Tag Archives: 1990 Topps Variations

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?

Record Sale For 1990 Topps Frank Thomas No Name On Front Error

17 Aug

Not mine, but I sure wish it was…

http://cgi.ebay.com/FRANK-THOMAS-1990-TOPPS-RC-NNOF-NONAME-FRONT-BGS-8-5-/360385899834?pt=US_Baseball&hash=item53e8ac6d3a

A benchmark sale for the Junk Wax Gem of Gems!

Truly an ode to the power of the catalog’s recognition coupled with star factor. How many unlisted printing flaws could $2K get you?

 

 

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.

1989-90 Topps Jose Canseco Magazine Ad Insert Variations

16 Jul

Another product of my 1990 Topps research that I found fascinating was the enormous amount of “offer” or “ad” cards that Topps packed into their products. Every pack got a “Spring Training Fever” sweepstakes card or a offer for one of many different Topps clothing items, sometimes an offer for cards,¬† sheets or a binder instead. But 1990 also marked the debut of Topps’ quarterly magazine and the company chose A’s slugger Jose Canseco as the face of it’s promotion as well as the cover subject for the first issue.

In every 1990 Topps Holiday factory set, an oversized (about postcard sized) yellow card with ordering information was included, that depicted Canseco. Each of these cards has a “code” at the bottom (presumably for printing purposes) and this is where variations come into play:

The type on the left, with the larger print, printed horizontally, seems to be the “common” type as I pulled 9 of them out of 11 sets. The remaining two were of the smaller print, diagonally-printed type shown at right.

Another Canseco-featured ad/insert comes from the 1990 Topps Debut ’89 and 1989 Topps Traded boxed sets. This time, all the Topps Magazine order info is squeezed on to a mini card (the size of Topps’ 1986-1990 Mini Leaders). This card, again, can be found with a couple different “codes” on the back:

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1990 Topps Frank Thomas NNOF – Mystery Unraveled

23 Jun

One of the most important error cards of modern card collecting is the 1990 Topps Frank Thomas “No name on front” variation.It often tops the “10-most-wanted” lists of many collectors, not just error collectors. A massive mistake affecting one of the game’s biggest stars

For years, speculation ensued, until just over a year ago, a devoted Big Hurt collector, known on the Collector’s Universe message boards as BunchOBull, started putting the pieces together, in turn summoning others interested in tying up the loose ends of this fascinating card’s production history. One of the most-impressive examples of a collecting community coming together to figure out the origin of an ambiguous issue with little-to-no previous factual information publicly available, this is a must-read for the error collector:

“1990 Topps Frank Thomas NNOF revisited…introduction to my theory”

Originally posted on the Collectors Universe Forums by BunchOBull  (followed by numerous contributors).