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Go Back   Net54baseball.com Forums > Net54baseball Postwar Sportscard Forums > Modern Baseball Cards Forum (1980-Present)

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  #1  
Old 04-22-2020, 05:21 PM
deweyinthehall deweyinthehall is offline
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Default Error variations vs. Print Variations: 1990 Fleer Martinez

In my quest to assemble master sets, I've decided to pursue genuine errors (e.g. the '89 Ripken) and not go after what seem to be mere printing variations (e.g. the '90 NNOF Thomas).

I'd like to ask people what they make of the 1990 Fleer Dave Martinez with the yellow "'90" at the top.

I initially considered this an error - it was set up, in error/absentmindedly, to be printed in yellow and was later corrected. But the more I think about it the more I wonder - I double checked and found that ALL cards in the '90 Fleer set have the "'90" in red (I had assumed that cards with Yellow fronts (like Seattle, etc.) featured a yellow "'90", but it's always red no matter what team it is.

So, given that no cards were meant to be produced with a yellow "'90", which could have explained an accidental yellow variation for Martinez, I now wonder whether it's more likely that something happened with some of the original sheets that took a red "'90" and produced a yellow one instead.

I don't know a lot about the printing process, but I think red is achieved by combining yellow and magenta - could this variation have been produced by a failure for the magenta to come through? If that is the case, though wouldn't there likely be more variations like this for cards from the same sheet?

Thanks for whatever insights people might want to offer
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  #2  
Old 04-22-2020, 06:54 PM
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swarmee swarmee is offline
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Picture for illustration purposes. To me, if you think the magenta wasn't printed in that one section, then it would likely be another fluke like the NNOF Thomas was. You can see that the rest of the card got the magenta pass.
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  #3  
Old 04-22-2020, 09:20 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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That's what makes the variations difficult to nail down sometimes.

This could have happened a few ways.
They could have blocked off the 90 when setting up the mask. (most likely)
The 90 could have been blocked on the mask by mistake after it was made.(not likely)
Something could have gotten in between the mask and plate when exposing the plate. (Not likely, but considering that it happened a few times at Topps with the 1990 Thomas etc being the best known maybe not as uncommon as it seems. Unlikely, because it doesn't seem to affect any of the other magenta on the card)
The press operator could have stoned off the 90 for some reason. (Unlikely, but the pointing hands on the 81 Fleer seem deliberate to me. Pretty easy to scratch them into the plates. )
There could have been a bit of debris stuck on the plate that wouldn't take ink. (Possible, but ink usually gets jammed in around the edges and leaves marks. )
That bit of debris could be on the offset blanket (Somewhat likely)
The offset blanket could be damaged. (Not all that likely.)

It could be fading, but that's also not really likely, even though it should be possible to make one.

When you get right down to it, many variations are fixes to mistakes. Some are easily identified, like having trade notices or not. Some, like this card it's a little harder to tell.
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  #4  
Old 04-23-2020, 07:17 AM
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Dewey- what do you think should distinguish a recurring print defect from a “true” variation ? What what would be your definition of a card the hobby should recognize as a variation ? Your view is as valid as anyone else in the hobby theses days
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  #5  
Old 04-23-2020, 09:25 AM
deweyinthehall deweyinthehall is offline
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I guess my definition (and the one I try to use in building my own collection) is that the original/error needs to have been "meant" to be printed that way - whether intentionally (e.g. the '74 Washingtons, which is very rare) or absentmindedly (e.g. the '79 Wills, '91 Topps Comstock, '89 UD Murphy, or most inaccurate data on the reverse), vs. something that happened as part of the printing process itself - the NNOF Thomas, the '89 Upper Deck Sheridan (partially obscured "OF"), etc.).

The more I think about this, the more I suspect the 90 Martinez is in the latter category.
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  #6  
Old 04-23-2020, 01:29 PM
West West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deweyinthehall View Post
I guess my definition (and the one I try to use in building my own collection) is that the original/error needs to have been "meant" to be printed that way - whether intentionally (e.g. the '74 Washingtons, which is very rare) or absentmindedly (e.g. the '79 Wills, '91 Topps Comstock, '89 UD Murphy, or most inaccurate data on the reverse), vs. something that happened as part of the printing process itself - the NNOF Thomas, the '89 Upper Deck Sheridan (partially obscured "OF"), etc.).

The more I think about this, the more I suspect the 90 Martinez is in the latter category.
In my opinion, a printing defect would imply something transient that was created by accident, like fish eyes, solvent/water drips and any of the million other stains and printing doodads that don't get caught in quality assurance. A "true variation" should be associated with a dedicated set of printing plates.

