Goofs, Gaffs, & Errers Page!
1948 Leaf #102 Gene Hermanki Error
1948 Leaf #102 Gene Hermanki (Correct version)
On this page we will present some classic error cards. Error cards are commonly misunderstood in the hobby. Most think that just because they found an error in a player's
name, or if a card shows part of another card (miscut), that the card has got to be worth some money. Well, in most cases, this is not the case. Most printing errors were not
corrected so the cards are just as common, as say, another common card. However when you have a card that is an error card, and it was later corrected and printed in much
greater quantities, then you have something. Because a scarce card is usually a valuable card. Many collector's also will collect errors or variations to complete their sets.
Variations are not really errors, but usually there will be some noticeable difference between two cards. For instance, some 1962 Topps baseball cards were printed with a
"green tint" to them compared to the regular cards. In both 1959 and 1966, Topps printed cards with or without "trade references" on the reverse. These are examples of
variations. Collecting error cards is a fun and can be challenging if you are after the rare ones. From the early Tobacco card to modern present day cards, thousands of errors
exist. Not all are rare or expensive but they sure are interesting! Enjoy!
1957 Topps #20 Hank Aaron UER 1959 Topps #440 Lew Burdette
Can you spot the errors on these two baseball picture cards? The 1957 Topps #20 Hank Aaron card (left) and the 1959 Topps #440 Lew Burdette cards are both
examples of "uncorrected" error cards. Uncorrected error cards are error cards that were never corrected. A lot of people out there think that error cards are always
"worth" more but this is not always the case. Error cards go all the way back to the beginning. As long as they were printed there will always be some sort of typographical
or other printing error. Most are corrected before they go to press, sometimes not. The above two cards were never corrected. Hank Aaron was always a right handed
hitter but his 1957 Topps card shows him batting "lefty." Why? Check out Hank's uniform number, "44." It is backwards. The negative was reversed and never corrected.
All of Hank's 1957 Topps #20 cards are identical to this one. Which means there is no scarcity at all (except in high grades). However being that Hank Aaron is a bona fide
Hall of Famer and All-Time Home Run King, this is a fairly expensive card to begin with (about $200 in ungraded NM condition). If the error had been corrected, these
cards would probably be worth more; or less depending on which version was printed in lesser quantities. "Hammerin' Hanks'" teammate Lew Burdette also appeared on a
classic uncorrected error card in the 1959 Topps baseball set (above right). Burdette was actually a right handed pitcher but he posed as a left hander for the Topps
photographer. The error was not caught and never corrected. Actually this card has two errors on it; Burdette posing as a "lefty" and Topps also misspelled Lew's first
name ("Lou"). However it is not as expensive as you might think; you can pick up this card for about the price of a "common" 1959 Topps card, even though Burdette was a
star pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves.
|1969 Topps #693 Aurelio Rodriguez UER
Another classic uncorrected error: 1969 Topps #653 Aurelio Rodriguez. In 1969, the Topps photographer went looking for Angel's rookie third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez.
But instead of taking Rodriguez's photo, he instead mistakenly took the picture of Angels bat boy Leonard Garcia. I don't know if it was intentional or who was just an
accident but this was a pretty big goof. And so how about this, here is this bat boy, living every kid's fantasy and here he is immortalized on a baseball card. As Mel Allen
would say..."How about that!" "Who goofed? I've got to know!"
Technically, while this would be considered Aurelio Rodriguez's rookie card, his first appearance on a baseball card would later appear in the 1970 Topps set.
|1962 Post Canadian #9a Whitey Ford ERROR
This 1962 Post Canadian #9a Whitey Ford is an example of an ERROR card that was later
corrected. See if you can spot the error in this one. It's pretty easy. Look at the team name.
"Los Angeles Dodgers"? Are you kidding me? Whoever screwed up this one screwed up big time.
But is sure makes for a terrific baseball card. Post corrected the error, but probably late in the
press runs as the corrected "New York Yankees" version is actually worth more than the error
card! Personally, I don't care how much the card is worth. If it is an interesting error, especially
of a Hall of Famer, I like it! Terrific and undervalued card. I picked up one of these for $2
recently. Imagine if Sandy Koufax was ever pictured on a card that said "Yankees." That would
probably fetch some big bucks.
