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Beckett 20 questions on … errors & variations

Ripken

RELATED: What’s your favorite error or variation card? Tell us here … 

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s no secret which sports card most people think of when one says “error card” — it’s the 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken.

However, there are many errors and variations found on cardboard for all sports through the years beyond those caused by a moment of bad judgment and a renegade marker — enough that we figured we’d try and take a look at the subject in the next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly.

These days where the print runs are much shorter, most variations are made on purpose as intentional nods to the past such as those found in the Topps Heritage baseball set arriving this week. Others these days are made to add a chase or some added challenges to building a set, while a smaller few are mistakes that get fixed for whatever reason. It seems that baseball sets have had the most corrections by far through the years, but the gremlins have struck in all sports and even some non-sports releases.

Then, of course, there are the Honus Wagners (T206) and Alex Gordons (2006 Topps) of the world — cards that were made and then removed, sparking interest in those cards that should not be. For this issue, we’re curious about your feelings about some of these approaches and which types of errors made in the past are the most appealing as a collector. Here are our latest 20 Questions — and the results will appear in the upcoming issue.

1. Do you think the 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken card is the most-famous error card in hobby history?

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2. Do you actively hunt errors and/or variations as a collector?

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See the rest of the questions about errors and variations … after the jump.

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3. Which statement sums up your feelings best on today's intentional variations?

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SandbergERR

4. Do you feel card companies intentionally made errors to fix in the past, particularly from 1987-1992?

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WaxBox1989F

5. Have the hopes of finding a rare error or correction card caused you to buy more wax packs or boxes?

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Mantle1969

6. Which type of card do you think is typically more expensive?

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Leirer1988both

7. Who was the Yankee who mistakenly appeared on the first version of Al Leiter's 1988 Topps RC?

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ReggieWhite

8. Is this the autograph of Hall of Famer Reggie White?

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9. Do you recall the error made on this card?

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GrantERR

10. What is the error on this 1960 Leaf card?

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1982blackless

11. Many cards in the 1982 Topps baseball set had a problem -- what was it?

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2007ToppsJeterB

12. True or false: The 2007 Topps Derek Jeter "correction" card (no Mantle or Bush) actually exists.

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Borque

13. The 1990-91 Pro Set hockey set was filled with errors and variations. What's the mistake here?

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HowardERR

14. Even old-timers' sets had errors and variations in the 1980s. What's this 1988 Pacific Legends card's problem?

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NoFoil

15. Do you consider printing defects such as ink blotches or missing foil to be legitimate variations?

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Tunnell

16. Is this 1954 Bowman card an error or a correction?

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WelchERR

17. What is the error on this 1989 Topps Bob Welch card?

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18. What type of mistake do you find most interesting if it is corrected?

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1990ProSetMarion

19. Which 1980s or 1990s sets do you feel are the most fun for error/variation hunters? (pick your top three)

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20. If press runs were longer these days, should card companies correct more of their errors?

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

5 Comments

Patrick Flores

In your next issue on error and variances, could you explain little history behind those cards such as why/how it happened and estimated print runs numbers?

Posted March 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
JonathanI

With friends in the printing industry, I’ve discussed this topic and was told there’s absolutely no reason a card should be anything but perfectly centered and only a complete moron would let a color- or text-related error get through, as all stats are in a digital database not even created by the companies (or company, concerning baseball) making the cards. Why would these errors occur unless people wanted us to keep buying cards searching for one with perfect printing or perfect centering? Everything in the printing industry looks the same after many thousands of copies 99.99% of the time, except when it comes to sports cards. If you could buy a $1 rack pack and get a perfectly colorized and centered card every time (which has been possible since the 1800s if you check your history books), we would not be buying box after box and case after case. Doubt me? Check out when a 1/1 with horrible centering (think Strasburg a few years back that was sold-and-resold so much it brought some life back to our hobby) gets a great grade. Why? It’s the only one there, and it’s supposed to be perfect, but something went wrong at the factory in the planning. There’s nothing special about errors now. They are so easily prevented, they are obviously intentional.

Posted March 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
rick

Nice article, thanks.

Long live 89 Upper Deck and Fleer!

Posted March 13, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink
Jason K

I agree with Patrick, approximate print runs would be a great addition to the article!

Posted March 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink
Billy

Where do I report an error, I have a 2009 mini piedmont of Jordan zimmerman with 80 percent of the back is blank.

Posted March 15, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

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