The shrink wrap issue (Dark & Hidden Ways: New Records)
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Post Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:17 am 
 

Sorry, I got a little carried away there!   :oops:


Dere Fritoad, Two badd yoo copped outt so sooon lazt nighgt. Mised som grooovy trps. Hoap th rring thinng wurcs out awrighgt. Peece, Timm  PS Hear ar som outt of sihgt stash I'm laying onn yoo guyz. Must sine off as rush iss cocomcoming ohgodohgod$#%*@!

  

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 5:54 pm 
 

no its true 8O .. and I forgive you :wink:

Brette:)

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Post Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:11 pm 
 

Hi all,
I think darkseraphim is right about the shrink with two exceptions. We believe that there is a "5th phase" and that the "3rd phase" only lasted until sometime in 1980 or early 1981. The "5th phase" is the same as the 3rd phase except better quality shrink. Here is a list of a few modules with the year they were produced, printing, and what kind of shrink:

Dungeon Geomorphs Set 2, 1977, 1st print, "1st phase" (loose/bubbly)
Monster & Treasure Assortment Set 1, 1977, 1st print, "2nd Phase" ("flaky")
Monster & Treasure Assortment Sets 1-3, 1980, 1st print "3rd phase" ("holes")
A2, 1981, 1st print, "4th phase" ("seam")
AC1, 1983, "4th phase"
AC3, 1984, "4th phase"
AC6, 1985, 2nd print, "5th phase" (holes)

Maybe someone else can verify this. Especially the early years.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:39 pm 
 

That definitely helps, thanks burntwire!  I'm certain you two have more shrinked stuff than I do.
8)

I forgot to mention, when I got long-winded:  The key to identifying legitimate shrinkwrap on TSR items is uniformity.  Real shrinkwrap won't sag, be asymmetrical, or have noticeable changes in opaqueness, unless it's earlier than 1980.  Sometimes the seam in the back will be mis-aligned, the corners may puff a bit, or one side (usually the one opposite the spine) will show some "fray," but that's about it.

For reference, here's some auctions that illustrate the chronological process.  Those marked * are from beyondthebreach, who has some excellent large scans of items, both front and back.

Permanent Character Record Folder (green)
(face logo, summer? 1981)
3174967369

B3 Palace of the Silver Princess
(fall-winter 1981 if 1st print; possibly as late as 1982-1983 if 4th; I suspect it's a 4th due to the configuration of the yellow banner text, but hard to see)
3178123506

M1 Blizzard Pass
(spring 1983)
(classic warping problem; legit; the invisible pen modules suffered badly from this)
3175694597

X5 Temple of Death
(summer-fall 1983)
(suspected tamper or fake, although I'm not implying the seller was aware)
3176025229

B2 Keep on the Borderlands
(header version, probably not 1981 but 1983)
3177623578

*B6 The Veiled Society
(spring 1984)
(example of typical corner damage)
3174054900

UK6 All That Glitters
(fall 1984)
3175109335

UK7 Dark Clouds Gather
(spring 1985)
3177457545

CN1 Conan the Buccaneer
(summer 1985)
(example of warping from too-tight shrink, can't tell if it's real or not by just the small scan, I'd need to handle it)
3173963342

*WG6 Isle of the Ape
(fall 1985)
3174065897

*I9 Day of Al'Akbar
(autumn 1986)
3174054008

H3 The Bloodstone Wars
(summer 1987)
3176101955

FA2 Nightmare Keep
(spring 1991)
(example of slight corner pressure)
3170962438

Mind Lords of the Last Sea
(spring 1996)
3177006102

More detail would be wondrously appreciated -- especially if you've something from 1977 or so lying around.
:D

  

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Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 12:14 am 
 

Interesting topic!