1969 Topps #500 Mickey Mantle (white letters) 1969 Topps #500 Mickey Mantle (yellow letters)
1969 Topps #500 Mickey Mantle (last name in white). While considered a variation, the Topps "white letter" cards are technically a printing error. You can really spot
the difference by comparing the two cards. The white letter variation on the left has a "duller" look to it, not to mention "Mantle" is white. It is missing something in the
color process. The corrected version exhibits bolder colors and now "Mantle" is corrected to yellow in color. So while this is a variation, it is also an error card because
Topps obviously corrected the error later in the print runs. There were several other "white letter" variations besides Mantle, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry are also
included and all of the white letter variations command a pretty good price hike compared to the corrected Topps cards. The Mantle, of course, is easily the most expensive.
The white letter Mantle lists at $1200 in ungraded NM, while the corrected Mantle card (last name in yellow) lists for $175 in NM. A very tough Mantle and probably one
of the most expensive error or variation cards in the hobby.
1974 Topps #250a Willie McCovey 1974 Topps #250b Willie McCovey
(Washington Nat'l Lea.") ERROR (San Diego Padres) Correct version
1974 Topps #250a Willie McCovey (Washington error). Willie McCovey ("Stretch") is featured on a couple of classic error cards. As mentioned above, he was included in
the scarce 1969 "white letter" variations (1969 Topps #440a Willie McCovey, last name in white) and he was also featured in this classic gaff by Topps Chewing Gum in 1974.
In 1974, it was rumored that the San Diego Padres were going to be moving to Washington. Topps assumed it was going to happen as they began printing Padres players with
"Washington" and "Nat'L Lea." instead of San Diego Padres. Big mistake. The Padres obviously didn't move but here were these cards that depicted with their "new" team.
Not terribly expensive, these "Washington" error cards are pretty affordable for most collectors. You can buy "common" Washington error cards for about $3 each in
ungraded NM condition. Maybe even less. The McCovey "Washington" error is the most expensive card at $17.50 in NM. Expect to pay more for graded examples.
Here are some examples of some miscut cards: 1970 Topps #189 Yankees Rookie Stars (Thurman Munson, Dave McDonald; above left) and 1970 Topps #350 Roberto Clemente (with part of Tony
Conigliaro's #340 card; center & right). This is a terrible cutting job by Topps. I saw these on eBay. The sellers described these cards as an "error cut" and "scarce to find variation." While the miscut is a
printing error, these cards are not considered error cards, but simply MISCUT. A miscut card will usually be missing an entire border or borders, and usually another part of a different card will be seen.
Which means it's value is significantly LESS than just about any other 1970 Topps #189 Thurman Munson rookie card or 1970 Topps #350 Roberto Clemente card that has a decent cut. In other words,
miscut and severely off-centered cards are not exactly on everyone's top ten list. As far as being "scarce," I guess you could say that a card miscut as badly as these would warrant a "scarce" label;
however they are NOT considered as a "variation."
That being said, there are some collectors who collect cards like this and other miscellaneous printing errors that are not listed in the baseball card catalogs (Catalogs like Sports Collector's Digest
Standard Catalog Of Baseball Cards will not list common printing errors (miscuts, wrong backs, etc.). I have a 1968 Topps #330 Roger Maris baseball card that is missing the black ink of the card front
(see our Roger Maris Page for a picture). It is very rare, however when I sent the scan to the editor of the SCD Catalog (Bob Lemke), he stated that while it was an interesting card, it would not warrant a
listing in the catalog. Which I found interesting because the catalog DOES list the 1982 Topps "Blackless" cards which were also missing black ink (borders, etc.) on the card fronts. However there are
numerous examples of these variations and that is why they are listed. If there were other known examples of the "blackless" Maris card than it just might get listed as a variation. But in the meantime I
have a very interesting (& rare) 1968 Topps #330 Roger Maris "blackless" card. I really don't care if it's worth $500 or $5. I am a big Maris fan and love to collect obscure Maris issues. So this is the
fun of collecting - collecting what interests YOU and not what cards are "worth." If you collect what you want and what you can afford, then you will have a fun time with your collection.
