Variations on a card

5 04 2011

I’m not sure why some sets have variations that you can justify yourself into chasing and others don’t.  Like that 2008 Santana no-hitter card.  For some reason I feel I need that card.  That need does not translate to the 2010 Topps Strasburg card.  Perhaps it was that 2008 was my first year of  Toppsfoolery, and I’m now immune.  Perhaps it’s the amount of cards that I needed when I decided what to chase from the set.  I can’t explain why one #661 card is better than the other, but for some reason, it is.

It’s the same challenge for me and sets from the early 80’s.  My 1982 Fleer set doesn’t need an “All” Hrabosky,  yet I’m happy to chase down the 50+ variations from the 1981 Fleer release.  1981 Donruss?  It feels complete, even without all the mistakes that they made with that one.  But 1983 Donruss?  Well, I need those nine error cards.

Luckily, I had those cards listed on my wants page when my brother went searching for birthday presents for me.  As an early gift, five of those nine cards arrived in the mail.

Or their corrected counterparts.  This is one case where I actually had the error version, where Mr. Smith’s first name is spelled “Byrn.”

Smith was signed as a free agent by the newly formed Colorado baseball club back in 1992 and if you look at the list of wins for that franchise, you will see Bryn right on top.  Not for the most or even alphabetically by first name.  He was the pitcher of record for their first win ever.  Hopefully they spelled his name right.

Here’s an actual error version of a card.  Fans of 1983 Donruss will notice the bright yellow box is missing around the bio on the bottom.  I should have posted the regular back for reference, but I’ve already got them all sorted and put away, so you’ll have to imagine it instead.

One thing that I liked about Donruss was that you knew what you were getting when it came to the backs.  They had a nice design and they stuck with it (for the most part) until 1992 when they resembled a rejected Topps Big design.

Here’s another corrected version of an error card, although you probably wouldn’t realize the difference without seeing both cards.  Sutton was traded from the Astros to the Brewers in 1982, and the Astros cards featured an orange border.  So the variation here is that Sutton also has a blue bordered version.  Go figure.

By the way, I think Don has a voice to broadcast baseball to go along with his arm to throw one.

This one’s a little more obvious.

I thought perhaps Perez had some tangential association with the Twins back then, but darned if I can find one, so I’m not sure why this variation occurred either.  Perhaps the card was initially tabbed for a player from the Twins, but then Donruss could not resist the gold toothed smile of Pascual.  Or perhaps they recalled that one year prior Topps issued a Pascual Perez card that was missing the position which had some actual value and drove some interest in the set.  This variation?  No interest at all that I recall.

And finally, a boring old checklist with a big blank yellow oval on the bottom.  The corrected version has the words “check list” inside.

This would be the second year in a row that Donruss screwed up its Diamond Kings checklist card.  In 1982 they decided that Alan Trammell should change his name to “Trammel.”  That never caught on, but I remember the error carried a premium at the time.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have that ’82 checklist, or the actual “Trammel” card that went with it.  For now,the hole in that set comes from one Dave Geisel.  When he arrives, if it still doesn’t feel complete, then I’ll know there some reverse negative and a Trammel or two in my future hunt.

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3 responses

5 04 2011
sanjosefuji

This is a great post… I’m presently building the 1981 Fleer set and considered going after all of the errors/variations. But I couldn’t find a list or explanations of the different cards. Is there a good website where I can find a description of each of the errors? Or even a list?

Best of luck on your mission to complete the 1983 Donruss set.

6 04 2011
handcollated

There is a list of variations from 1981 Fleer here. Only the “Craig” Nettles card carries anything close to a premium, but it shouldn’t be too expensive to track down.

I, too, have been passively trying to collect them all, but am in no hurry to do so. Good luck in your hunt.

6 04 2011
sanjosefuji

thanks for the information… i’m headed over there right now!

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