it’s harder. Only six colors used in 1971 (I will eventually do this though). 1972 is a complicated one which I need to research properly. 1973 is almost better to do a wheel based on the positions than the teams. 1974 is the first year of using team colors instead of random ones. 1975 just nuts. And 1976 is like 1964 in which Topps uses team-based color combinations.

1977 though has color wheel possibility except I think there are only eight colors. for whatever reason I don’t have any Brewers cards and I think those are the only purple team. I also need to figure out what to do with the center pocket if I fill the rest with team colors.

1978 is another one that’s tough to do a wheel for because it involves color combinations. I think I’d consider doing one for the borders. I also have less desire to do a page here since I just completed the whole set.

1979 though uses the same colors as 1977 and these make up a wheel like 1977 will eventually become.

I need to research 1980 since it might work as a wheel. 1981 though is the last of the sets I think I plan to do this with. It barely makes it with the orange rookies color. The center square is a color repeat but I figured the World Series card made for a fun hub.

Many of the 1980s sets are kind of impossible due to color combinations reasons. 1984 is I think the last one I’d even consider (1986 would work but like with 1978 I have it completed) These are definitely a fun way to get a sense and feel for each set without having to build anything though. They’re also a lot more visually interesting than looking through a lot of my Giants album where each set is typically all one color.

Now it’s time for me to start working on a post which dives deep into the actual colors being printed here.  So many of these sets use the same simple ink formulas year after year.  Lots of 100% process inks for the seven simple printing colors—cyan, magenta, yellow, black, cyan/magenta (dark purple), cyan/yellow (dark green), and magenta/yellow (red)—but they’re used in so many different ways that it’s often hard to recognize that Topps is reusing the same colors year after year. But that’s another post for another day and a ton more scanning for me to do.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

4 thoughts on “Colorwheels”

  1. One of my favorite things about collecting cards is there are so many different ways to collect. This is a great example. I’ve seen a few people do the “fill a 9-pocket page for every year of Topps flagship”, but this puts a very unique spin to it. Fantastic post Nick!

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