Craft Master, famous for their Painting-By-Numbers sets, released this poster in 1969 in the wake of Yellow Submarine fever. To the long list of dry transfer descriptions, already including 'rub-down', 'rub-on', 'rub-off', 'rubbits' & so on, we can now add 'put-ons'.
Their product number for this poster in a tube was 70503, & the transfer sheet serial YS-1.
Work on the Yellow Submarine film started in November 1967 & continued practically up to the premiere, which took place on 16th July 1968.
As is well-known, Letraset provided a Special Sheet of transfers, featuring the eponymous submarine in a variety of poses, to speed up the work of the animators. You can check it out here:
The sheet had featured none of the characters from the film, so this Craft Master product would have been a completely new set-up.
By the way, this was easily the most I've ever spent on transfers, obviously thanks to the rarity & the Beatles connection.
It actually took me a year after finding it to summon up the nerve to pay for it…! It was in Pleasures of Past Times, in Covent Garden.
So, anyway: here's the transfer sheet YS-1. Hmmm… I wonder what that could possibly stand for?
At first I thought the sheet might have been silkscreen printed, but once it arrived it was clearly 1969 vintage gravure.
In 1969 Letraset were already on PR29 for 'promotional items'; GK1 (Patterson Blick Instant Picture Books) are dated 1969, but probably printed in 1968; the earliest gravure transfers were given 'K' serial numbers, so YS-1 would have been on the cusp between the 'K' & 'GK' serial numbers — consequently the uniquity of the numbering system may not have seemed outstandingly odd, since everything was in flux. Fooled me for a minute, though.
And here's the unused poster. The good news is that I'll be turning this into an online game, so you can rub down the transfers for yourselves…
…Like this! Here it is 'mocked up' — with the transfers virtually (not actually) rubbed down.
This is the best I could do to show you what the tube looked like that the poster came in. These (later enhanced) images were saved from a long-dead Amazon archive, with no clue as to who took them; I'm taking the unusual step of regarding this as 'fair game'.
The "vital" info from the transfer sheet:
It seems there is also another sheet — possibly earlier. But while it, too, is by Craft Master, it doesn't seem to have come with this particular poster, so perhaps there's another product out there waiting to be uncovered…
eBay Seller Daydreamer04, who kindly provided this photo, seems to remember it may have come with a different poster, of which they may still have a copy. Perhaps it will turn up; they'll let us know!
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives — Daydreamer04
© Tom Vinelott 2021