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:
–1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey hologram is a repeated pattern that depicts crossed hockey sticks and “90-91”. I have seen no more than 20% of the set printed with these. These, through my own research, seem the toughest to find. I have never found a single copy in packs (jumbo, heroes or regular) or factory sets. Only while sorting through miscellaneous lots, opened material and hand-collated sets. It remains unknown whether the insert cards were affected by this. I imagine a Nolan Ryan Heroes or a Michael Jordan SP with one of these holograms on back would be an extremely limited card. An example below:
-1992 Upper Deck hologram repeats the famous Upper Deck “diamond logo”. It’s what UD used for many of it’s 1992 and even 1992-93 products. I can account for about 30% of the set being affected by this, most commonly found are the 701-800, HI series cards, but low series players do show up from time to time. These, by no means easy to find, are the least scarce of the 3 non-1991 types. See below:
And just for fun, here is a comparison shot of Chipper Jones’s rookie card. The top one is the 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey type and the bottom copy is the common, correct, 1991 Upper Deck hologram type.
Some other 1991 Upper Deck Baseball variations to keep your eyes out for:
-#231 Brian Downing no position on front (NPO). Not super-rare, but not easy to find anymore. I remember when I could only find the error and not the correction, in fact, Beckett reflected this back then, by pricing the correction higher! An interesting twist on this card is that it can be found with the position printed at 12 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 5 o’clock, 7 o’clock or centered correctly.
-#309 Luis Salazar “circled i” variation. Well-documented variety that has a “fish-eye” printing flaw that fits perfectly around the i in Luis on back creating what appears to be a circle. Very rare and never offered for sale.
-#311 Milt Thompson “bullseye” variation. Similar to the 1989 Fleer Jeff Treadway, this card has a crosshairs mark printed over the 86 in his stats. I can barely recall it, but I think one was offered for sale 3-4 years ago and it escapes what it went for. A definite rarity and probably the most popular variation in the set.
-#354 Don Mattingly missing stats variation. A recent discovery, this appeared within the last couple years. It’s unknown how many are out there and if other players were affected. A good reason to check the backs of your 1991 cards. Be warned though, this type of thing can easily be counterfeited so be careful not to purchase unless you can hold the card in person and tilt it to see if the surface gloss has been erased (a common scheme in the error-crazy early 90’s with upper deck card).
-#SS-11 Lance Parrish with “tilted number”. Another recent discovery, but I seem to recall there being other cards from the 1991 set that had almost diagonal numbers. What makes them much more special than a simple printing flaw is the fact that the while the number tilts, the rest of the black ink on the card is correctly printed! Very strange. I have found just 2 copies of the Parrish in the last 2 years, but prior to that I hadn’t been checking. For the most part, by 1991, Upper Deck made less errors, or better, they corrected less of them. This and the others like it are likely very scarce today.