Tag Archives: 1990 Topps Error

1990 Topps Jeff King “No White On Back” and Why it Doesn’t Belong in the Big Books!

4 Nov

For less than a decade now, the Sports Collectors Digest has listed a major variation within the 1990 Topps set. Just recently, it’s catalog price has jumped up near Frank Thomas NNOF range, funny, considering zero copies have ever come up for sale! In fact, only one or two copies have been confirmed to even exist. Rare right?

I’m talking about card number 454 Jeff King. Yeah, the former #1 overall pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates and later, Kansas City Royals fame. Jeff’s card can be found with a solid, yellow and black cardback, meaning the cardboard colored areas (bio, border design, etc) typical on the reverses of 1990 Topps are inked over in yellow. Below is the only-known pic out there (as of today!) and the only confirmed copy I know of, however, Bob Lemke of SCD stands by them having recieved more than one submitted to them while editor of the big book.

This card, rather it’s catalog-worthy status is irksome to say the least. Collectors, especially those with error and variation focused collections as well as the powers-that-be of the industry, Beckett and SCD, have long held the “rule” that most printing flaws, especially ink-run types, are not considered true variations. This rule of course, has it’s many, many exceptions (Frank Thomas NNOF or 1986 Topps Roger Clemens “Blue Streak” for fresh examples), which is frustrating enough because by cataloging these entries as variations, they become must-have for the completists out there. These books lend a lot of legitimacy to which variations they decide to recognize.

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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?

1990 Topps Baseball Errors & Variations: Ongoing Checklist

20 Jun

14a Mike Fetters (with splotch on jersey missing black ink)

14b Mike Fetters (with airbrushed splotch on jersey)

14c Mike Fetters (with solid, correctly-printed jersey, no sign of splotch)

44a Roger Salkeld (with black ink missing at bottom left of card)

44b Roger Salkeld (correctly printed)

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Quick Look: 1990 Topps Bart Giamatti #396 Variations

28 Dec

A recent batch of 1990 Topps factory set breaks have unearthed a new variety in card #396, the tribute to late commissioner, A. Bartlett Giamatti. There are several different varieties to the coloring of the card, specifically affecting the name bar, but these are arguably printing differences in ink levels etc. The new variety shown below is missing a section of black border around his name bar, where it meets the border. A previous entry on this site shows the same variation affecting Roger Salkeld’s card #44.

Quick Look: 1990 Topps Roger Salkeld #44 Variation

14 Jul

About a year or two ago, I got into a major 1990 Topps Baseball kick. I was on the hunt for new variations in this suspiciously variation-free set, a set surrounded by two of Topps’ most problematic issues: 1989 and 1991. I was certain that many new varieties were out there just waiting to be found and that all it would take is a massive sampling of different packaging types and a lot of time. Unfortunately, not much came out of this research, but one of the more interesting things I discovered is that the holiday factory sets almost always had 1 or 2 cards missing portions of their black ink. And almost all of them were NOT from the famous “orange sheet” that includes Frank Thomas’ card. One sweet example of this is card #44, then uber-prospect, Roger Salkeld. Take a look at the lower left of the card: it’s missing all of it’s black ink in that area.

1990 Topps Football Checklist #498 – New Variation

21 Jun

Did you know that the 1990 Topps Football Master Set has over 1200 cards to it? Each of the 528 cards comes either with or without an “unlicensed disclaimer” on back. That’s 1056 cards right there.

Then each of the 30 1000 Yard Club Cards have those variations. Plus an asterisk variation for each. That’s 120 more cards.

Then you factor in the box bottoms, those have the disclaimer variations….and so on…

Freshly discovered is yet another variation in the 1990 set, card #498 Checklist 1-132. One version has a gap in the border just before it touches the “hashmarks” at bottom-right on front.

A handful of other cards also contain some pretty noticeable variations: All of the Record Breakers subset cards have letter-code variations, Al Baker’s card has a logo color variation, Bruce Hill’s card has a similar border variation to this one. The master checklist on 1990 Topps Football is growing – which makes it one of the most challenging sets to build for the variation collector.