|1962 Topps #139 Babe Hits 60 (Babe Ruth; Correct) 1962 Topps #139 Hal Reniff (Error) 1962 Topps #159 Hal Reniff (Correct)
Here is a confusing one; in 1962 Topps produced a special "Babe Ruth Special" subset (card #'s 135-144). Topps also released several cards of players with two poses (see
below), as well as cards that featured a distinct "Green Tint" on Series 2 cards. Plus you have another variation of the Ruth card which shows a pole in the background to the
left of the Babe (not pictured). So left to right here is an example of a regular 1962 Topps #139 Babe Hits 60 card, also card #139 Hal Reniff (scarcer pitching pose with
Green tint variation), and on the far right you have the correct card of Hal Reniff (card #159). Whew. Now while you may think the Ruth card would be the most valuable of the
3, you would be wrong. The 1962 #139 Hal Reniff (pitching pose variation) lists for $40 in ungraded NM, the Ruth for $35, and the correct #159 Reniff for $4. You could also
attach a small premium to the #139 Reniff card as it is also a "Green tint" variation. To make it even more complicated there is also a Hal Reniff card like the above #159 card
but with a card #139 back ($15). I am exhausted just trying to explain this!
|1963 Topps #113 Don Landrum
ERROR (photo actually Ron Santo)
1956 Topps #31 Hank Aaron UER (inset photo actually Willie
The 1963 Topps #113 Don Landrum (above, left) is an error card in that it pictures instead Ron Santo. It is an uncorrected error and quite a bargain. The real 1963 Topps
#252 Ron Santo card lists for $12 in ungraded NM, while the #113 Don Landrum error card featuring Santo is only $4.
Another lesser known error card featuring the great Hank Aaron is this 1956 Topps #31 card (above right). While the large photo is indeed Hank Aaron, notice the build of
the runner sliding into home plate. Aaron was never muscle bound like Mickey Mantle, Ted Kluszewski, or Willie Mays. However the player sliding in the photo is in fact Willie
Mays. Topps chose to simply airbrush a Milwaukee uniform on the Giant's Say Hey Kid. This is another example of an uncorrected error and in fact, most publications don't
even acknowledge that this is an error card. But it is.
1966 Topps #447 Dick Ellsworth UER (photo
actually Ken Hubbs)
Cards depicting different players are not that uncommon. However this 1966 Topps #447 Dick Ellsworth card is a tremendous screw up by Topps Chewing Gum. The photo
depicts promising infielder Ken Hubbs, who was tragically killed in a plane crash 3 years prior. In fact Topps issued a special IN MEMORIUM card featuring Ken Hubbs in
their 1964 set (card #550). This is a tragedy relived by Topps in a classic error card.
|1963 Topps #300 Willie Mays ERROR (incorrect back) 1963 Topps #300 Willie Mays ERROR (incorrect Whitey Herzog back)
The above 1963 Topps #300 Willie Mays is an example of an incorrect back. Yes, it IS an error card. Most 1963 Topps Willie Mays cards will have a correct Willie Mays
back. Not this one, which features card #302 Whitey Herzog on the back. Incorrect backs are not rare; however they are very scarce and being that this is a desirable Hall
Of Famer, it would (& should) command some premium over a regular correct 1963 Topps Mays. Because these are not rare, price guides will not acknowledge them as true
error or variation cards. But they should. You have to figure that Topps had some sort of quality control and that is this one card is incorrect, the entire sheet (something
like 132 cards) has incorrect backs. So Topps (you think), would have tossed these incorrect sheets out. Yet, here is a terrific example of a real ERROR card, probably
pulled from a pack in 1963.
Here are a couple of interesting printing errors. The 1963 Topps Dick McAuliffe card (top left) is way out of register. Usually this happens at the very beginning of the
press run. You would think Topps would have destroyed the bad sheets, but somehow this card (and probably the other cards on the sheet) managed to survive.
