About / JunkWaxGems 2.0?

Hello, and welcome to Junk Wax Gems. The purpose of this site is to showcase the cool, little-known, and sometimes valuable cards that exist among the heaps of overproduced trading cards released throughout the mid-’80s to late ’90s. Everything from unlisted error cards to promos to “story-behind-the-photo” type of content from that era will be covered, as well as a whole lot of “I remember when this card was so hot…” nostalgia-type posts in between. Think of this as the last stop before you toss this junk in the trash or blow out at a yard sale. This site is NOT a price guide,


I am not here to do deep research on your cards’ value, I leave that up to you and if you enjoy this hobby, specifically this era of it, that may be a big part of the fun. Each post that you read here is the product of that genuine curiosity and interest in this corner of the collecting hobby and is packed with over thirty years of hobby knowledge and research. It is (was?) my hope that this site becomes more than just a first stop in valuing your cards and ultimately, through reader research and information sharing, becomes the most thorough (and fun) site for information on this special corner of the hobby.

2020 saw an unprecedented explosion in the popularity of trading cards. Especially junk wax. Unopened, FASC (from a sealed case), graded packs, singles, and even thrift store boxes of picked over collections all seemed to be changing hands at a rapid pace. A lot of folks were cashing in on the junk era! There still seems to be a renewed, national interest in this era of the hobby and with it came a lot of change. Within this boom also came a lot of misinformation. People who weren’t present in the hobby a year prior (or even alive in the junk wax era!) are now dispensing expert info in effort to move these products. One one hand, it invigorated me, I was ready to strap in and compile more lists and data, to aid in the upkeep of this corner of the hobby that I love so much. On the other hard, well, it quickly became tiring and tedious: correcting posts and directing collectors away from misinformation (No, Tiffany Bonds RCs don’t come in ’87 Topps wax boxes…) whether intentional or out of ignorance. As of  2021, I was exploring options for the next stage of this site’s evolution, including whether it continues at all in any form. It would appear that it will but it is my hope that in the near future, a subscription based format can be figured out that helps offset the costs to operate the site while continuing to provide new information and content not offered anywhere else. There is plenty of new set and master checklist info, old hobby magazine news and reader letters and little-known card spotlights to post about but simply not enough time to do so with all of life’s other demands.

When I started this blog it was fun for me. No rules, no timetable, just posting info as I got around to it. Nobody else was doing it and I was hungry for it. Couldn’t find it or any real discussion on it anywhere so, ultimately, I figured I’d start something myself. Now I field the same few opportunist’s comments, despite several entry gate posts, asking how much X is worth, how much I ‘wanna pay’ for X…Gone are the days where new information, fascinating new discoveries (genuine errors) and great hobby anecdotes are contributed by readers. Hopefully, a new direction and method for the valuable hobby information compiled here will be figured out soon.


Junk Wax Gems


69 Responses to “About / JunkWaxGems 2.0?”

  1. Stephen A Padwe January 13, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    If you are still interested in the 1991 Topps A*B* sheet letter variation please let me know I have many of them and assume that the entire sheet was printed with the variation. I do not have a scanner but could fax you several of the sheets in my albums. Please let me know.

    • junkwaxgems January 13, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

      Hi Stephen,

      I would love to see a scan of those if you have one handy. Also, do you have any idea how they were issued? Packs, proofs? Specific type of wax? I’ve hunted for these for years now and have yet to see a single copy (other than the Boston card).

    • Mike June 8, 2010 at 11:42 am #

      Hi, I just found your message and I am interested in these A & AB for a long time now. Do you have extras available? I have on my want list at least :1991 Topps: 155, 178, 272, 297, 452, 481, 644, 677, 716, 781 with printers mark on back A*B*, not A

    • steve whitzman April 3, 2011 at 3:11 am #

      do you have any information on Montreal Expos with these different letter designations? Or info on other Expos errors or variations?

      thanks Steve

    • Steve Whitzman January 30, 2012 at 2:57 am #

      Do you have any of the expos for trade or sale

    • Steve Whitzman February 10, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Looking for the two Expos with these variations : think Galarraga and Fitzgerald.

  2. Wally January 31, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    I have a 1980 Topps Jack Clark No Position Variation that I can send a scan of if your interested. I sent a copy to beckett and at first I thought is was just a case of overinking because of a the smearing of blue ink but now I believe that is not the case because I think that if it was just overinking you would see some trace of black ink. Let me know and I can email you a scan.


