Monday, March 11, 2013

My Attraction to Faulty & Diverse Cardboard

Errors and variations on cardboard have fascinated me since I started collecting back in the early 80's and I'm pretty sure it boils down to two things:  the 1981 Fleer baseball card set and the 1979 Topps Bump Wills.

1981 Fleer
wasn't just Fleer's reentrance into the baseball card market after a long break.  It was also the first baseball set I ever owned.  One way or another I eventually discovered that my set was loaded with error cards and variations.  And of course, this information only served to stir up my curiosity and further my interest in collecting cards.

The
1981 Fleer Steve Carltons are the perfect example.  He has two cards in the set:  #6 and #660.

There are three different versions of card #6:


#6A Golden Arm w/1066 (instead of 1966)

#6B Pitcher of the Year w/1066 (instead of 1966)


#6C Pitcher of the Year w/1966 Correction


And two different versions of card #660:

#660A Golden Arm w/1066 (instead of 1966)

#660B Golden Arm w/1966 Correction

Two cards... multiple variations.  Pretty awesome, right?  Fleer must have done this on purpose, because I remember going through my set several times checking to see which cards I had.  

Just around that same time period, I was introduced to the 1979 Topps #368 Bump Wills:



Down the street from my house, there was a store that sold all kinds of sports memorabilia, including cards.  One day, I overheard a guy talking about the two different Wills cards and how he was one of the most expensive cards in the set.

I immediately ran home and found the Blue Jays version in a box of cards my neighbor had given me.  It was just another moment in my childhood where a piece of cardboard brought happiness and excitement into my life.

Through the years, the card was either lost, sold, or given away.  But it was never forgotten.  It took me three decades, but I finally picked up both copies off of COMC for a total of 73¢.

The seven cards featured in this post have a total book value of $11.50.  Unfortunately all of them are in less than mint condition, which means they're closer to being worthless.

Nevertheless, these seven cards are a huge part of my personal hobby history and won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

14 comments:

  1. I absolutely LOVE error cards. I never knew about that "1066" error on those Carltons, though. I just checked my copies of those two, and both are apparently of the error variety.

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    1. I think the corrected version is harder to find because it was in the last print run... although it's far from scarce.

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  2. I like errors where the mistake is visual and easy to spot, like the Bump Willis blue Jays card.

    I have a Fernando Valenzuela card where the error is in one of his stats. I just can't get excited about that.

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    1. I agree... the more obvious, the better. It's also important that they made a corrected version. An uncorrected error card does little for me.

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  3. Fleer definitely did that on purpose. They probably just picked a star player from the set and created a bunch of versions to get the hobby talking. Pretty smart marketing move.

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    1. It wouldn't surprise me if it was intentional... although there were a ton of errors in that set. Even Bill Travers and Don Hood had errors and corrected versions in that set.

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  4. Error cards are fun. It happens in minor league sets a lot. I have a great Tino card with the name Edgar Martinez on it.

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    1. That's sweet. Two great ball players.

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  5. #6 with a mustache was in the VERY FIRST pack of cards I ever opened back in 1981. I had no idea what an error card was so I don't know if it was the error or not.

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  6. Nothing beats the Billy Ripken Error Card and it's many variations.

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    1. No joke... definitely an all-time classic. I considered chasing them down... but they still command big $$$.

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  7. The Ripken error was the beginning of the end of my collecting days. That one was definitely on purpose. Even if we believe that they "missed" that, did they really need to fix it 5 different ways?? Ugh. Just a way to make kids keep buying packs. But I digress.....

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    1. Unfortunately... I was one of those kids. I remember the card shop I worked at had the boxes labeled, so you (supposedly) knew what type of Billy you'd pull (assuming you pulled one). I have no clue how they knew though.

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