1920s Invisible Color Pictures Set (D48)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title D48 Invisible Color Pictures
Year 1920s
Size 3 1/4″ x 4 1/2″
Images Black and White
Type Bakery
Number in Set
150 (50 in each of three types)

D48 Invisible Color Pictures Overview

D48 Invisible Color Pictures Back.jpgD48 Invisible Color Pictures.jpgThe D48 issue is a unique set of black and white drawings featuring various subjects. Most are non-sports related but there is a baseball card in the release.  They were produced by the Invisible Color Print Corporation in New York City and, thus, how the set was given its name. The cards are a bakery issue as they were distributed inside loaves of bread.

The cards state they were patented on July 12, 1921, but it is not known how much longer after that these were printed. In some cases, products were developed quickly after a patent. Sometimes, the process took years. For that reason, I have called this a 1920s issue with the exact date unknown.

The drawings on their own look quite basic. The real allure, however, is that they were to be painted to provide a color image. Each card came in a miniature envelope along with a brush. The backs of the cards included a short description of the picture as well as some instructions.

To paint the picture, collectors were to use the brush and clean water to paint the picture. By painting over the card in certain areas with water, a color would be exposed and show up on the card. A novel idea, but the problem is to get a clean picture, collectors had to be very careful to stay within the lines. Otherwise, the colors would run and make for a sloppy-looking card.

The baseball card is No. 39 in the set and shows a player sliding trying to beat out a throw to a waiting fielder. It is titled, ‘A Home Run’ and a loaf of bread is also pictured in the corner. In addition to the baseball card, the only other real known sport is card No. 46, which is a boxing card of sorts. In it, a boy is pictured with boxing gloves hanging in the background as he is making a muscle for a girl.

Three Types

While most sources only account for two types of these cards, there are at least three.

  • Type 1: Basic Cards
  • Type 2: Animal Subjects with only a number
  • Type 3: Animal Subjects with ‘No.’ and newspaper mention on back

The concept of adding water to color in the pictures was the same in all three sets. Type 1 includes pictures of various subjects and the cards were not meant to be cut – only colored. If you see one of these cards that mentions it is a ‘cut-out’, it is either Type 2 or Type 3.

Type 2 cards have easel/tabs attached to them and they were designed to be cut out and stood up. Type 2 card numbers also are not preceded with ‘No.’ Instead, a number is merely printed. This set appears to be all animals and insects.

Finally, Type 3 cards also appear to be cards for animals and insects. These cards have the ‘No.’ before a card number but they should be confused with Type 1. They are cut-outs and also mention a newspaper on the back, which can be referred to for a list of rules, prizes, and directions.

A variety of bread advertising backs are seen in each type. It is not known, which backs can be found on which types. Here are the ones I have seen. Most Type 2 and Type 3 backs actually mention two different names of sponsors.

Type 1 Backs

  • Betsy Ross
  • Nafziger
  • Pan Dandy Bread and Toasty Bread (Tri-State Baking)
  • Red Wing Milling Company
  • Smith and Seeley’s Perfection
  • Sno-White Bread
  • Wool’s Bread

Type 2 Backs

  • Butter-Nut and National Bread
  • Hathaway’s Cream and Win-Sum Bread
  • Holsum Bread, Panama Cream, Cracked Wheat Tea Biscuits
  • Keller Baking
  • Wool’s Bread

Type 3 Backs

  • Spaulding’s and Butter-Krust

Finally, in addition to these three types, there is at least one card that seems to be a ‘sample’ and others could exist. A White Tailed Deer card exists in a similar format to Type 2 that does not have a card number and has different text on the back.

D48 Invisible Color Pictures Checklist

I have never seen a complete checklist of this set but below are the cards I have confirmed. 50 are in the entire set as is mentioned on some of the backs. Even though Type 2 and Type 3 are believed to be entirely non-sports sets, I have included them here in case any collectors are trying to determine if a card is Type 1, 2, or 3.

Type 1

  1. TBD
  2. Dr. Jenner
  3. The Deep Sea Diver
  4. TBD
  5. Lace Making – Belgium
  6. TBD
  7. Sioux Indian
  8. Blowing Bubbles
  9. Chinese Girl Scouts
  10. TBD
  11. Bold Bad Man
  12. TBD
  13. Bird Neighbors
  14. TBD
  15. Signaling
  16. A Heavy Act
  17. TBD
  18. TBD
  19. TBD
  20. Gardener
  21. Movie in One Howl
  22. Boy Scouts in Camp
  23. TBD
  24. Treasure Island
  25. Campfire Girls
  26. TBD
  27. Campfire Girls #2
  28. TBD
  29. TBD
  30. Watt Discovering the Condensation of Steam
  31. TBD
  32. TBD
  33. The Dogs of St. Bernhardt (St. Bernard)
  34. TBD
  35. TBD
  36. TBD
  37. TBD
  38. Country Friends
  39. A Home Run (Baseball)
  40. TBD
  41. TBD
  42. TBD
  43. TBD
  44. Columbus Caravel
  45. TBD
  46. His Secret of Strength (Boxing)
  47. TBD
  48. TBD
  49. The Daily Good Turn
  50. Snake Charmer

Type 2

  1. The Macaw
  2. The Great Horned Owl
  3. The Red Winged Blackbird
  4. The Peacock
  5. The Chameleon
  6. TBD
  7. The Cardinal and The Goldfinch
  8. The Grosbeak
  9. The Bluebird
  10. TBD
  11. The Alligator
  12. The Flicker
  13. TBD
  14. The Hawk
  15. TBD
  16. The Rainbow Trout
  17. The Blue Angel Fish
  18. The Small-Mouth Black Bass
  19. The Blue Parrot Fish
  20. The Swordfish
  21. The Giraffe
  22. The Chimpanzee
  23. The Lion
  24. TBD
  25. The Puma
  26. The Beaver
  27. TBD
  28. The Tiger
  29. The Rhinocerous
  30. TBD
  31. The Leopard
  32. The Canada Lynx
  33. TBD
  34. The Monkey
  35. The Polar Bear
  36. The Russian Sable
  37. TBD
  38. The Brown Bear
  39. The Red Fox
  40. The Buffalo
  41. The Butterfly Fish
  42. The Schoolmaster
  43. The Trunk Fish
  44. TBD
  45. Butterflies
  46. TBD
  47. Butterflies
  48. Butterflies
  49. Butterflies
  50. TBD

Type 3

  1. TBD
  2. TBD
  3. TBD
  4. TBD
  5. TBD
  6. TBD
  7. TBD
  8. TBD
  9. TBD
  10. TBD
  11. TBD
  12. TBD
  13. TBD
  14. The Hippopotamus
  15. TBD
  16. TBD
  17. TBD
  18. TBD
  19. TBD
  20. TBD
  21. TBD
  22. TBD
  23. TBD
  24. The Camel
  25. TBD
  26. The Thrush
  27. TBD
  28. TBD
  29. TBD
  30. TBD
  31. TBD
  32. TBD
  33. TBD
  34. TBD
  35. TBD
  36. TBD
  37. TBD
  38. Butterflies
  39. TBD
  40. TBD
  41. TBD
  42. TBD
  43. TBD
  44. TBD
  45. The Rattlesnake
  46. TBD
  47. TBD
  48. TBD
  49. TBD
  50. TBD

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