Another long-running mystery variation, first cataloged by Dick Gilkeson in his 1990 Error & Variation guide, the possible third variety of one of the most iconic error cards from the error craze days: 1990 Upper Deck Ben McDonald #54 with “White Circle” on front.
I say ‘possible’ because not only have so few examples shown up in the last 5-10 years, it’s a very likely candidate for counterfeiting due to the astronomical sales that the Orioles variation saw upon it’s release ($50-100). Add to that, the 1989-1991 Upper Deck cards were often erased by unethical dealers looking to cash in the error craze. I can personally recall being warned specifically about the erased McDonald card back in 1990-91. With little effort, these cards can be erased to show a blank white area on just about any section of the cards, this makes it extremely important to be able to hold a copy and tilt it under a good light source to see if the gloss has been dulled, before purchasing.
The above copy is just the third I have seen. The previous two were found on ebay with $100 buy-it-now’s during 2007-2008.
Some things worth noting:
The McDonald’s have a TM next to the white circle, this is what shows next to the ‘Star Rookie’ or corrected variety. The ‘Orioles’ errors have an R (registration symbol) next the logo.
It’s long been speculated that the McDonald error’s were intentional. Him being a huge prospect at the time, coupled with the growing error craze made this a perfect choice for a boost in sales and publicity for their sophomore product. It would be of little surprise that some of the folks at Upper Deck saw the value on the secondary market and created this third type as a way to cash in a little extra, we already know that they printed extra 1989 Dale Murphy and Griffey cards.
Another idea is that this card is a transitional type between the two types, but it seems odd that they would swap out the trademarks first, before the logos. Not impossible, but it’s a red flag for me. However, I have not ruled out the possibility that this card was printed after the Star Rookie logo was applied, either due to a plate error or just a short-run variety intentionally created for renewed buzz after the initial excitement over the product died a bit.
At this point there just isn’t enough info available for this variety. Having been in the market for one, I couldn’t bring myself to lay down $100 for a copy that didn’t come with some kind of guarantee, but at this point, holding one in person and thoroughly examining it under a loop would be the only way I could make a final determination of this cards place as a legit variation. I definitely encourage anyone with any additional info on it, to post comments.