This post will focus on the lesser-known variations in the Dallas, TX based company’s sophmore set. 1990 Pro Set is home to a ton of well-documented variations: The New Orleans saints cards with white numbers, cards of Ray Perkins and Johnny Holland are missing their names and position on the reverse, stat errors in the text of Joe Montana’s card #2, etc…all of that info has been recorded in many places online and is usually just a click away. Tonight, I’m going to showcase some of the lesser known variations that can be found in the set.
#772 Dexter Manley backwards T. Manley’s card is already one of the most desirable error cards produced in modern trading cards. As of this writing, the last sale was for over $600. For those who don’t know, Manley’s card originally had a message about his suspension from the league due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, to which Manley and his lawyer objected. According to Pro Set, just a handful slipped through before correction. Not a new story in the error card world, but what many people are just finding out, is that a third variety exists: a version of the corrected card where the ‘t’ in “Official card of the NFL” on back (at bottom) looks as though it was printed backwards, or better yet, like a ‘j’ that had it’s top crossed instead of dotted. The backwards t is also present on the original substance abuse version as well, making this card a somewhat difficult “transitional” variety. In the 55 sets I have acquired in pursuit of the ‘substance abuse’ error, I have found just one of these ‘backward t’ errors!
#134 Andre Rison with “clipped” number on back. Rison’s card is already a mess as it comes in 3-different varieties to begin with: a) No trade on front (NTOF) b) Trade on front (TOF) c) Trade on front, Message back (TOFMB). Both types that show #134 in the bottom right corner can be found with the top of the digits sliced off. My experience collecting these variations has shown a 1 error: 4 corrected for each of the (NTOF) and (TOF) types.
#134 Andre Rison (Lud Denny Message on back) signature variations: Rison’s message back card was always one of my favorite pulls as a kid. It was just weird! The president of a card company explaining themselves to me in letter form? On that back of one of the hottest young receiver’s in the league’s card?? I vaguely recall reading something back in 1990 about a version that didn’t have all of the message printed on back and I eagerly tried to find one for myself. Unfortunately, as of now, it remains in my “Urban card legends” file as I’ve yet to see or hear of another copy since. But my hunt did however, turn up a variation in this card: One variety has Lud’s signature printed so that it nearly touches his name and the word ‘sincerely’ and another has it spaced further away. I have found 1 ‘close’ version for every 10 ‘further’ copies I own.
#59 Mike Ditka large ‘Hall of Fame’ print. A fairly straight-forward one that may not entirely qualify for the ‘unknown’ title, but since it’s not cataloged in any of the annual guides, it’s worth mentioning here. Mike Ditka’s card comes in two different varieties involving the font size of the words “Hall of Fame” in the banner on front: The much rarer version has the larger font that stretches across the entire banner-usually getting cut off at the edges while the more common version is shrunk to fit with a little room around the words. I have found just 3 copies of the large print for my 90 small print ones making this, in my opinion, of course, one of the rarest pack-issued variations from 1990 Pro Set.
A few final notes of interest for 1990 Pro Set:
-The Santa Claus card is rumored to come in two different versions. I have a magazine or two from early 1991 where readers wrote in to ask about this. I own a dozen of copies of the card and they all look the same to me. The only mistake I can find is that they forgot a quotation mark after the word WARE (for Andre Ware) but I have yet to see a corrected copy. Something tells me that this isn’t why collectors thought a variation existed. Also, the 1989 Santa is rumored as well, to have a version when there is a statistical measurement for his belly on back. Can anyone confirm this?
–#719 Mike Bellamy can be found with the right arm of the Y in BELLAMY clipped off on the card front. I have found just 3 copies like this in roughly 60 copies I own.
–#644 Dave Waymer is rumored to exist in a version similar to Rod Woodson and Wes Hopkins’ cards where the stat headings are printed in black instead of red. I can’t confirm this, but I can confirm that 1:3 of the copies I have found has a thin, jagged, almost hand-printed looking line under the TOTALS on back, maybe not rare but a definite variation that Pro Set took the time to change.
–#343 Chris Hinton Pro Bowl card is a well-known variation due to it receiving a traded ‘snipe’ on the front. Pro Set also changed the text on back to mention his trade. A third variety may be out there that shows the trade ‘snipe’ but without the new text on back. This would likely be a very short run ‘transitional’ type card similar to the 1989 variations of Jim McMahon, Gerald Riggs and Earnest Byner. Based on my 80+ copies, I am unable to confirm this right now.
Stay tuned for a pt. 2 to the 1990 Pro Set section – there’s a lot of “mistakes” in this set.