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Understanding Definition and Value of "Error Cards"

Hello. I am new to this world of collecting sports cards. I have recently acquired a couple hundred thousand cards (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB) and have been going through them and have found several "errors" which I have researched but have not found any matches as yet.
My question to the forum is two-fold if anyone has a few minutes to field: What defines and "error" card and how is value applied to the card. My inclination is to toss the card because it is an error, but I have found many error cards on the market with many being valuable.
A few examples:

  • 1983 Topps Baseball card with the picture/name of one player on the front and a totally different player's stats and card # on the back.
  • 1990 ProSet Hockey card missing the card # on the back.
  • 1990 Score Hocket card with a different colored Score Logo on the front of the card where every other card of the same #/player is different. (Did this set have "parallel" cards?)
  • 1982 Topps baseball card with the player's autograph missing on the front of the card when the entire set is supposed to have autos.
  • Punctuation or mis-spellings on numerous cards.
  • Thank you in advance to anyone who has insight to the above.
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Comments

  • dontippetdontippet Posts: 2,580 ✭✭✭✭

    Please add some pics so we can give our opinions. Also, please make sure to be looking at ebay sale prices. There are many "error" cards listed for super high prices, but that doesn't mean they sell for that.

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  • Nathaniel1960Nathaniel1960 Posts: 2,306 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lots of members here would be interested in your 1982 Topps Blackless.

    Kiss me once, shame on you.
    Kiss me twice.....let's party.
  • junkwaxgemsjunkwaxgems Posts: 224 ✭✭✭
    edited September 29, 2023 10:27AM

    @scooterb2015 said:
    Hello. I am new to this world of collecting sports cards. I have recently acquired a couple hundred thousand cards (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB) and have been going through them and have found several "errors" which I have researched but have not found any matches as yet.
    My question to the forum is two-fold if anyone has a few minutes to field: What defines and "error" card and how is value applied to the card. My inclination is to toss the card because it is an error, but I have found many error cards on the market with many being valuable.
    A few examples:

    • 1983 Topps Baseball card with the picture/name of one player on the front and a totally different player's stats and card # on the back.

    These are called wrong backs and are usually defined as printing flaws/misprints.

    • 1990 ProSet Hockey card missing the card # on the back.

    Are you referring to Len Ceglarski Trophy card?

    • 1990 Score Hocket card with a different colored Score Logo on the front of the card where every other card of the same #/player is different. (Did this set have "parallel" cards?)

    Red Score logo is the canadian set

    • 1982 Topps baseball card with the player's autograph missing on the front of the card when the entire set is supposed to have autos.

    Not every card is supposed to have signatures: all-stars, in action, rookies and record breaker cards don't. Any base players without signatures are typically misprints known as "blackless" though a few players exist with their black print and no signature on front

    • Punctuation or mis-spellings on numerous cards.

    only if a corrected version exist does it become a variation, otherwise, an UER

    • Thank you in advance to anyone who has insight to the above.
    fka jacksoncoupage, comc.com: junkwaxgems, ebay: junkwaxgems
  • Hello All. Thanks for the feedback. My replies follow:
    dontippet images attached
    Nathaniel: the card is 1982 Topps Bucky Dent #550. I was not aware it was called "blackless". (Front/back images)


    JunkWax
    -do printing flaws/misprint card have value?!

    • the card I was referring to has Ivan Dejesus (Phillies) on the front and Charlie Leibrandt #607 on the back. The front picture is blurry and looks like a 3D image without 3D glasses on. (Front/back images)

      • yes i am referring to the Len Ceglarski card. is this normal? i actually have 2 of them without and 5 with card #385
    • please define "UER"

    Thanks again.

  • RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 747 ✭✭✭✭

    @scooterb2015 said:

    • please define "UER"

    Uncorrected error.

  • Error cards are a lot more common than most people think. An error can be anything from a wrong number in the statistics category, to a misspelled name, to a wrong picture being used for the player's name that is on the card. Usually there are two factors that really decide how much an error card is worth:

    1. Is it a desirable card?

    If it's a player who didn't put up good numbers in their career, it's probably not going to be very desirable. If it's a first ballot HOF player, it's much more likely that it will be worth some money.

    1. How big is the error? Minor errors, like a number being incorrect in the PPG stats on the back of a basketball card are highly unlikely to be of any value. However, a bigger error isn't a guarantee that the value of the card will be hugely increased. For example, Don Landrum's 1963 Topps card has Ron Santo's picture, and it still doesn't go for big money, even though a wrong picture would be considered a pretty major error.

    I guess a good example of an error card greatly increasing the value would be the Frank Thomas 1990 Topps rookie card with the name missing on the front. It hits all of the targets:

    1. It's a first ballot HOF player
    2. It's a rookie card
    3. It's a very noticeable error

    This has been my personal experience with error cards and their value.

  • bswhitenbswhiten Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    Scooter,
    The image you show of 1982 Dent is not Blackless. See pic below. No Black Ink.

  • ReggieClevelandReggieCleveland Posts: 3,854 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The difference between a "variation" and a "printing defect" really boils down to how interesting the story is and how desirable the the card is to collectors. If there's a fascinating story and a popular player (1990 Thomas NNOF) then it becomes a variation. If there's no known "story" and it's someone like Rick Wrona, it's a print defect, no matter how recurring it might be.

    It makes it much more of an art than a science. About 99% of the time people inquire about "errors" they're actually talking about one-off print defects. Those, outside of extremely rare circumstances, never carry a premium.

    So what are some things that make a variation a variation? First, it has to be recurring enough that people notice and available from multiple different sources. Pulling something odd is fun but if it isn't found anywhere else it's just a unique mistake. When I work on the 1990 Donruss set I put everything interesting to the side and don't give it much creedence unless I pull it again from a separate source of unopened from a separate seller.

    Arthur

  • West22West22 Posts: 224 ✭✭✭
    edited September 30, 2023 10:06AM

    The difference for me lies in the distinction between “print defect” and “error” / “variation. A print defect will usually occur late in the printing process during the inking to cardstock phase and may only have one or two examples existing. A true “error” or variation worthy of PSA recognition, will be recurring enough to have multiple examples which usually means it resulted from a distinct printing plate.

    I also agree with Arthur that in order for a TPG to recognize it, the error would have to be stark, be attached to a major star or RC, or have a good enough back story that it gets hobby recognition. If there is no market for it there really isn’t much point spending a lot of time on it, except for chit chat amongst us weirdos on blogs and forums like this :)

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