1990 Pro Set Football: What’s Rare & What’s Not – Looking Back On The Last 7 Years of Discoveries And Sales

18 Nov

It seems the nostalgia boom of Pro Set collecting has all but come to an end. Sure there are several of us out there still flipping over cards in junk lots and scouring auction sites for new and interesting oddities but nothing quite like the heyday of the late 00s, early 10s. In those years, there seemed to be so much being uncovered, an endless supply of new items to chase and an ever-growing population of collectors jumping into what are arguably the most error/variation laden products of the junk wax era. Over the last five+ years, the collector slowdown started gradually (and I blame much of this on the glut of printer’s scrap and sheet cut items hitting the market) and has pretty much come to a near stop, save the likely, few dozen collectors still pursuing the impossible idea of a “complete” set. Let’s take a look at some of the cards which have filtered out to remain truly rare and elusive, and, conversely, which previously-believed to be rare items have proven to be much more acquirable.

Below is my completely unscientific and very fallible list of Pro Set winners and losers, after watching a recording appearances for sale, realized sales and frequency of availability for purchase. Obviously this does not take into account collector to collector data.

1990 Pro Set Football Winners (included prototypes and non-pack issues):

  1. Steve Young #666 – I believe this to be toughest Pro Set issue of all. Despite information, including pics, circulating for over a decade now, I do not recall a public sale of this card. Truly the holy grail of Pro Set issues, across all sets and sports.
  2. Eric Dickerson #338FACT Cincinnati. Have any copies of this card changed hands or been offered for sale in the last seven-to-ten years? As far as I know, none have. I had received an email ca. 2010, I think, that contained an image of the card back. I do not believe I had seen it prior to or since then. Truly a worthwhile runner-up to the Steve Young card as most sought-after and elusive 1990 Pro Set issue.
  3. Paul Gruber #310Missing name, position and uni number on back. Unreal to me that only one copy has surfaced. This card is similar to the 1990 Topps Frank Thomas NNOF, where, clearly, an obstruction blocked an imperfect portion of black ink on back. Though unconfirmed, I believe that whichever Bucs player sat above his card on the 10-up sheet strips should also be missing black ink on their cards.
  4. Dexter Manley #772missing bio or “ghost bio” variation. Via emails and ebay messages ca. 2005, I was turned on to this card’s existence but did not see a copy until 2010. Since then, I know of just four copies in existence. Two of which are never likely to leave their collections. Odds are, like all other rarities in mass produced sets, there are more out there but this variation remains one of the most elusive Pro Set mistakes produced, even if categorized as a “print flaw” by most.
  5. Chris Hinton PB #343Trade snipe on front, “Has been named…” text on back. This odd transitional version appeared for sale with some regularity for a small stretch a few years ago but they have pretty much become a ghost these days.
  6. Chris Hinton PB 343Trade snipe on front, “Six-time…” text on back with white text in snipe on front. This card was allegedly updated/reworked at the same time Rison’s card #134 was, which coincidentally also can be found with white text in the snipe on front. Made more interesting by the fact that the two players happened to be swapped for one another as part of the Jeff George draft day trade! Both cards went through several changes across the life of the product and these versions pop up very, very occasionally. I do not have a proper count but I will guess no more than ten copies of each have show up for sale.

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Quick Look: 1991 Topps Double Front Proofs/Test Issue

28 Dec

Printed on 1991 Topps Traded “white” stock, these recently discovered dual-front test issues differ from their pack-issued counterparts by minor design and cropping variations.

 

Make sure to check out this in-depth discussion with comparison pics on the Net54 Baseball forums.

800 copies of 1990 Upper Deck Mike Witt #702 Discovered!

11 Jul

A card previously believed to be quite rare, with under 50 copies estimated in circulation has now jumped to closer to 1000 known copies with the recent discovery of an 800 count box filled with 1990 Upper Deck card 702, featuring Mike Witt. The cards were believed to have been pulled from production and destroyed, however, it appears that at least one box made their way out of the factory.

A collector named Gilbert claims to have found the box at a flea market in California. After corresponding privately with collectors he found via commenting on this blog, he took to posting at FreedomCardboard.com for more information on the Witt card. Here is a link to that discussion, which provides so very interesting information: Mike Witt 800ct Discovery Freedom Cardboard Forums Discussion

Below is the initial emails I received upon their discovery:

Gilbert writes:
“Hey Guys,just wanted to update everyone on these cards,ive sold a total of 10 cards so far,some less then $100,my intentions was and will try to get them out to all collectors who would want one for their collection,I’ve made a lot more money from these then I can imagine for something I spend $10 on,talked to a lot of cool people from all over the U.S…made some friends and had a few who tried to take advantage,lol..but it has been an experience,its gotten me into the collection world,the guy I got them from continues to have a huge collection and I’m there every Saturday and Sunday looking thru them,And my “Gem Mint 10″ is now on eBay,so I’m excited about that,i just want that card to be sold for a little higher then the most expensive one sold for(1300)…only time will tell,after that,i might sell a total of maybe 10 after that,but I won’t give them away,lol…so after that,the will be put away…there might be over 800 cards,but not a lot out in the market,what hopefully they keep some value…I admire all you guys,maybe some day I can be a master collector like you all…have a great day people!��”

