Tag Archives: Dick Gilkeson

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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Essential reading for the error & variation collector.

12 Dec

I often get asked if I have a list of all the variations that I know of and the answer is “no, but yes.”

Actually I have everything I know about variations tucked away in my head. It takes up a ton of space that could be used for more important things but what are you going to do, right?

But there are some really great sources out there for the collector who’s interested in starting an E&V collection. Below is a list of my favorite sources of info that aren’t based on my own personal discoveries and research:

-1990-1992 SCD Basketball, Football and Hockey Magazines: These ran from late ’90 through early ’92 and every issue has a comprehensive list of the 1990-1991 variations for those three sports. Plus they have a huge letters section where people sick with the error bug would write in all of their potential findings. Many of these are great variations that never received credit in the big guides.

-Dick Gilkeson’s Error and Variation guides ca.1990-1991: Considered by many to be the bible of errors and variations, this incredibly resourceful (but very outdated and limited – goes through 1991 only) self-published guide lists some of the most interesting variations up to that point. They are really difficult to find nowadays so the best bet is to find someone you know who’ll copy it for you. Gilkeson is truly an E&V hero!

-Pro Set NFL book ca. 1991: Shows a picture of ever Pro Set card issued between 1988 and early 1991. Explanations of various errors and the only image of 1989 Pro Set James Jefferson that shows a “scouting photo” tagline on front. A great way to begin your Pro Set football master set. This book also includes the exclusive “Cinderella Story” inserts set so when purchasing them, make sure that you get ask if the cards are still intact.

-1980’s and early 90’s Baseball Card Magazine and Baseball Card Collector Magazines: Like I mentioned above about SCD mags, the letters dept in these old junk store issues often provide invaluable information for unlisted error cards.

-Donovan Ryan’s Error & Variation Guide: Straight from the 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken master himself, Donovan compilled the best E&V guide since Gilkeson’s and has made it very easy to purchase (unlike Gilkeson’s these days). Pullings from a seemingly endless source of wantlists, master set lists and misc. guides, Donovan’s guide is full of information that any newbie E&V collector must check out.

-Beckett and SCD Annual Price Guides: Specifically the blurbs or set summaries under the set headings. This is where the editors mention stuff that they are unsure of listing in the price guide itself. There’s all sorts of usefull information in there as well as in the guides themselves.

-eBay: Arguably the best source of new info out there (until this blog takes off, of course 🙂 ), checking out completed items searches under various key words such as “error” “variation” etc, gives you a wide range of stuff to check out. I personally, have learned a lot from other sellers and their sharp eyed discoveries that they’ve offered for sale.

There you have it. The training wheels can come off now. You are ready to go. Enjoy the hunt!