    • junkwaxgems January 31, 2010 at 10:30 pm #


      Thanks for posting! I’ve seen your card a few times now and the Beckett letter as well. The card is most definitely a printing flaw due to an excess amount of blue ink. 1980 Topps is notorious for this, be it yellow, cyan, magenta or a lack of any ink. There have been some recent ebay sales for similar items, such as the Craig Nettles “error” that popped a few weeks ago, which is very similar. Overall, it’s a cool-looking card, probably limited to the 10 (maybe more) copies that you own, but a freak printing issue nonetheless. This doesn’t make it less of an “error”, as it wasn’t intended by Topps to appear that way, but it is not a Topps variation that I expect to ever be recognized as a legit “stop-the-presses” mistake, in any catalog.

  3. Trent P. March 31, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Hey what’s up man? It’s me, sundryvagaries, from eBay. Still trying to purchase some of those rare Pro Set Errors and Variations. Please contact me back if you are still interested and I’ll give you an updated list of what I’m looking for. Also, I have a card you might be interested in. It’s a 1994 Upper Deck Football Brian Mitchell Error Card. Looking forward to hearing back from you.

  4. J.R. June 21, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    hey junkwaxgems, I saw a post of yours on another website, and I would love to ask you about your collection of Matt Luke cards. Please email me back at your earliest convenience. Thanks!

  5. Shaun July 2, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Would love to talk with you about variations on the 86 Topps set. Please drop me an email!

    • steve whitzman April 3, 2011 at 3:13 am #

      Shaun any information on Montreal Expos players with
      variations or errors from this set.


  6. Trent P. July 4, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Hey, me again. Letting you know I started my own blog strictly dedicated to Pro Set Football. Give it look as I found TONS of new errors/variations and have compounded and collated a 30+ page list of these newly found cards. I’ve appended the blog site. Take care and give me a shout.

  7. Trent P. July 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Hey, what’s up? I’ve been trying to liquidate some of these old 90’s and late 80’s sets from my childhood with little to no luck due to their period of production. But I did come across that may or may not be of rarity. It was in my 1990 Topps Traded Baseball box that I was going through, or sorting numerically, and I noticed on the Bobby Cox card that the card number looked “clipped”.. that is, not like the 1990 Pro Set variations, but it looks like half of the number is up above the other half as if someone sliced it and moved it up a little. Let me know if you need a picture or a scan, take care.

    • junkwaxgems July 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

      Hey Trent,

      Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. You are always welcome to email me directly (jacksoncoupage@yahoo.com) if you want. School and work has kept me very busy. I did check out your blog, it’s great and I’ll point people to it. It’s great to see people focus on a set they love and shine a light on all it’s blemishes! 1990 Pro Set is a great choice. I dug out some of my 1990 Pro Set boxes and found a stat line variation on Boomer Esiason’s card. Also, Jerry Ball’s Pro Bowl card has a scratch on the negative that Pro Set tried to airbrush with a few different color combos. Eddie Murray’s Pro Bowl card has a blue line through his arm sometimes. And Alfred Anderson can be found with a noticeably bold name (like the Chiefs cards). I’ll dig through my 1990 Topps Tradeds and see what I can find on Bobby Cox. I also have two wax boxes of that stuff on the way.

  8. Rotten Ralph August 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Hello..I have been very lucky to come across a 1990 Pro Set Steve Young Pro Set Prospect card #666.
    Are you familiar with the card? When I read the back of this card ….I couldn’t believe my eyes! It makes Dexter Manleys’s look like a church sermon….Here is a QUOTE,

    Recent career achievements include….most consecutive days without seeing sunlight,most cigarettes smoked in a 24 hour period,most phone calls received from Lud between midnight and six a.m.ina single season.

    There’s more….WOW!

    I just thought you should be aware of such a card…I have it….So what do you think? What’s this going to be worth?

    • Trent Poyner August 2, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

      Hello Ralph! Yes, that card is quite possibly THE RAREST 1990 Pro Set card. Potentially worth anywhere from $500+! Are you a Pro Set Master Collector? If not, I would like to make you a good offer on this card RIGHT NOW. Please e-mail me if you are interested, as this is a rare one. Where do you come across this card? I can’t imagine where this card could be procured.

      You can e-mail me at TrentPoyner@gmail.com. Do you have pictures of the card? Would love to work something out. Plesae e-mail me and let me know, I’m VERY interested. Thanks.