The 1970 Topps Hank Allen card (above right) is a printing error which is missing the black ink on front. While I'm here I might as well mention centering. Check out the
uneven borders top to bottom. In the old days, centering was not as big a deal as it is today. But with the emergence of grading services, centering is now a major factor in
the grading of cards. For more on grading, check out our How To Grade Page. (Cards courtesy of the Thomas Reed collection)
1962 Post Cereal #124a Joey Jay (rare "Blue line" variation) 1962 Post Cereal #124 Joey Jay (common red lines)
While considered a "variation" card this 1962 Post Cereal #124 Joey Jay with "blue lines" in the stats area (top left) is actually an "error" card. Somehow Post goofed and
printed three National League cards (Joey Jay, Sandy Koufax, and Roberto Clemente) with blue lines in the statistics area. All of the National league cards featured red lines
and red border, while the American league players had blue borders and blue lines. Somewhere (probably early) in the printing process, some of the Jay, Koufax, and Clemente
cards were printed with blue lines, which was supposed to be for American league players. Post must have corrected the mistake early because most you find with the correct
red border and lines (see the regular 1962 Post #124 Joey Jay above right). All 3 cards with the blue lines are very difficult to acquire; for me the Joey Jay was the hardest
one. Everyone would of course, save a Koufax or Clemente card, but Joey Jay? Sure he won 21 games for the pennant winning Reds in 1961, but Jay was not and still is not
exactly a household name. Rodney Dangerfield comes to mind ("I can't get no respect..."). Not only is it tough just to find one of these, but try and find one that is cut nice is
another challenge. Check out the cut on the above card. While not terrible, it is cut short near the top left corner and along the left bottom edge. As such most reputable
grading services won't even assign a grade; they will simply issue an "Authentic" label and slab the card. Regardless, this is a very tough card and a must have if you are working
on a 1962 Post cereal set with variations.
1979 Topps #369 Bump Wills (Correct card and Error card)
Here is a fun error card, featuring Bump Wills (son of Maury Wills of Dodgers fame). The 1979 Topps #369 Bump Wills card on the left shows him correctly as a Texas
Ranger, while the card on the right shows his team as being the Toronto Blue Jays (error card). Both cards list for $2 each in the 2009 Sports Collector's Digest Standard
Catalog of Baseball Cards so these cards are not hard to get.
|1963 Topps #120 Roger Maris (courtesy of Thomas Reed)
|1963 Topps Dick McAuliffe 1970 Topps Hank Allen
1962 Topps #176 Eddie Yost (Portrait) 1962 Topps #176 Eddie Yost (Batting pose)
1962 Topps #190 Wally Moon (no cap) 1962 Topps #190 Wally Moon (with cap)
As mentioned earlier, in 1962 Topps produced their baseball cards with some distinct picture variations. I don't know if there has ever been an explanation by Topps as to why
they issued 2 different poses for one player, but it happened with several cards in the '62 set. Here are a couple of examples of these variations (above). The backs are exactly the
same, but the fronts feature two entirely different photos. In each case, one variation is usually tougher than the other to acquire. For instance on the above Eddie Yost cards, the
card with Yost batting is the scarcer card. Same is true with the Wally Moon cards; the card that shows Moon wearing his cap and holding the bat is the scarce card. On most
of these photo variations, the tougher card lists for around $20 in NM (raw ungraded) condition, while the more common card lists for around $4. To make it even more
complicated, the 2nd Series also included "Green tint" cards (see Yost card, top right) which are scarce as well.
| 1968 Topps #66 Casey Cox, #49 Ed Brinkman variations
In 1968, Topps created some interesting variations involving a handful of cards. These are similar to the 1969 Topps "White letter" variations (see above) but involve the team name
and not the player's last name. The card numbers involved are #49 Ed Brinkman, #66 Casey Cox, #400 Mike McCormick. The scarcer variation on these is the "Yellow Team
names." The Mike McCormick for some reason, is even more difficult than the other two cards; it lists for $450 in ungraded NM condition (compare to the $120 price for the Brinkman
and Cox team name in yellow variations). Either way, it makes for some expensive "common" cards if you are collecting a complete 1968 Topps cards with all variations. There are
also interesting variations involving the 1968 Topps Checklist cards, but the "yellow" team name variations of these three cards are the tough ones to get from this issue.
