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Quick Look: 1991 Topps Double Front Proofs/Test Issue

28 Dec

Printed on 1991 Topps Traded “white” stock, these recently discovered dual-front test issues differ from their pack-issued counterparts by minor design and cropping variations.

 

Make sure to check out this in-depth discussion with comparison pics on the Net54 Baseball forums.

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1990 Pro Set Playbook Points Instant Winner 1:10 Cases!

8 Nov

I recently completed sorting through my 5000ct box of 1990 Pro Set series one inserts: those folded booklets that come with two scratch-off areas, one for “points” redeemable through the Gazette and one for the chance to instantly win one of several prizes ranging from a trip to the Pro Bowl to a Collector’s Game Program.

While hunting and successfully discovering several variations, I also stumbled upon an actual, unscratched “5th Prize” instant winner. Holding up each copy from the monster box to a desk lamp, I was able to see what was printed beneath the silver scratch-off ink. An amazing feat, considering the stated odds for this prize was 1:7200 packs! With a stated print run of 10,000 “5th Prize” instant winner cards, that places production equal to the pack-issued Lombardi holograms! And when you consider how many were mailed in (maybe few, maybe most) and how often these find their way into the trash, this becomes one of the rarest items among the 1990 Pro Set issue.

 

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The Mysterious 1990 Topps Debut ‘X’ Cards

16 Oct

I’ve been meaning to post about this bizarre card for a couple years now but couldn’t locate the scans I saved. In fact, these images are the only I’ve ever seen and were poached from a message board in 2009. Since I am in the mood to do a little bit of detective work, I feel now is the time to shed some light on this very unusual card:

 

 

Not much is known about this card, in fact, I’ve yet to hear any mention of it since it was posted in the legendary Frank Thomas NNOF thread on the Collectors Universe boards.

Here is what we do know:

  • Pulled from a 20-set case of 1990 Topps Debut ’89 sets.
  • 1990 Topps Debut ’89 features 152 subjects.
  • Topps likes to print cards in multiples of 11 (33 Glossy All-Stars, 132 O-Pee-Chees, 792 base set, etc…)

Here is what I think:

152 subjects doesn’t work with Topps’ multiples of 11 sheet orientation, however, 154 does. This leads me to believe that on a single uncut 154 card sheet, you will find all 152 cards plus two of these “corner” cards. Obviously, the same formula can be applied to a theoretical 77 card sheet, but one X card per.

I believe that these cards were intended to be thrown out as printer’s waste but some, apparently very few, made their way into sets.

I do not believe that the X cards were intended to depict a player. Although I did not do the research, Topps claims that this set features every major league debut of the 1989 season, which would explain it’s unusual subject number (152) , which varied each of the subsequent years lending some truth to the claim.

What’s especially odd is that given Topps’ high production run during this era, those two “wasted” spots would seem like something of loss financially. Given how often Topps put advertisements and offer cards in products, why didn’t they use those spots for something useful? Food for thought.

Obviously, all of this could be simply explained with an image of an uncut sheet but until I get a hold of one, where’s the fun in that?

Quick Look: 1990 Score R/T Dave Winfield Unmarked Promo Variation

15 Oct

Take a look at this freshly-discovered promo variation from the 1990 Score Rookie & Traded set. This was discovered just weeks ago in a discussion on 1990s promo cards over at Freedomcardboard.com. A longtime dealer posted an image of Dave Winfield’s card number 1 in the set that by all appearances, seems like the regular issue card (below). Another forum member posted a pic (2nd) of the set-issue showing a difference in photo cropping, something fairly common with early 90s Score issues:


1994 Topps Sheet Code Variations…An Ongoing Mystery

8 Oct

Continuing on with my recent spotlighting of post-prime era variations (mid 90s and on), here is a look at a recently discovered (2007-ish) variation affecting an unknown number of 1994 Topps subjects. Several of the base cards are commonly found without a print code on back – very common for this set, however, a handful of these subject have shown up in extremely limited quantities with a print code.

Brought to my attention from a fellow collector, so far, only Mark McGwire, Pedro Martinez, Mel Rojas and an already-forgotten Montreal Expos common have been confirmed. This is most-likely due to the fact that by 1994, the error and variation craze had died down considerably and collectors weren’t pouring over the issue like they had in the late 80s. My own research has been pretty limited as far as this set goes, I’ve poured over half a dozen factory sets and twice as many 3200ct boxes but have never found a with code and without pair.

I’d be interested to hear what the player collectors out there turn up. If anyone has any more info on these variations or other 1994 Topps errors, I’d like to get an ‘Ongoing Checklist’ for 1994 Topps going soon. I am fairly certain there is a lot more to be discovered in 1994 Topps.

Quick Look: 1993 Topps Black Gold Foil Variations

7 Oct

Her is a little-known variation that affects one of the few inserts sets from 1993 to retain and even grow in popularity. In 1993, Topps included a special insert called Black Gold featuring 44 of the biggest players at the time. Collector’s could find one of these every other box or so, but on occasion, they could also find “Winner” redemption cards for sets of 11, 22 or all 44 of the cards, since these cards are so popular with player-collectors, the 44 card winner redemption has greatly appreciated in value over the years. Along with the already-documented “switched backs” errors, a blog for another day, a variation in the foil used on these cards can be found.

Most commonly the cards use a holographic gold foil, however, a small sampling of them feature a non-holographic, simple gold foil treatment. In my years of knowing about these cards, I’ve only encountered a handful of examples. Unfortunately, not a single copy of my player, recently-appointed manager of the Chicago White Sox, Robin Ventura.

Quick Look: 1991 Upper Deck Milt Thompson “Bullseye” Error

7 Oct

Here’s a rare sighting, a printing flaw that even Beckett and SCD acknowledge in their catalogs: 1991 Upper Deck Milt Thompson #309A with “bullseye” over 86 stats on back.

Most “fish-eye” printing flaw stuff doesn’t get cataloged and for good reason,as it would be impossible to list each and every printing aberration in mass-produced sets. However, some of them seem to have affected enough of the total print run that collectors from all over were reporting them, Frank Thomas NNOF and Joe Namath’s ‘butterfly’ errors are good examples of this. But see the pattern? These types of errors only get recognition if it affects a key rookie card or star player, something of a double-standard. There are probably a hundred cards out there from the junk wax era, as rare as the Frank Thomas NNOF card, that will never see catalog and subsequently mass-collector recognition, which makes this card an obscure exception to the rule. Very scarce by early-90s Upper Deck production numbers but still, at the end of the day, a printing flaw on a Milt Thompson card.