    • mike August 14, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

      Hi, do you still have this Steve Young card available ? or photos? I am a big Pro Set collector. Trying to collect them all, football and hockey!

  9. Jeremiah Erickson October 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Errors and variations have always been a passion of mine and last March I acquired a quarter million cards from the junk wax era. I have been reading your blogs and I have found a few very interesting undiscovered variations of my own. I have been focusing on 88-90 score lately and will shift my focus elsewhere soon. Keep up the good work.

    • steve whitzman April 3, 2011 at 3:15 am #

      did you notice any new Montreal Expos errors or variations



  10. J.R. November 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Please email me at your earliest convenience. I am interested in selling my entire Matt Luke collection, including my 1/1 and two /9’s. I’d love to see it have a nice home. Thanks.

  11. Bob Tompkins November 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    How does one go about purchasing Donovan Ryan’s Error & Variation Guide? Thanks.


  12. Barbara tiernan November 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    I sold 3 copies of the Yellow Martinez error about 3 years ago on Ebay. Each one went for between 40 and 50 dollars. I got all of them out of a cello box that was green. Later cello boxes were a different color.

  13. J.R. January 11, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Any chance at you ever getting back to me re: my Matt Luke collection? I’d love to let you get at it, I just need to hear from you!

    • junkwaxgems January 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm #


      I’m sorry but at this time, I am not interested in purchasing any collections. My budget for cards is pretty much limited to error & variation research (i.e. junk wax and thrift store finds). If at some point you feel like splitting up some of it, feel free to contact me, as I mentioned before, I’m especially interested in the 1999 UD Exclusives.

      Thanks again!

  14. cheflar-pa January 27, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    Can anyone tell me or show me a pic of a corrected 1989 Topps Football #51 Derrick Burroughs? (I know there are at least 12 versions of the #32 Rodney Holman-i recently found one that only had a B for Bengals, but no ENGALS…)…but can’t find anything about the Burroughs…also, anyone ever seen a pick of the 1990 topps baseball #454 jeff king with no black ink?

  15. Mike Crain March 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    I have a card that I have not seen it listed as UER or a variation. It is a 1988 Sportflics Fred Lynn, #23. It has his last line s “1978 Orioles” when it should read “1987 Orioles”. I have not seen another card to see if it is there or not. Do you have any ideas?

  16. cyberstout May 25, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Hello JunkWaxGems,
    I’m going through my daughter’s card collection. Mostly 1987 and 1988 Topps. I have 1988 Topps #778, Keith Comstock, with PADRES printed in white. Do you want a scan? I also have #348 with a white scratch on Jim Eisenreich’s right arm.

    I have a “1988 Topps Glossy Send-In” complete set of 60 cards. Card #45 is Shane Rawley but is misprinted (upside-down) on the back as “Tony Gwynn – Card 38 OF 60”. Do you know if that might make the set worth any more or less than usual?

  17. Robert Gottberg June 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    I am trying to find a errors and variations list for 1989 proset football, like what you have done with the 1990 set. Know of anyone who has one thanks

  18. Michelle Conway July 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I have a Don Beaupre 1991 Pro Set hockey card (#601). Washington Capitals is misspelled (Captials). Not great shape, but curious as to whether it has any value to anyone.

  19. Roger Grider July 11, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I also have the Frd Lynn Sportflics card.My question is i Have a 1991 Pro Set Joe Gibbs card with the registeration mark that they use for the NFPPA.

  20. Tim DuBell August 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Just stumbled on the site.
    Ever see a 1992 Football’s Finest Dan Marino? The card design resembles the 1992 Topps Football’s Finest set, but it has a different back and no team logo’s. At first, i thought it was an unlicensed card with the same design, but with a little bit of research, the name of the company that produced the card also owns the Patent for the Chrome technology. Could this have been a promo card used to sell the Chrome technology to card companies?

    Let me know if you have any information!

    • Dylan September 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      I’ve never seen it, thanks for providing a scan! It may be a mock-up created before the whole NFLPA and NFL Properties division happened? Very odd, I’d like to hear other reader’s input on this one.

  21. Mike October 10, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Hi, I’ve enjoyed looking over your site and have had fun looking for variations I didn’t know existed in sets like 1991 Topps.

    I was sorting some cards recently and noticed I had two 1993 Upper Deck #136 Rickey Henderson cards. The one is a normal card with Henderson’s name written in Gold colored script. However, the other has his name written in White script (just like the Upper Deck name and team name/position). Everything else about the card appears to be identical. Any idea how rare this variation might be, how it was issued, or if more cards from the set can be found like this?