Another interesting note on the 1968 Topps cards. Topps also produced baseball, football, and hot rod cards for a Milton Bradley Board Game called "Win-A-Card." I remember this
as my dad brought the game home to us and I got my first baseball cards. The 1968 Topps Milton Bradley cards are nearly identical except the card backs. The Topps Milton Bradley
cards feature bright yellow card backs, while the regular Topps have a "dirty" mustard color. Some cards also show a "white" edge of another card along one of the borders. This does
not hinder the grades usually. The Topps Milton Bradley cards are quite scarce and though they did not include the entire set, they did include the first 76 cards, which included Hank
Aaron, Tom Seaver (2nd year card), and the 1968 Mets Rookie Stars #177 Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan rookie card. The 1968 Topps Milton Bradley set (76 cards) is not considered
so much a "variation" as much as a separate issue in it's own right. Many collector's are still unaware of the 1968 Topps Milton Bradley cards. In fact, the #49 Ed Brinkman (yellow
team name) pictured top right is most likely a Topps Milton Bradley card (note the bottom edge of the card which appears "white" probably from another card on the sheet). PSA missed
that one as well, and they are supposed to be tops in the "industry." I'm willing to bet that card has a bright yellow back. The 1968 Topps Milton Bradley cards have no variations
involving team name colors. Both the Brinkman and Cox cards have yellow team names but still list for about $50 each in ungraded NM condition. Not bad for a "common."
1909 T206 Sherry Magie Error 1910 T206 Eddie Plank
The T206 White Border cards are one of the most famous baseball card issues ever made. Even today, these small color portraits of ball players are extremely
popular and some can be quite expensive. Everyone knows about the T206 Honus Wagner and how the highest graded example (PSA 8 NM-MT) sold for over $3
Million dollars. Even in low grades a Wagner is highly desired and priced out of most collector's budget. But there are other pricey cards in the set as well. Here are
two early examples of a printing error and also a short printed card. The T206 Sherry Magie card was misspelled "Magee" on a very few cards. That plus the fact
that Magie was a early Hall of Famer makes for an expensive card, in ANY grade! The above example, graded SGC 10 POOR sold for $7875 in a May 2009 Auction.
Another Hall of Fame card is that of the Athletics' Eddie Plank. But for some reason (rumors abound about how a printing plate was ruined or destroyed, thereby
causing the scarcity) only a few specimens survive today. The above T206 Eddie Plank graded SGC 20 FAIR sold for $29,375 in the same May 2009 Auction. It's kind
of sickening that some people have that much money to pay thousands, or even MILLIONS for a baseball card. For $3 MILLION DOLLARS you could buy a nice
home somewhere and live the rest of your life in comfort. Or if you had $29,375, you could put a down payment on a nice house or buy a brand new car. Even with
$7875, you could pay off your bills, go on a trip of a lifetime, or get a boob job (I don't know how much those cost) or penis extension. Whatever, it is a lot of dough
and some people, notably bad actors, no-talent celebrities, politicians and elected officials, CEO's who rip off your pensions, or the guy who invented the "Chia Pet,"....
are the guys who can spend that kind of dough. For the rest of us, I am content to rip off the images online and post them here for our enjoyment. So, enjoy!
1974 Topps Rich Gossage (Wrong back error card) (Back view)
Here is another example of a "wrong back" error card. This 1974 Topps card features Hall of Fame reliever Rich "Goose" Gossage. However the back features card 474 1973 World Series Game 3. I get
a lot of questions about error cards, especially pricing. Well to answer those type of questions there is NO set price guide for uncommon error cards. While most acknowledged "error" cards are included in price
guides (for example the 1957 Topps #20 Hank Aaron, 1969 Topps Aurelio Rodriguez, 1974 Topps Washington error cards, etc.), the undocumented error cards, such as this wrong back (and the 1963 Topps
Willie Mays wrong back also pictured on this page) have no set price. The price is whatever someone is willing to pay for them. In the case of common cards, there may be a premium but not a significant one.
