With the exception of a few variations here and there, 1994 Topps is the last set to fix a handful of it’s mistakes. The most prominant one being #102 Delino DeShields. He can be found with his name and position in either red or yellow on front. A nice reminder of the 1969 Topps name variations.
1993 Topps contains a handful of variations which I will outline in a later blog. But for now, take a look at one of the weirder ones: #96 featuring Mariners pitcher Russ Swan. The first version has the “Complete Major League Pitching Record” heading printed twice. The second corrected it and shifted it to the left as well. Though one can never be sure, I am almost certain that this is one of my own discoveries as it had previously not been mentioned as far as I know.
I’ve long been working on a master set of 1992 Topps Gold Winner cards. At last count, there were over 100 different variations in the set! And since I keep discovering new ones with each lot I sort, the parameters for the ‘master set’ title remain ambiguous. Again, I will post extensively about this set at a later date, but for now, take a look at the first card in the set to feature a variation: #2, Rickey Henderson’s Record Breaker card (the base card also features a variation, though a different one entirely). Notice the 2 different sizes of the ‘ToppsGold’ watermark on the back:
Score’s entry into the hockey card market was celebrated at the time by it’s inclusion of young phenom Eric Lindros. The 1990-91 set is also one of those products that, much like 1990 Pro Set, I consumed like oxygen – opening packs as often as possible. A fun set to revist now since it’s loaded with errors and mysterious cards like the Mogilny “defected” variation (stay tuned for a blog on that). But one of the big variations happened to affect the rookie card, or rookie-year card of future Hall-of-Famer, Mike Modano. Check out the 2 versions of his ‘All-Rookie-Team’ subset card:
For the last 4 or 5 years now, checking the backs of any 1991 upper deck cards is priority when I come across them. Already known variations like Luis Salazar and Milt Thompson’s (circle around i in Louis and bullseye in 86 stats for Milt) are a couple of very scarce varieties that affect the reverse of their 1991 cards.
But for some unknown reason, Upper Deck used up to 4 different holograms for their 1991 issue.
The most common is the repeated pattern of “1991 Upper Deck”. This was used across several 1991 and 1991-92 (in BK and HK’s case) sets that year, due, likely to it’s unspecific-sport aspect.
But some cards have shown up that show several other hologram types:
–1990 Upper Deck Baseball hologram are a pattern of baseballs and “upper deck” repeated. I have seen at least 25% of the set with these holograms, even high number cards debunking my theory that the ’90 holo variations were the first batch of ’91’s due to UD using remaining holograms from the previous year. Below is an example of this type:
Not the most spectacular Topps set, not even a top contender for best Topps set of the 1980’s due to it’s drab design and lack of a strong rookie crop. But it is loaded with variations of all types. Many, many minor ones that have only recently been discovered, well-known errors as well as several early-corrected cards that have proven to be difficult to locate today. As with all unlisted variations, a market price cannot be established until we start seeing them for sale, so while I can’t pinpoint a dollar value for these cards, I can share what I know and how it backs their rarity.
Let’s take a look at some of the toughest 1988 Topps cards to pull:
1. #51 Baltimore Orioles Team Leaders featuring Cal Ripken Jr and Eddie Murray. The error on this toughie is the single-toned back. All the Team Leader cards have a 2-tone orange colored back. A handful of the O’s card received just a solid, darker orange color. At one point, these used to sell for $20-30 but I can’t say I’ve seen one offered for sale in at least 4 years now. Not a single one among my 50+ copies!
I often get asked if I have a list of all the variations that I know of and the answer is “no, but yes.”
Actually I have everything I know about variations tucked away in my head. It takes up a ton of space that could be used for more important things but what are you going to do, right?
But there are some really great sources out there for the collector who’s interested in starting an E&V collection. Below is a list of my favorite sources of info that aren’t based on my own personal discoveries and research:
-1990-1992 SCD Basketball, Football and Hockey Magazines: These ran from late ’90 through early ’92 and every issue has a comprehensive list of the 1990-1991 variations for those three sports. Plus they have a huge letters section where people sick with the error bug would write in all of their potential findings. Many of these are great variations that never received credit in the big guides.
-Dick Gilkeson’s Error and Variation guides ca.1990-1991: Considered by many to be the bible of errors and variations, this incredibly resourceful (but very outdated and limited – goes through 1991 only) self-published guide lists some of the most interesting variations up to that point. They are really difficult to find nowadays so the best bet is to find someone you know who’ll copy it for you. Gilkeson is truly an E&V hero!
-Pro Set NFL book ca. 1991: Shows a picture of ever Pro Set card issued between 1988 and early 1991. Explanations of various errors and the only image of 1989 Pro Set James Jefferson that shows a “scouting photo” tagline on front. A great way to begin your Pro Set football master set. This book also includes the exclusive “Cinderella Story” inserts set so when purchasing them, make sure that you get ask if the cards are still intact.
-1980’s and early 90’s Baseball Card Magazine and Baseball Card Collector Magazines: Like I mentioned above about SCD mags, the letters dept in these old junk store issues often provide invaluable information for unlisted error cards.
-Donovan Ryan’s Error & Variation Guide: Straight from the 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken master himself, Donovan compilled the best E&V guide since Gilkeson’s and has made it very easy to purchase (unlike Gilkeson’s these days). Pullings from a seemingly endless source of wantlists, master set lists and misc. guides, Donovan’s guide is full of information that any newbie E&V collector must check out.
-Beckett and SCD Annual Price Guides: Specifically the blurbs or set summaries under the set headings. This is where the editors mention stuff that they are unsure of listing in the price guide itself. There’s all sorts of usefull information in there as well as in the guides themselves.
-eBay: Arguably the best source of new info out there (until this blog takes off, of course 🙂 ), checking out completed items searches under various key words such as “error” “variation” etc, gives you a wide range of stuff to check out. I personally, have learned a lot from other sellers and their sharp eyed discoveries that they’ve offered for sale.
There you have it. The training wheels can come off now. You are ready to go. Enjoy the hunt!