Tuesday, February 1, 2011


2011 Topps fever is breaking out all over the blogs. I'm being a total baby about it and not reading any of those posts until I can get my hands on some of my own. This is something I have tried to stick to the last couple of years without much success, but I'm hoping to sneak away to one of the retailers later this week as I still have to pick up a blaster for Stats on the Back.

Let's travel back in time, shall we? 20 years ago, we actually had other officially licensed manufacturers of baseball cards, such as Upper Deck. We also had a whole mess of cards and countless numbers of errors. I've always been rather fascinated by error cards even if I've never considered myself a connoisseur. I actually pulled the famous Billy Ripken card back when it was brand new and turned around and sold it immediately to a rather greasy man for $20. (I kind of wish I had that card now, but I'm sure I enjoyed $20 a whole lot more as a 13 year old than I do as a 35 year old.)

With all of the great blogs out there, I always imagined I'd come across one that was a comprehensive catalog of error cards (or at least errors that were eventually corrected.) It took me quite awhile to find such a thing, even though there still seems to be a market for mistakes (thank you, eBay.) Junk Wax Gems has done a pretty noble job and has led to many interesting discoveries on my part, even though I do wish there was some sort of central knowledge base about error cards. Starting some sort of Wiki-based project would be kind of awesome.

The most interesting recent discovery of mine is that many, if not all of the 1991 Upper Deck baseball set (including high numbers) seemed to have been printed with alternate holograms on the back. Some of the cards feature the 1990 baseball hologram, perhaps because they were either printed extremely early in the process or for unknown "other reasons". (Can you "run out" of a hologram?) I tried my best to scan these so the images would be evident, but as you can imagine, it's really hard to pull off. Junk Wax Gems has a lot more info about this if you're curious.

The Melido Perez and Alex Fernandez cards here are examples of the 1990 baseball hologram. Even more strange, however, is that some of the holograms that turn up are from the 1990-91 NHL set (these have hockey sticks in the pattern), the 1990-91 NBA set and even supposedly some holograms creeped in from the Comic Ball set that came out around the same time. There are also some examples of cards (particularly the high numbers) that have the 1992 hologram design on them, but I don't have any to my knowledge.

Here's a "correct" Rickey Henderson back, posted for posterity. As always, you can click on any image to get a bit of a closer view. I came across a handful of these when pulling cards out of the coffers for someone, so if anyone is interested in stuff like this, please let me know. I am keeping the Cardinals variations and I set aside the White Sox ones in case a certain White Sox collector is interested, but anything else I might have is up for grabs. I don't know that these would have much value since they probably fall more in line with the less desirable "printing error" version of an error card, but I'm still oddly intrigued by these. If anything, it beats the mangled corners and slight miscuts that Topps is still plagued with.

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