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.
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.”
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!
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.
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!