I went and pulled out a few of my older shrinkwrapped items, then compared them to the phases you mention.  They didn't match up well, unfortunately:

1) 1977 Dungeon Geomorphs Set 3, 1st print.  This shrinkwrap is very loose, which initially led me to believe that it might be fake.  However, the seams are quite straight and run symmetrically around the outside border of the item, there's no seam overlap, etc.  Also, there's a very important indicator on the rear: a circular "breathing hole", about the exact diameter of a standard hole-punch.  Shrinkwrap is basically "shrunk" around an item using heat, which makes placing a perfectly circular hole in shrinkwrap difficult if not impossible for the counterfeiter.  You'd have to do it after the plastic was already in its final shrunk form (otherwise, the hole would be irregular), and how do you put the hole in without also putting a hole in the item itself?

2) 1977 Monster & Treasure Set Two, 1st print.  This item, while presumably from the same time frame as the item above, has completely different shrinkwrap.  This shrinkwrap is beautiful -- tight and perfectly form-fitting, but doesn't warp the item at all.  Almost no creases, bubbles, etc -- from a few feet away, you might think the item is laminated.  It also has a breathing hole, this time on the front.

3) My oldest shrinked item, a 1976 All the World's Monsters (though not TSR), has shrink much like item #1 -- loose, but otherwise clean seams.  No breathing hole, however.

4) Several pastel modules (G and D series) from 1978, though from the UK rather than the US.  Each exhibits subtle differences.  On one, the seam "wraps" around from the back, so that the front "piece" of shrinkwrap is smaller than the back.  But the seams are otherwise tight and clean.  Some of the modules have a glassy appearance, while others have more wrinkles and are slightly looser.  All the shrinks, however, could be described as "flaky" -- it seems rather old and brittle, and tears very easily.  No breathing holes.

5) Lastly, module B1 mono from 1979.  This one is semi-loose, though again, the seams are tight and regular.  But there's an absolute ton of wrinkles and bubbles in it.  No breathing hole.

SOOO.... all I can really determine, assuming that I don't inadvertantly have any fakes here, is that I can't determine anything.  If I were to compile a guide based on all the statements put forth so far, few of my shrinked modules would comfortably fit into any of the categories.  If I were a new collector, I'd be panicked that I'd received a fake.  And I'd e-mail my nearest sage, asking for clarification.  Ick.

I would think that TSR, along with switching printers every few months, also switched shrinkwrap suppliers.  I'd feel comfortable offering more suggestions on how to spot fake shrinkwrap, but I don't know if the phases would hold up here.

Any ideas?

Foul

  


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Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 1:06 am 
 

Well, crap!  I remain confident of my ability to spot fakes (since every fake I've suspected, when opened, revealed a worn, stained, or written-in module), but only for the time period 1978-2004, with a gap from late 1989-1994.  That's the time in my life when I was opening modules as they appeared on the shelf.  If it helps, I was either in Colorado Springs, CO, Denver, CO, or Rhinelander, WI (visiting grandparents, TSR country) when opening items; I noticed no differentiation between locations and techniques.

But now I'm worried that the ~1975-77 chronology is too haphazard to quantify, and I have no experience with European shrinkwrap (TSR UK etc.) besides a single B/X1 I traded away 3 years ago.  So should we try to get more collectors' responses, or should we drop the issue as being potentially mis-informative?
:oops:

I've seen FoulFoots #1, that's standard 1977 shrinkwrap, but I haven't seen it with a large breathing hole before.  But the earliest I had that corresponds to his #2 was an N1.  #3 isn't TSR, so it's almost certainly a separate vendor's wrap; #4 sounds like a local (UK) variant of standard 1978-79.  #5 I might suspect of being re-shrinked, unless it's similar to what I've seen on poorly- (but legitimately-) shrunk 2nd printings of the pastel D series.

Sigh …

I guess we could open up a Research Project, with all the scans that would entail, but that sounds like a lot of work, especially for FoulFoot!  Is it worth it?
:?

  


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Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 2:05 am 
 

Maybe this would be a good thread to get Frank Menzter to chime in on, I'll ping him to see what wisdom he can shed....


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Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 4:02 pm 
 

It would really be interesting to see pictures of the types of shrink wraps of each period. Not in the context of spotting fakes, but just to give an example. If not inside the Acaeum, we could always post the picture in this forum. I'll host them if necessary. If someone with experience in this issue has the time, please take pictures and let us know.