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  22. Ryan November 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    I was wondering if you have ever heard of anyone having a 1991 Fleer Ultra “Stan Belinda” baseball card w/ absolutely nothing on the back of the card? The front of the card is as it should be, but the back of the baseball card is completely blank (white). I have looked on many different websites to see if anyone else has came across a card like this, but no luck. Wanted to know if ur able to give me any insight to this card? Thanks alot for your time!

  23. Patrick November 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Does anyone know what the error is on the 1991 Topps Football #460 Esera Tuaolo? Thanks.

  24. Patrick November 7, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    Does any know what the error is on Esra Tuaolo 1991 Topps #460 card? Thanks.

  25. Paul November 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    I have a 1991 Pacific Dan Marino error card that has the wrong back. On the back is shown Chris Warren and his stats, but it’s the regular Marino card on the front. Have you seen or heard of this variation before? I can’t seem to find any information about it online.

  26. Patrick December 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Does anyone get on this site anymore?

  27. Aaron Pippin January 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    i have a topps baseball card of steve olin from the indians looks like a 1993 and the card has no back to it. Its just blank? no idea if its worth anything and i cant find anything on it so if you or anyone knows something about it i would like to know please.

    • Dylan February 1, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      A blank back. Very common with 1992 and 1993 Topps.

  28. mike April 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    has anyone ever heard of a 1987 topps baseball card with fred lynn on the front with tim burke name and stats on the back of the card if so please let me know thanks

    • Dylan July 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      These are called wrong backs. 1987 Topps may be the most plentiful of any year. Typically 1987 Topps ones sell for $1-2 or less, with a few exceptions.

  29. Eric April 27, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Thought I would leave a question here about a card I am trying to track down, if it even exists. Nslists has a detailed checklist of 1991 Pro Set Musicards. (http://www.nslists.com/supmus1.htm). However, one of the things that it lists are three different versions of card #15 – John Lennon:

    15* John Lennon [Logo at top left; left hand raised]
    15* John Lennon [Logo at bottom right; left hand raised]
    15* John Lennon [Image reversed in Series 2 packs; right hand raised]

    I am familiar with the reversed image, and the movement of the logo from top left to bottom right, but I have never seen the interim variation, where the logo is moved before the picture was reversed. Has anyone heard of this second variation and if so, could you post a scan? Thanks.

    • Dylan July 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      I’ve yet to see the 3rd copy, as I’ve used Jeff’s checklists for years too. I’ve also opened a half case of both series and found a handful of variations not listed there but have not seen a copy of that or the “Blimpie” variations.

  30. Ben July 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    Great site, full of interesting info. I had a couple things to add that I didn’t see mentioned. 1995 Topps Babe Ruth #3 can be found with and without the gold foil Topps logo in the upper left corner. Also in the Cards you’ve never seen category – 2008 Topps Heritage packaging shows an Evan Longoria card with a green background. The only version I’ve ever seen is the Topps Rookie Stars card with the American flag background. Obviously not from the junk era but figured you may find that interesting.

  31. bbcards November 18, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    I’ve come back to this site several times looking to see if there are new errors and variations. I have yet to see anything on 1992 Score baseball. I came across a sale on ebay Mo Sanford #769 and saw the variation for the Rookie Prospect missing on one card and appearing on the other so I went through my stock and found that there were others as well. Cards from somewhere around #748 through #772 have the same variations. Any info on why these exist and why no one has posted on them?

    • Dylan December 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

      These are well-documented and known among variation collectors. They do not sell for very much.

      • sundryvagaries January 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

        Hello Dylan, it’s me Trent. I needed to talk to you about the site and removing my full name from all the posts I’ve left on here. I made the mistake in the past of leaving my full name and I’ve been in the process of trying to remove all of my unnecessary records from the google search engine. You can e-mail me as well if you’d like. I’d appreciate it greatly. Hope to talk to you soon.

      • Dylan January 28, 2013 at 2:31 pm #


        Just let me know what you need me to do.


  32. Tyler January 28, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    I can’t tell you how pumped I am that I found your site. I’m 31 and baseba cards for 1986-1996 is right in my wheelhouse. I’m actually geeked to tear open my old boxes and see what I’ve got. I wish I hadn’t tossed so many of the old Pro Set cards. I look forward to bragging about what I was able to find. Aside from the Frank Thomas NNOF and the Billy Ripken, what would you consider the “holy grail” of errors??

