1985 Topps Philadelphia Phillies Color Variations aka “Black Box” Versions

24 Jun

1985 Topps is no stranger to radical printing/inking varieties. Vibrant or dull colored fronts, dark and light green backs…each card can be found in every degree along the printing spectrum if you look through enough of them. That said, one team’s cards seem to be affected by a major “darkening” and on a more-frequent basis than any other cards in the 1985 set: the Philadelphia Phillies.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these qualify for the “printing flaw” label, but an argument could be made that they are actual variations in that: 1.) This type of inking extremity really only affects the Phillies cards. No other team in the 1985 Topps set has an extra shade of black inking over the team/name box/logo area. 2.) It was fixed at some point by Topps. Suggesting the possibility that it was even a design change to more accurately reflect the Phillies’ actual colors 3.) Holding the two examples in person provides a look at just how striking of a difference the “black box” versions (as they’ve come to be called in auction titles over the years) really are.

Even if they don’t fit into your variation collection, they are a neat little oddity in the 1985 set, a junk-era Topps set that’s, surprisingly, lacking in major variations.


2 Responses to “1985 Topps Philadelphia Phillies Color Variations aka “Black Box” Versions”

  1. Jeremiah Erickson April 29, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    I went through my 1985’s and this what i found for repetitive print flaws..
    353 Julio Solano is missing a swath of orange in the astros logo. This is present in two of my cards but most cards it is fixed.
    490 Jason Thompson two had a lot of color missing. Black and Yellow from the name plate error but color also was missing from the area in front of where is facing, ghostly wisps of white on two of the cards and the rest were fixed.
    695 Rick Rhoden has a greenish area on his right shoulder area this is in the same area frequently but differs a bit from card to card (like Jeff..36,erson in the 88 or 89 set.) Also perfectly yellow

    I also have a fun looking gary Lavell that has much of the oragne washed out it is funky looking but only one version like that.

    527 Checklist name plate is white instead of pink

    You refered to black out versions and there also are some Cubs and Mets that are basically purple instead of blue. Plus some real weird print flaws in the black on Giants and Orioles where areas end up white looking ripped away.

    A vast number of cards have a version where the print missed the grayish area on back, leaving a grayish line above the name plate and player info… for me a ratio of about 1 or 2 out of 10 for #36,69,102,152,169,171,213,216,246,284,293,323,324,382,399,426,467,483,503,514,535,537,541,544,577,606,631.

    A large number also have versions with color print alignment that repeats itself in a small percentage where either a white line shows up to the left of the team name banner or at the very bottom inside the black border or leave an area around the team banner with a thin line of an off color if it was too low. 16,18,106,402,403,686…161,552…481,485,581,277,279

  2. monarch2013 August 18, 2020 at 7:39 pm #

    I did find a handful of these “black box” versions thanks to this awesome website. Keep up the great work and keep updating as well!

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