Archive | July, 2010

Quick Look: 1986 Topps Mike Trujillo “Teardrop” Variation

19 Jul

1986 Topps is not a variation-heavy issue from the junk era. Besides Roger Clemens, Tom Seaver and a handful of other common player variations, there isn’t much. A recent discovery of mine from about a year and a half ago affects card #687, Boston Red Sox pitcher Mike Trujillo. On one version, a teardrop-shaped spot that is missing the black ink appears over his right shoulder.

Make no mistake, this is not an isolated printing flaw that I found a couple copies of. In fact, I find the corrected version to be scarcer (9 errors to 2 corrected so far). The recent discovery of this card suggests to me that I should probably be looking a little closer at my ’86s. I have a feeling that like 1990 and 1992 Topps, that there are many more variations to be uncovered.

1989 Topps Batman Sticker Variations

19 Jul

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a Prince fan and a comics fan. So naturally, any film that combines those two things is going to be among my favorites; and Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) does just that. Besides being a fan of both of the above mentioned things, I’m also a card collector and an enthusiastic variation-hunter and one card product combines all of this stuff:

1989 Topps Batman (series 1 and 2) are some of my favorite box breaks. Mint, centered cards from these packs are almost always impossible to find and forget the stickers, Topps packed the gum on top of them!

Like many other cards produced by Topps around this time, the variations that exist are in the copyright line. One version has a single asterisk * and the other version has two asterisks * * just before the copyright line. All of the stickers in series 1 and 2 are available in this variation.

Another cool aspect of this set is that it features the “rookie card” of director Tim Burton (the card is even titled: “Filmmaker, Tim Burton”) and what may possibly be the “rookie card” of Jack Nicholson, which names him, the actor, on front, rather than “Joker” or “Jack Napier.”

Quick Look: 1988 Topps Blackless

17 Jul

Here’s a variation (read: printing flaw) that you don’t see too often. Several cards from 1988 Topps can be found without the black ink on reverse of their cards, because of this, these are not “blank backs” which are more common flaws. In my time collecting, I have only seen about 3-dozen examples pop up. A handful of stars (Clemens, etc.) but otherwise all commons. While they don’t receive the publicity or fanfare of their 1982 cousins, these oddities are an interesting branch of the Topps ‘blackless’ family tree!

1989-90 Topps Jose Canseco Magazine Ad Insert Variations

16 Jul

Another product of my 1990 Topps research that I found fascinating was the enormous amount of “offer” or “ad” cards that Topps packed into their products. Every pack got a “Spring Training Fever” sweepstakes card or a offer for one of many different Topps clothing items, sometimes an offer for cards,  sheets or a binder instead. But 1990 also marked the debut of Topps’ quarterly magazine and the company chose A’s slugger Jose Canseco as the face of it’s promotion as well as the cover subject for the first issue.

In every 1990 Topps Holiday factory set, an oversized (about postcard sized) yellow card with ordering information was included, that depicted Canseco. Each of these cards has a “code” at the bottom (presumably for printing purposes) and this is where variations come into play:

The type on the left, with the larger print, printed horizontally, seems to be the “common” type as I pulled 9 of them out of 11 sets. The remaining two were of the smaller print, diagonally-printed type shown at right.

Another Canseco-featured ad/insert comes from the 1990 Topps Debut ’89 and 1989 Topps Traded boxed sets. This time, all the Topps Magazine order info is squeezed on to a mini card (the size of Topps’ 1986-1990 Mini Leaders). This card, again, can be found with a couple different “codes” on the back:

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Quick Look: 1990 Topps Roger Salkeld #44 Variation

14 Jul

About a year or two ago, I got into a major 1990 Topps Baseball kick. I was on the hunt for new variations in this suspiciously variation-free set, a set surrounded by two of Topps’ most problematic issues: 1989 and 1991. I was certain that many new varieties were out there just waiting to be found and that all it would take is a massive sampling of different packaging types and a lot of time. Unfortunately, not much came out of this research, but one of the more interesting things I discovered is that the holiday factory sets almost always had 1 or 2 cards missing portions of their black ink. And almost all of them were NOT from the famous “orange sheet” that includes Frank Thomas’ card. One sweet example of this is card #44, then uber-prospect, Roger Salkeld. Take a look at the lower left of the card: it’s missing all of it’s black ink in that area.

Quick Look: 1990-91 Bowman Hockey Hat Tricks Variations

3 Jul

A little-known variety exist on 90-91 Bowman NHL Hat Tricks subset cards. Each of the 22 subject comes in two varieties: Single asterisk * before copyright on back or Double asterisk * * before copyright on back. Some versions are tougher than others depending on the player. Building a master set can be a real challenge!