While the 1990 Topps NNOF was created by accident due to a flaw in the creation of its black printing plate, the print run associated with it did have its dedicated set of printing plates and many other cards within that run have unique variations that are only found in that brief print run. It is likely close to 1000 identical copies exist before it was corrected. Since it had its own set of plates I believe it should have its own category as a variation within the set. The term "printing defect" does not accurately define the true causation of the error, in my opinion.

The paradox of error/variation collecting is the rarer the error is, the more valuable, but at a certain point some cards become too rare to achieve hobby recognition. It is what was very astutely termed the "event horizon" of population count.

https://not.fangraphs.com/the-error-...oples-history/

"The card, a 1990 Fleer Dave Martinez, turned out to be so rare that it was never listed in any of the major price guides, even well after the turn of the millennium. Though the internet has finally confirmed their collective existence, it’s still unclear how many copies of the card exist, and they’re sold so rarely that there’s no way to know how much they’re worth. This is the event horizon of the error card: at some point a card becomes so rare that it becomes invisible, and therefore worthless.

And so the card, with its very yellow 90, will sit in my garage, waiting for the day when the remaining collectors convene and decide that it’s worth buying. And when that day comes, I’ll have finally won that trade I made twenty years ago."

Am I quoting back a participator in this thread? This was a great article and I quite enjoyed reading it. I would note that another paradox of error and variation collecting is that if you bring more recognition to a certain error card, you increase the odds that some will surface, but you also increase the chances that someone else will outbid you for it.
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  #7  
Old 04-23-2020, 04:03 PM
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swarmee swarmee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by West View Post
"waiting for the day when the remaining collectors convene and decide that it’s worth buying."
For what it's worth, two have sold on eBay, the highest one going for $60 in 2016. Can't determine what the other one sold for.
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  #8  
Old 04-23-2020, 04:53 PM
West West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swarmee View Post
For what it's worth, two have sold on eBay, the highest one going for $60 in 2016. Can't determine what the other one sold for.
That's interesting, seems that the author may have won that trade after all. I just thought it was quite fitting that the article that this thread brought back to my memory from 7 years ago was based around the very card the thread is centered around.
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2020, 08:17 PM
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I meant to say "sold on COMC" FWIW if someone tries to look up the past eBay sales. I did not, so there might be more sale prices if you look them up with PWCC's tool.
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  #10  
Old 04-23-2020, 08:24 PM
jacksoncoupage jacksoncoupage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by West View Post

"The card, a 1990 Fleer Dave Martinez, turned out to be so rare that it was never listed in any of the major price guides, even well after the turn of the millennium. Though the internet has finally confirmed their collective existence, it’s still unclear how many copies of the card exist, and they’re sold so rarely that there’s no way to know how much they’re worth. This is the event horizon of the error card: at some point a card becomes so rare that it becomes invisible, and therefore worthless.

And so the card, with its very yellow 90, will sit in my garage, waiting for the day when the remaining collectors convene and decide that it’s worth buying. And when that day comes, I’ll have finally won that trade I made twenty years ago."

Am I quoting back a participator in this thread? This was a great article and I quite enjoyed reading it. I would note that another paradox of error and variation collecting is that if you bring more recognition to a certain error card, you increase the odds that some will surface, but you also increase the chances that someone else will outbid you for it.
The article is not correct: the card has been listed in the guides (even monthly Becketts) throughout the 90s. I believe it was noted with “VAR1” or some other unusual abbreviation. At some point (maybe 90s annual guides) they added the “yellow ‘90” note in parenthesis. Not to mention that it has been cataloged in the Dick Gilkeson guide as far back as 1990.

That said, I feel certain that a small chunk of 1990 Fleer printed with an obstruction to the magenta plate where the ‘90 would strike. All cards were printed with yellow and magenta to produce the red ‘90. It’s also perhaps worth noting that Fleer utilized two separate printing facilities for this product and from all research I’ve compiled, this card only came from specific packaging type from one of the two. In other words, this card wasn’t simply an “early correction” but instead, a correction made to a very specific chunk of the run, isolated from the rest.
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Last edited by jacksoncoupage; 04-24-2020 at 09:57 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-24-2020, 06:35 AM
West West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksoncoupage View Post
The article is not correct: the card has been listed in the guides (even monthly Becketts) throughout the 90s. I believe it was noted with “VAR1” or some other unusual abbreviation. At some point (maybe 90s annual guides) they added the “yellow ‘90” note in parenthesis. Not to mention that it has been cataloged in the Dick Gilkeson guide as far back as 1990.