1990-91 Pro Set Hockey Errors & Variations: Ongoing Checklist

5 Jan
Key:
(SP) Extremely scarce, very low print run.
(R) Rare, very early or very late print.
(U) Uncommon, tougher version to locate.
(RPD) Recurring print defect, usually quite scarce.
1a Brett Hull (Promo – light color/design changes, blue line at top right)
1aa Brett Hull (Promo – light color/design changes, no blue line at top right)(SP)
1b Ray Bourque (spelled ‘Borque’)
1c Ray Bourque (spelled ‘Bourque’)
1d Ray Bourque (spelled ‘Borqu’ due to excess black ink in name wedge)(RPD)
7a Gary Galley (spelled ‘Garry’)
7b Gary Galley (corrected)(U)
10a Andy Moog (black diagonal line from G on front)(U)
10b Andy Moog (corrected, line airbrushed away)
17a Dave Andreychuck (Arniel photo on back)
17b Dave Andreychuck (corrected)
18a Scott Arniel (Andreychuck photo on back)
18b Scott Arniel (Andreychuck photo on back, 6 in trade stripe partially obscured)(U)
18c Scott Arniel (corrected)
21a Phil Housley (No trade stripe) UNCONFIRMED
21b Phil Housley (Trade stripe)
36a Brian MacLellan (full green blotching over face)(R)
36b Brian MacLellan (partial green blotching over face)(R)
36c Brian MacLellan (face correctly printed)
39a Brad McCrimmon (#39 on front, Trade stripe)
39a Brad McCrimmon (#4 on front, Trade stripe)(U)
39c Brad McCrimmon (#39 on front, No trade stripe) UNCONFIRMED

UPDATED: 1990 Pro Set Error & Variation Master List

18 Dec

More than 50 new additions have been made to the . I will continue to add more as time permits. I know there are many more that have shown up over the last two years that need to be added.

If you have any additions that you feel should be added, please post them in the comments section here or in the original 1990 Pro Set Errors & Variations Master Set Checklist blog.

The following items will not be added to the Master Checklist:

-The printer’s scrap cards that have flooded eBay the last few months. This includes the blacked-out cards, smeared, miscut fronts/wrongbacks, errant color tone, smudged, etc. These cards are printer’s waste and were NOT pack-issued or meant for distribution. They were cut from sheets pulled from garbage bins. While really fun to look at and collect, they should not be considered essential to a master set.

Wrong front/back cards. Again, these are really cool but are seldom found pack-issued and were usually cut from sheets found in the trash, making their way into the market illegally.

Miscuts.

Draft Day blank back/front proofs. Great, recent discovery variant proofs for Jeff George and Keith McCants draft day subset but not pack-issued or legally distributed.

1990 Pro Set Playbook Points Instant Winner 1:10 Cases!

8 Nov

I recently completed sorting through my 5000ct box of 1990 Pro Set series one inserts: those folded booklets that come with two scratch-off areas, one for “points” redeemable through the Gazette and one for the chance to instantly win one of several prizes ranging from a trip to the Pro Bowl to a Collector’s Game Program.

While hunting and successfully discovering several variations, I also stumbled upon an actual, unscratched “5th Prize” instant winner. Holding up each copy from the monster box to a desk lamp, I was able to see what was printed beneath the silver scratch-off ink. An amazing feat, considering the stated odds for this prize was 1:7200 packs! With a stated print run of 10,000 “5th Prize” instant winner cards, that places production equal to the pack-issued Lombardi holograms! And when you consider how many were mailed in (maybe few, maybe most) and how often these find their way into the trash, this becomes one of the rarest items among the 1990 Pro Set issue.

 

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1990 Topps Jeff King “No White On Back” and Why it Doesn’t Belong in the Big Books!

4 Nov

For less than a decade now, the Sports Collectors Digest has listed a major variation within the 1990 Topps set. Just recently, it’s catalog price has jumped up near Frank Thomas NNOF range, funny, considering zero copies have ever come up for sale! In fact, only one or two copies have been confirmed to even exist. Rare right?

I’m talking about card number 454 Jeff King. Yeah, the former #1 overall pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates and later, Kansas City Royals fame. Jeff’s card can be found with a solid, yellow and black cardback, meaning the cardboard colored areas (bio, border design, etc) typical on the reverses of 1990 Topps are inked over in yellow. Below is the only-known pic out there (as of today!) and the only confirmed copy I know of, however, Bob Lemke of SCD stands by them having recieved more than one submitted to them while editor of the big book.

This card, rather it’s catalog-worthy status is irksome to say the least. Collectors, especially those with error and variation focused collections as well as the powers-that-be of the industry, Beckett and SCD, have long held the “rule” that most printing flaws, especially ink-run types, are not considered true variations. This rule of course, has it’s many, many exceptions (Frank Thomas NNOF or 1986 Topps Roger Clemens “Blue Streak” for fresh examples), which is frustrating enough because by cataloging these entries as variations, they become must-have for the completists out there. These books lend a lot of legitimacy to which variations they decide to recognize.

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