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Quick Look: 1990 Donruss Grand Slammers Red Star Error (Todd Benzinger)

7 May

The first and only example, until recently, that I had seen of this variation turned up in 2015 on eBay. I can’t recall if I found it completed or was outbid but I have been trying to track down this variation since. Not on any of the dozens of want lists or master set checklists sent to me by E&V collectors, this elusive variation, so far, has only shown up on Todd Benzinger’s card. A few 1990 Donruss experts have claimed that other cards in the Grand Slammers set can be found with the red star on front too, however, I have yet to confirm this.

If you have photos of any other 1990 Grand Slammers with a red star on front, please send to: jacksoncoupage@yahoo.com and I will update this post with a credit.

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1990 Action Packed All-Madden Team Roger Craig #32 Prototype or Withdrawn Variation?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

Quick Look: 1991 Pro Set ‘Special Promotional Sample’ Stamped Promo Cards

28 Apr

My memory may be off but I am fairly certain that I was given one of these stamped 1991 Pro Set cards upon visiting their booth at the 1991 National Collector’s Convention in Anaheim. I want to say it was Randall Cunningham’s base card. Or maybe Jeff George. All I know is that I was disappointed it wasn’t Emmitt or something more “valuable.” In the years since I have only seen a handful of these cards pop up. The image below of Rocket Ismail’s card was one I found in a box of various early 90s “hot” cards in sleeves, picked up at a thrift store in Van Nuys, CA. As of now, it is impossible to say whether Pro Set stamped the entire series one set or just certain players and exactly how many of each were issued. I do not believe that any more than two copies of any player have been confirmed. Because of their non-descript fronts, I turn over every 1991 Pro Set single I find mixed with other promo/oddball/hot cards of the time.

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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.

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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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.

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: