Friday, October 28, 2022

The Junk Resurfaces

From @marcbrubaker comes a pile of junk wax era needs. 
One of the more interesting developments to come from people like me reexamining their collections from their youth is that a lot of junk wax oddities have surfaced. A ton of these old sets had variations that spanned the entire set, in addition to the error cards that got most of the attention at the time. Many sets of the era that was created by Topps and Donruss had multiple versions of cards with small details changed (an asterisk here, two asterisks there, maybe a "C" where there is sometimes a "D"), and some sets even have three or four different "parallels" to collect. Of course, this probably appeals more to team collector's than a set builder. (Can anyone picture the maniac who puts together three distinctly different versions of a 1988 Donruss set, or four different 1989 Donruss sets?)

Not long after fishing through my stuff and figuring out what versions of which old thing I need, Marc Brubaker sent over a bunch of junk wax needs. I'm not going to bore you all with the weird copyright variations where some cards contain a single extra period that other cards don't, but I'll show off a few of the Donruss factory set border variants that Marc sent as they make more colorful examples.

Here is a Pedro Guerrero '91 Diamond Kings card, courtesy of Marc, pulled from a factory set.

Here's a copy of a pack-pulled card from my collection. Can you spot the differences? At one pont in time, it was probably safe to assume that the border pattern on any given junk wax era Donruss card was a bit random, but there really only exists two distinct versions of this pattern, a pack pulled design and a factory set version.

Here's Vince Coleman's factory set card from 1991 Donruss in Series 2 green.

This is what the pack version looks like.

So what of the Willie McGee card from the top of this post? Well, I'm glad you asked. (Okay, you probably didn't, but...)

The card Marc sent (top of the post) was from a factory set, while this one was from my collection and is from a pack. The differences in the '90 borders are harder to spot as it just kind of looks like random splatter, but there are once again two distinct versions of this pattern. Another difference that only really makes sense after you've been thumbing through piles of cards is that the factory set cards actually feel a bit different, perhaps because they've all been crammed into a cardboard box and smashed together only to sit on a shelf for an indeterminate amount of time, or possibly because they were made of slightly cheaper material? This is a difference that's a bit harder to explain, especially when most people are using TCDB and COMC and looking for visual differences.

That's enough with the junk for now. Marc did send over a couple of other, newer things.

I'm not officially a Ducks baseball collector, but if I find one in an Oregon uniform (like Zavala here), I will add it to my binder.

There were also a few additions to my 2022 Cardinals collection, including this card of maybe-MVP Paul Goldschmidt. It'll be a lively discussion once the awards start being handed out after the World Series is over as it always is.


  1. Splatter pattern on 1990 Donruss differences give me a headache

  2. I finally went back and dug out the 1991 Donruss border variations for the Dodgers. That's where I stopped and not doing no more.

  3. It's hard to believe that it took me over twenty years to learn about the 1991 Donruss pack and factory set border variations. These days... it seems like I learn about a new Junk Wax Era variation each month. I'm pretty split on whether or not I think they're silly.

  4. I wonder how many people would actually know about all of those variations if there wasn't a TCDB.

  5. First I've heard of the border variations, thanks for sharing! This I can follow as opposed to the addition of a period in the legalese.


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