These are printing mistakes, NOT 2016 Topps Heritage variations


2016 Topps Heritage Printing Error Header

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

With a list of more than 75 variations, it’s easy to call everything into question in 2016 Topps Heritage Baseball. And while that dot in Mike Zunino’s facsimile signature might be the difference between a tough sell at $0.50 and an easy $50, not every variation is intentional.

Some are just printing mistakes.

As in, they’re botched and you probably won’t want to pay more than a buck or two for some novelty value.

Whenever you print a lot of something, weirdness is going to ensue. Take this Ned Yost, for instance.

2016 Topps Heritage Printing Glitch

While it’s not the only one to surface like this, there is no official “Spilled Coffee” parallel.

And then there’s this miscut card.

2016 Topps Heritage Miscut

Even if vintage cards are notorious for being off-center, they’re not generally this off-center to the point where it should be considered something intentional.

And if you find an oil blotch on the back of your card? It’s just an oil blotch, not a parallel.

What makes it tough is that there are so many variations and parallels where it’s easy to think that these might be done on purpose. Gum Stain Damage is an official parallel with the brand now. And that wasn’t announced until people started uncovering them last year. Ink Blotch and Mis-Cut Damage parallels might not be a stretch for some.

Except they’re not parallels.

They are printing errors and nothing more.  If it’s worth it to you or you’re working on a set, you might want to consider writing a letter to Topps and sending them in for replacements. They’re not much different than if you’ve opened a pack of cards and found the foil name missing from the front or crimping along the bottom from where the pack was sealed. Mistakes happen and, to most, these are damaged goods.

And yet some of the mistake cards are fetching fairly hefty bids far beyond what you might expect.

By all means, if you like these quirky printing errors, snatch them up at whatever price you’re comfortable paying. That said, if you are buying them thinking they’re intentional “errors” in the variation sense, don’t. They’re not and your master set will survive without them.

Comments? Questions? Contact Ryan Cracknell on Twitter @tradercracks.


Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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  1. Richard 8 March, 2016 at 14:45

    The irony of this is that most of the original variations were simply printing errors. Things like the Frank Thomas NNOF RC or the Pinnacle Mirror Blacks were created completely by accident.

  2. Jay 8 March, 2016 at 19:18

    The fact that collectors cannot tell the difference between the intentional product, and the mistakes speaks VOLUMES about Topps……

  3. Brian 17 March, 2016 at 14:08

    Jay nailed it and since getting back into collecting, it is becoming a wee bit exhausting trying to figure out all of the Topps Heritage discrepancies and variations almost to the point that it isn’t worth collecting this particular brand. I want to keep what I collect and sell off what I don’t but finding an average value of these cards is like making a dart board with prices and closing your eyes and throwing…the numbered Kris Bryant All Star Rookie Mini I pulled keeps me coming back but for the most part it’s blah!

  4. Jimmy Geyer 26 March, 2016 at 16:45

    I agree takes so much time trying to find prices, or whats not base junk has me with piles laying around because a scrub can be worth something. Not to mention Becketts multi sport books blow goat and leave out so much, along with individual separate guides, whats the point listing anything. I understand the over production of late 80sto to early 90s cards and why value sucks for even Griffey which is sickning when a scrub variation is worth more, but in general, way to many types of silly crap to try and keep, sort, price…it is completely draining and makes it no fun besides opening packs like a kid. Agree

  5. Jimmy Geyer 26 March, 2016 at 16:50

    Love ya Beckett, dont get me wrong, and understand guides would be the size of encyclopedias each month, so I blame card makers in general. But it would be nice to have a little more detail, and less grinding confusion looking up cards to be honest. Took me 2 hours to look up 10 cards one time, and didnt even find them all. Frustraiting and I love sports and collecting all that is involved not just cards

  6. Chris 3 May, 2016 at 16:11

    Another case in point: 2016 Museum Collection. Four printing errors have gotten out (four SINGLE cards, and I own three of them). Sometimes Topps catches these mistakes early; my experience seems to bear this out because there aren’t any more showing up. Two are listed on eBay under stellarbowler, in case you’re interested in a story. I’m betting this is a very rare error.

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