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Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 6:13 pm 
 

Hey Foul, my Monster & Treasure Assortments have the same type of shrink as yours. Tight fitting, hole on front, but slight wrinkling of shrink at the edges.

  


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Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 6:19 pm 
 

Are they all Lizard logo, or later?

What is everyone showing for the Outdoor Geomorphs?  I remember that one having the worst shrinkwrap of all; I've seen two (1998 and 2000).  Any variation?

:?

  

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Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 8:09 pm 
 

The Monster & Treasure Assortments are 1st prints(Lizard Logo). Our Outdoor Geomorphs are 3rd print(Wizard Logo) and has the same type of shrink as the M&TA's. Yes, the shrink has seen better days.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 1:58 am 
 

Thanks for all the helpful responses, definitely enough for preliminary research.  Here's my first attempt at the early chronology for Shrinkwrap Phases, for the period before my time:

Dungeon Geomorphs:  Set 2 (1st print, 1977)
I-a "Loose, bubbly"

Dungeon Geomorphs:  Set 3 (1st print, 1977)
I-b "Very loose with breathing hole"

Monster & Treasure Assortment:  Set 1 (1st print, 1977)
II "Laminate w/front breathing hole"

Monster & Treasure Assortment:  Set 2 (1st print, 1977)
II "Laminate w/front breathing hole"

Monster & Treasure Assortment:  Set 3 (1st print, 1978)
II "Laminate w/front breathing hole"

Outdoor Geomorphs (3rd print, 1978)
II "Laminate w/front breathing hole"

G modules pastel, US (1978)
III-a "Flaky, US version"

D modules pastel, US (1978)
III-a "Flaky, US version"

G modules pastel, UK (1978)
III-b "Flaky with seam, UK version"

D modules pastel, UK (1978)
III-b "Flaky with seam, UK version"

And a snippet of the others:

B1 pastel (1979)
IV "Loose, bubbly with breathing hole"

Monster & Treasure Assortment:  Sets 1-3 (1st print, 1980)
V "Glassy with holes"

A2 (1st print, 1981)
VI "Glassy with seam"

AC1 (1983)
VI "Glassy with seam"

AC3 (1984)
VI "Glassy with seam"

AC6 (1985)
VII "Glassy with seam, higher quality"

Which leads us roughly to:

Shrinkwrap Phase I-a:  1977, US releases
Shrinkwrap Phase I-b:  1977, US releases
Shrinkwrap Phase II:  1977-78, US releases
Shrinkwrap Phase III-a:  1978, US releases
Shrinkwrap Phase III-b:  1978-?, UK releases
Shrinkwrap Phase IV:  1979, US releases
Shrinkwrap Phase V:  1980, US releases
Shrinkwrap Phase VI:  1981-84, US releases
Shrinkwrap Phase VII:  1985-?, US releases

Shaky, but interesting.  Any contradictions or additions?

  


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 8:14 am 
 

Lot of shrinkwrapped modules by this seller, they look pretty sloppy to be honest, but Im no expert...I just kind of remember the wrap being pretty tight but not so tight it bent the modules.

Anyone care to check these out?  Comments would be appreciated!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 3186176739

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 3186177160

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 3186177463

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 3186177891

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 3186178284

Actually all of his modules are shrinkwrapped...anyhow these should be enough for now.


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 10:18 am 
 

It's so hard to tell from relatively small uploaded photos.  I think we'd need to have it in our hands to compare with items bought from the local store at that time period.  

I will say for the seller that I bought a bunch of old miniature packs from him and was very satisfied.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 10:24 am 
 

Hamilcar is legit. He is selling this stuff for his old boss, who was a game distributer. I would look out for any item described as having corner damage, it is insect/rodent damage. If the item is described as "pristine" then it usually is.

  


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Post Posted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 11:02 am 
 

burntwire wrote:Hamilcar is legit. He is selling this stuff for his old boss, who was a game distributer. I would look out for any item described as having corner damage, it is insect/rodent damage. If the item is described as "pristine" then it usually is.


Thanks for your input.  I started buying two weeks ago and half of the "mint" items were far from it.  Im pretty leary now since there really isnt any way to restore a book or remove pen writing.


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