1991 Upper Deck baseball hologram variations and more.

15 Dec

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.

13 Responses to “1991 Upper Deck baseball hologram variations and more.”

  1. Glenn Davis April 27, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    Have you noticed any cards from 1991 missing the UD logo? I have to check the player but I can clearly recall one card in my collection missing the logo. Any insight is appreciated.

    • junkwaxgems May 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

      I have a small stack of commons without holograms. Several more with duplicate and/or misplaced holograms as well. As for hologram types, I’ve just found a 5th variety ( the hologram type from Comic Ball 1 ).

  2. Ronald Bach May 18, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    In 1996 I was opening up all of my junk wax to sell commons and make room. I had ten 1990 Upper Deck High number boxes that I opened. I remember them being incomplete because the three player Montreal Expos card was missing from all of them. I counted the cards and there were 100. These sets were pre-ordered back in the summer of 1990. I got them from a hobby shop in New York. I do not remember any black boxes but I probably did not inspect the common cards too closely. If the high sets also contained the Ryan #734 error than there is a good chance that these sets will be the source for the Witt error. Obviously this card was printed on the first day of production only. We need to find out what product was made on the first day. I think that high sets were issued first. The sets came out late. Error wax may also be a source.

    • junkwaxgems May 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

      Great info Ronald. I was always hesitant to buy up those High # sets because the source of the Witt was always ambiguous, at best, but usually, most people cited wax as the source. Other collectors have warned me over the years that sellers were pushing those and the factory sets as the Witt source to move old product out, but you finding card #702 missing is pretty strong coincidence. I think you are definitely on to something!

  3. Aaron May 21, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Has anyone heard of a 91 upper deck Mark McGwire # 174 with no player name or sand coloured name bar on the front?
    I have also found a Ron Darling #198, with no hologram or player # on the back of the card.
    Are these common errors? or could they be rare and valuable?


    • junkwaxgems May 27, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

      Hi Aaron,

      I have not heard of that variation. However, similar stuff has been mentioned before such as a known copy of Don Mattingly’s card that is missing is his stat info on back. However, these types of variations can be faked. Unfortunately, 1989-1991 Upper Deck cards could be erased very easily creating what would’ve been considered “rare errors” at the time. I can recall seeing this kind of thing at card shows from time to time and I remember hearing warnings of it as well. The best way to check for this type of tampering is to hold your card under a light, at a slight angle, and check to see if the gloss is missing or looks differently than the white area of other sections of the card. But, as with all of the mass-produced cards from that era, odd inking missteps and plate obstructions do happen from time to time. Please send a scan if possible, I’ll gladly make a post on here noting it and crediting you as the source.

  4. Ryan March 21, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    I purchased some complete sets at a yard sale over the weekend and after reading your blog decided to open up the 91 and look for treasures. I came across the 309 Milt Thompson error card, but for the life of me can’t find a value anywhere. Any help would be appreciated.


    • junkwaxgems March 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

      Hi Ryan,

      I typically stay away from giving a “value” on variation items because they tend to fluctuate quite a bit, this is also one of the reasons that the major publications shy away from even noting many variations. That said, it seems to be a pretty scarce variation and I know a lot of people have asked me for one over the years but I can only vaguely recall seeing one for auction maybe in 2007, and I believe it sold for $18? Hopefully someone out there knows better. Either way, I remember thinking its closing price was very low. That’s about all I have, as always, the best bet is to list the card and see what kind of offers you get.

      Good luck!

      Oh, and let me know if you come across any 1991 Upper Deck Hologram variations for #263 Robin Ventura and #4 Dave Hansen, I’d be interested in either. Thanks!

      • Ryan March 26, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

        I appreciate the info. Sorry I can’t help you with your wishlist. I recently listed the set on Ebay for $27 and have not had any takers. I think I will go with your idea and let collectors decide the value.

  5. Jeff March 30, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    I just came across a 91 Upper Deck #417 Jeff Parrett with the hologram missing completely. Is this a common occurence?

  6. Justin June 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    I just found a 1991 Upper Deck Wes Chamberlain #626 1990 Upper Deck Baseball hologram. I would pay dearly for any of the other variations!!

  7. User August 4, 2021 at 8:02 am #

    I was looking at a stack of 90 91 NHL cards that was sitting on my table and most of the cards had a UD hologram of multicolors with a fuzzy 90 but 2 cards #85 Manson & #21 Muni have a totally different hologram. The hologram mostly only reflects silver in color with a very crisp 91 in the hologram. I thought this was somewhat interesting seeing as how the cards came from the same pack and say 1990 The Upper Deck Company


  1. 1991 Upper Deck – Baseball Card Reference - July 6, 2016

    […] For more information about these different holograms, please visit [1] […]

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