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Card You’ve Never Seen: 2002 Topps Mark Loretta Corrected Photo

13 Sep

Several players in the 2002 Topps set were affected by odd, almost vintage-Topps style mistakes: Albert Pujols, Craig Counsell and Mark Loretta had other players’ photos appear on their cards; Craig Wilson, John Vander Wal and Timo Perez had bizarre (and unrealistic) individual feats hidden in their stats on back. And while most collectors don’t believe that Albert Pujols’ card famously depicting Placido Polonco on back was ever corrected for the base issue set (read, not-HTA or Limited Edition parallel sets), there exists scattered evidence through the years that corrected copies do exist but in extremely limited quantities. To date, I have personally only heard of two. Allegedly these cards were corrected very late in last run of factory sets.

Up until recently, Loretta’s card, picturing Curtis Leskanic on front, has been understood to be a classic Topps UER (uncorrected error), documented in the annual ‘big books’ as such but clearly that is not the case. As with the Pujols (and to a lesser degree, Craig Counsell), this correction was only a rumor for the last twenty years. Here is a look at the likely very rare and very late correction to Mark Loretta’s card:

And while not quite junk wax by most collector’s standards, it is an otherwise noteworthy addition to Topps master sets as one of the last, true, unintentional variations produced by Topps. It raises another question: how many exist out there and how many are still trapped in sealed factory sets, almost certainly fused with the cards surrounding it?

Quick Look: 1991 Topps Desert Storm #186 Variation

7 Sep

Another seemingly rare variation to turn up from the Topps Desert Storm set, this time from the relatively variation-light series three. I reached out to the few remaining DS master set collectors that I know for info such as origin source and potential ownership but all denied knowing anything about it.

Previously sold on COMC, a copy of card #186 King Fahd, showing his named spelled incorrectly on front. Some collector out there is the lucky recipient of a King Faht.

1990 Pro Set Jim Morrissey #754 – Does It Exist?

25 May

An interesting find in the March 1991 issues of Beckett Football Card Magazine. In their first listing for the 1990 Pro Set Final Update set, they show card #754 as Jim Morrissey. As many already know, that card belongs to Steve Tasker (which can also be found in two variations) of the Buffalo Bills. Interestingly, the card of Chicago Bears player fits correctly in Pro Set’s 1990 team order, right between a Buffalo Bills player (James Lofton #753) and a Cleveland Browns “player” (Jim Shofner CO #755). Since Beckett and other hobby publications received preliminary checklist info from the companies, it is safe to assume that they had originally planned on Morrissey’s inclusion.

Was this card produced? Has anyone seen a copy? What happened to cause the switch out to Tasker? My guess? It’s out there. Someone has an unfinished, blank back type of proof for this card. If anyone has any info or photos to add to this mystery, please reply in the comments.

Quick Look: 1990 Pro Set Paul Gruber #310A Missing Name & Number On Back

6 May

Recently unearthed the one and only image I have of this card. Another Pro Set collector told me that there was a recent-ish eBay sale for this extremely scarce printing variation but somehow I didn’t catch it in any of my searches. This is quite possibly the last, super-scarce 1990 Pro Set issue that can be found in packs. At this point, aside from Dexter Manley in the Final Update sets, most of the big ones came directly from the company in promotional or inter-company gift form.

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1990 Action Packed All-Madden Team Roger Craig #32 Prototype or Withdrawn Variation?

2 May

Here’s a bizarre item I stumbled across a few years back. A set that for the most part I have zero interest in diving into, but like many other new entries into the market at the time, it’s a set prone to mistakes and likely preceded by a number of proof and prototype cards in it’s efforts to secure a license. And as many collectors already know, this often leads to new variations and oddities for the collection.

Card 32 in the base set is reserved for Ronnie Lott but either early on in the run or prior to production, a card of Roger Craig was issued as 32. Take a look at the pics below. Feel free to comment with any info on the source or history of the card.

Cards You’ve Never Seen: 1992 Topps Debut ’91 Todd Van Poppel Promo

1 May

It isn’t too often that you get a look at the prototypes and mockups of Topps’ oddball and direct market sets of the Junk Wax era. One of my favorite sets and one that I wish could’ve continued through the 1990s is the Topps Debut set, featuring each player who made their major league debut the previous season. Image a 1993 Topps Debut ’92 Mike Piazza or a 1996 Topps Debut ’95 Mariano Rivera…plenty of interesting what-ifs there.

This is the only known prototype from the 1990-1992 sets as far as I could find. There is a Golden Spikes Award version of Alex Fernandez’s 1991 Topps Debut ’90 card, which also happens to come in two versions itself. Looks like Mr. Van Poppel was the lucky subject of their testing out the design elements for the final version. While this card is likely just a mockup and was probably never printed, please comment if you can confirm a physical copy. I’d love to showcase it here, especially images of both sides.

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Cards You’ve Never Seen: 1990 Upper Deck No Position On Front Promos/Proofs

29 Apr

Take a look at this interesting print ad for 1990 Upper Deck baseball. In the foreground are a handful of cards, oddly enough, all from the 101-199 sequence (the missing copyright affected sequence), showing no position in the upper left corner box. Ken Griffey Jr, Bo Jackson, Barry Larkin among other highly collected players. I can only imagine what kind of money these likely-unproduced variations would bring today. What’s also interesting is that the cards in Reggie Jackson’s hand appear to be printed with their positions.

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Quick Look: 1991 Topps Desert Storm Norman Schwarzkopf “Smiling” Photo Variation

25 Apr

This card was only recently checked off my list after nearly 15 years of sporadic hunting for it. For an image of it even! For me, this niche corner of the hobby is like fishing: I find out about, learn about, hear whispers of a variation and I chase after it but I have no intention of keeping. This card is a perfect example. Easily in my top-10 most elusive Topps variations, I just don’t feel the need to own it despite the fact that it is an unbelievably scarce junk era item. One reason being is that it is a withdrawn card. Another is that it comes from the second series of a product that was already experiencing a drop in collectors/collecting activity after three (3!!) printings of series one (excluding the deluxe/tiffany factory set issues). And it is a drastic change from 1st to 2nd printing: the image, its tone and size of subject are very different from one another, something not seen very often in post-1960s Topps issues.

There are four other very short printed errors changed early in the second series set and three confirmed in the third series set. I will update with info as it comes in.

1990 Score Rookie & Traded Errors & Variations Checklist

25 Apr

1T Dave Winfield (promo)

1T Dave Winfield (set issue)

2T Kevin Bass (missing F in RF on front)

2T Kevin Bass (correct)

100T Eric Lindros (yellow front – no orange) **UNVERIFIED**

100T Eric Lindros (correct)

109T Terry Shumpert (promo)

109T Terry Shumpert (set issue)

110T Steve Avery (promo)

110T Steve Avery (set issue)

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Quick Look: 1988 Topps Keith Comstock Yellow Name Variation

25 Apr

It appears that the answer to ‘what would have to happen to get me back to this blog, posting new content?’ is: a global pandemic and an excess of (arguably unwanted) “free time.” Anyway, for those getting alerts, welcome back. Very excited to have exhumed this image from the mass grave that is archived message board posts. Since many have asked and so few have seen one, I present one of the last, truly RARE, junk era Topps cards, the 1988 Topps Keith Comstock #778c “Yellow Name” variation:

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