However with a Hall of Fame caliber player, like a Goose Gossage or a Willie Mays, there WILL most likely be some sort of premium involved. The above 1974 Topps Gossage wrong back error sold for $50,
which is a good $40 or more than what a regular '75 Gossage card in the same graded would sell for. However if we were talking about a common player, there may be premium or there may not be. Also note
that this card is not a miscut card. Miscut cards, which are fairly common usually show a part of another card. There is usually no demand for miscut cards and again, no set pricing (or price guides) for such
cards. Your best bet if wanting to sell miscut or wrong back cards is to list them where they will get a lot more exposure (eBay, for instance). Judging for the price of the above card, I would think that sending
vintage Hall of Fame wrong back cards to SGC would be a wise thing to do. I am not sure if PSA grades these types of cards but I will find out.
In summary, if you want to know how much your (undocumented) error card is "worth" I do not know!!! Either keep it and enjoy it or put it on eBay and see what someone will give you for it! Good luck!
These 1972 Gil Hodges cards are not really "variations" as they are two separate issues. The card on the left is a Topps card, while the card on the right is an O-Pee-Chee card (Topps
card printed for the Canadian market). O-Pee-Chee cards are very similar to Topps cards, however there are notable differences (usually different card stock, different backs, text in both
English and French, and usually a "Printed in Canada" on the reverse near the copyright). The above 1972 O-Pee-Chee #465 Gil Hodges makes mention of his untimely passing on
April 2, 1972. Topps had already issued their cards so there is no mention of Hodges' death on the Topps cards.
1972 Topps #465 Gil Hodges 1972 O-Pee-Chee #465 Gil Hodges
| 1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera (Error)
Like the 1948 Leaf #102 Gene Hermanski card pictured at the top of this page, the 1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera card also came with an interesting error. If you look at the above
example, you can see that the "a" in Herrera is very faint. This is simply a printing error, not an error in the spelling. Same thing happened with the Hermanski card, where the "i" in Hermanski
is blotted out. Regardless, these "error" cards are still considered classic ERROR cards and are extremely valuable. The corrected versions of these cards are basically "commons."
1975 SSPC #593 Hunter & Ryan (Error card) (Corrected version)
Now here we have an example of an error card & corrected card. The error is the spelling of "Nolan" ("Noland") on the front of this 1975 SSPC #593 "Catfish Hunter & Nolan Ryan" card (see above, left). The
error was corrected by simply deleting the letter "d" from the type. Now this is where it gets confusing for some. Error cards can be expensive. And they can also NOT be terribly expensive either. It all depends. First,
the subject: Nolan Ryan (and Jim "Catfish" Hunter). Yes, both of these pitchers are big names in baseball and are highly collectible. So it's got that going for it. Second, was the error card later corrected? Yes,
so you have two different variations of the card. Ok, that checks too. Third, is the error card scarce or rare? In this case, NO. Both versions can be had rather easily and in high grade as well. While a terrific and
affordable issue, the 1975 SSPC cards are not hard to find at all. In fact, most of these I have seen ARE in high grade; unusual for a "vintage" issue. Which leads to "supply and demand." If the card is scarce and hard
to come by, yes, it can be a valuable card. However if the card was printed in mass quantities and hence there is no real demand for the card, then you have a "not-so-valuable" card. It is "worth" whatever someone is
willing to pay for it. Maybe a dollar, maybe more. So before sending me an email asking "what is my 2011 Topps error card worth?" consider this: number one, I DON'T CARE! I don't collect modern issues and I am
not involved in this hobby because I am concerned about what a card is "worth." I am in this hobby because I love baseball, or at least once I did before big money and Bud Selig ruined it for me. So that is why I
collect older cards because it was much simpler then. And in the words of the immortal "K.C. and the Sunshine Band" : "That's the way... uh huh...uh-huh...I LIKE IT... uh-huh, uh-huh..." And that's the way I like it.