Using the skate lines to determine card age

An uncommon printing imperfection that exists on only twenty-five percent of the cards that came from only one sheet in the series

I love that this has been a point of contention for so long, I’ve always thought that the blue Skate Lines indicated age, it just seemed logical, and deserved closer scrutiny. Many people have commented that the rollers could have been scratching the paper and other things, but it seems to just be blue ink. There are cards in my collection which have a transverse Skate Line (Early print Andre St. Laurent #73 below). The skate lines are visible on portions of the card that are not blue, in many examples, the lines go through the brown skate shape, although can be tough to see. The lines do diminish with printing, that’s obvious just using the examples here. If you were to guess the age of them just looking at the backs, in which order would they rank?

Early print Andre LaCroix #107

The Skate Lines are super strong and dark and pass through the brown but become lost in the blue. Given how spotty the lines generally are, it doesn’t seem logical that the lines were applied with pressure. There are actually two skate lines here but on this side of the print job (not the Gretzky side) the lines start further apart and get closer together further down the card, and the bottom line appears more dominant. On the Gretzky side, the space between the two lines is a constant, almost 1mm, about 0.035″.

Early print Andre St. Laurent #73

Both the regular skate lines and an angled line that enters the card from the top left corner on it’s way to intersecting with the regular skate lines on the next card.

Left Side Lines

– 40 Borje Salmin
– 118 J. P. Parise
– 179 Ed Johnstone
– 73 Andre St. Laurent
– 184 Greg Carroll
– 100 Bryan Trottier
– 43 Mike Rogers
– 107 Andre LaCroix
– 154 Ron Stackhouse
– 165 Trottier Sets Record
– 161 Bossy Scores 69th
– 261 Nordique Team card

Right Side Lines

– 65 Pat Hughes
– 18 Wayne Gretzky
– 236 Ryan Walter
– 202 Morris Lukowich
– 102 Cliff Koroll
– 151 Kris Manery
– 147 Peter Marsh
– 176 Richard Brodeur
– 124 Randy Carlyle
– 224 Dennis Polonich
– 54 Dean Talafous
– 30 Ulf Nilsson

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