  33. sundryvagaries January 29, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    Hey Dylan, I was just hoping that you could do one of either two things. Either remove my name from all my replies/posts that has my full name so it does not show up in google searches or change the name to sundryvagaries. I really apologize for this and if you have to delete the replies/posts altogether if necessary then that’s cool too. If you could do this for me I’d really appreciate it.

    Anyways, appreciate the help, take care.

  34. cl_kyle March 8, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    First, thanks to Dylan and all contributors! I’m loving this site after discovering recently.

    Given all the 1990 Pro Set E/V in football/hockey, has anyone done any checking through the 1990 Pro Set Golf for E/V? I can’t find anything on the net that lists any for this set. If there’s any interest or if you have any to share, let me know and I’ll make a contribution to this blog with any that I find.

    • Eric April 2, 2013 at 6:58 am #

      I am not aware of any errors or variations in any of the Pro Set Golf cards except for the 1990 promo cards of Lee Trevino and Bob Tway. Each comes with two different versions of the PGA logo at the top left of the front of the card.

  35. FuriousKev March 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    I have been checking this site out for over a week now and I think it is fantastic. Brings back some great memories growing up. Im 37 and I collected pretty much everything from the junk wax era. My father and brother collected as well, and although this specific generation of cards may not be valuable money wise, the memories I have of going to conventions and card shops with my pops is priceless. My pops passed away last year and just recently i went into my storage unit and pulled out all the sports cards. I haven’t seen these in over 19 years! I didn’t realize just how many cards we actually collected but it’s about 40,000 give or take 5000 and all of it is out of sequence and mixed up! My pops continued buying years after my brother and I moved out and started families. I was able to organize the football varieties and with the help of this site and its users I’ve just been enjoying the process of discovering the errors. I guess I just wanted to say thanks to everyone here and this site, it has renewed interest in a hobby I had completely forgotten.

    • Dylan April 9, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

      It looks like an errant marking printed on in the shape of the stanley cup. Looks like it went through a few stages before removal. Can you please send a pic/scan of the card you have? Thanks!

  36. Jeremiah Erickson September 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    I just hit on a few 1988 Score Variations I haven’t found documented anywhere else. 509 of 660 Joel Youngblood is missing the e in the in the first line of text on back. 438 Keith Comstock there is a green line the is inside the logo circle on the card back on four of my copies but a fifth had no green line and would appear to be the more rare corrected version. Finally my favorite 262 Rick Dempsey has the name and position in gray instead of white.

  37. Chris landers January 22, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    While digging through a box of random junk wax cards I came across a card that I have never seen anywhere listed as an error card. It is a 1991 Donruss series 2 Roberto Kelly team MVP #400. It is listed on the front of the card as he is a second baseman however on the back it is listed as he is an outfielder. Has anyone ever come across one of these?

    • Dylan February 25, 2016 at 10:25 am #

      Uncorrected error.

      • Tyler March 3, 2016 at 10:43 am #

        I know how much work it must to maintain this site and upload new content and I appreciate it. This is my go-to for my error card addiction.

  38. Jeremiah Erickson August 23, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    1992 Donruss variations! Besides the INC INC. variations from around card number 593 through about 674 the names which are Silver can be found in a “Topps Style” Smokey version to almost Black at a rate of about 1:7 or 1:10 as best I can tell with my volume alone to sort through. What I can confirm though is Archie Corbin has a “ProSet” style printing variation on the front. To the left of his glove there is a black line off on the white margin “as if the lace of his glove extends outward” but on one lone card out of my 10 it is perfectly white.

  39. Patrick April 17, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

    You should add 1989 Score Football errors/variations and 1991 Pacific Football errors/variations. The list in Beckett is pretty good. I have quite a few but some are hard to find.

    • Mike July 3, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

      Hi, do you have a list of the variations you have? I am updating a book and would love to see something different to add to it,

  40. John Goethe November 12, 2018 at 9:14 pm #

    I may have yet another variation of the ’89 Fleer Randy Johnson Marlboro card. If there’s interest, please contact me at:


  41. Patrick May 26, 2021 at 6:19 am #

    Howdy, any update on your plans for a subscription service or something similar? You have a lot of great material. I would love to support it to get access to your research.

    • Dylan June 7, 2021 at 6:35 pm #

      Sorry Patrick, no updates at this time.

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