That said, I feel certain that a small chunk of 1990 Fleer printed with an obstruction to the magenta plate where the ‘90 would strike. All cards were printed with yellow and magenta to produce the red ‘90.

Good to know. The article appeared on Fangraphs which is more targeted at the sabermetric community so the writer was probably just not aware of more niche publications like the Dick Gilkeson guide. It's nice to know that some more obscure variations like the 90 Fleer Martinez have gained a hobby following!
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Old 04-24-2020, 08:47 AM
jacksoncoupage jacksoncoupage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by West View Post
Good to know. The article appeared on Fangraphs which is more targeted at the sabermetric community so the writer was probably just not aware of more niche publications like the Dick Gilkeson guide. It's nice to know that some more obscure variations like the 90 Fleer Martinez have gained a hobby following!
I understand, it just seemed bizarre to claim that it was an unknown variation that the guides refused to list due to scarcity when it was listed in Beckett magazine for years. I know this because (as the lone 1990 Fleer fan...) I hunted the card based on its entry in the magazine. It would be like claiming that Beckett refused to list the 1989 Topps Tony Oliva or 1989 Score Paul Gibson errors.

A related variation exists from the set but in very limited quantities (word is just a few cut sheets) that shows no ‘90 on the front of several Baltimore Orioles cards which are otherwise correctly printed. Just the Fleer portion of the logo. All mentions I’ve seen over the years refer to them as “stolen.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by swarmee View Post
For what it's worth, two have sold on eBay, the highest one going for $60 in 2016. Can't determine what the other one sold for.
Many more than that have sold. Especially since 2016. I’m pretty sure I’ve sold 4-5 copies between 2006-2012 and another 2-3 since 2016. Not to mention the dozen or so I’ve seen pop up in my eBay searches. Prices have ranged between $60-150 for me.
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Last edited by jacksoncoupage; 04-24-2020 at 01:15 PM.
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  #13  
Old 04-24-2020, 02:07 PM
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I have a Topps 1980 Jeff King 454 with an all yellow back. It was at one time listed by Lemke in the SCD Catalog but I believe he removed it from latter editions....maybe after he read Dylan's Junk Wax Gems section arguing it does not belong in such catalogs . I don't know how many copies exist but am happy to have one

https://junkwaxgems.wordpress.com/20...the-big-books/
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Old 04-24-2020, 04:09 PM
deweyinthehall deweyinthehall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksoncoupage View Post
The article is not correct: the card has been listed in the guides (even monthly Becketts) throughout the 90s. I believe it was noted with “VAR1” or some other unusual abbreviation. At some point (maybe 90s annual guides) they added the “yellow ‘90” note in parenthesis. Not to mention that it has been cataloged in the Dick Gilkeson guide as far back as 1990.

That said, I feel certain that a small chunk of 1990 Fleer printed with an obstruction to the magenta plate where the ‘90 would strike. All cards were printed with yellow and magenta to produce the red ‘90. It’s also perhaps worth noting that Fleer utilized two separate printing facilities for this product and from all research I’ve compiled, this card only came from specific packaging type from one of the two. In other words, this card wasn’t simply an “early correction” but instead, a correction made to a very specific chunk of the run, isolated from the rest.
Thanks - this is all interesting. So, it does seem as though the Martinez with the yellow '90 was the result of a flaw or obstruction in the printing process, rather than - for some reason - being originally set up to print the '90 in yellow and then corrected later to print in red.
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Old 04-24-2020, 04:50 PM
deweyinthehall deweyinthehall is offline
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https://www.ebay.com/itm/1990-Fleer-...53.m1438.l2649

Until I began analyzing this and reading everyone's thoughts, I was going to pursue this...no longer, so if anyone is interested, a Martinez yellow '90 closes tonight.
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Old 04-24-2020, 09:27 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deweyinthehall View Post
Thanks - this is all interesting. So, it does seem as though the Martinez with the yellow '90 was the result of a flaw or obstruction in the printing process, rather than - for some reason - being originally set up to print the '90 in yellow and then corrected later to print in red.
See post 3

From the scans I've seen, there isn't a way to tell exactly where the problem happened.
A defective plate is the most likely explanation, and that by its nature would affect only a small portion of one print run that was probably destined for a particular packaging.
Outside the factory, It's usually hard to tell if that defect came from a poorly made mask, or an obstruction in the platemaking. With large flaws like the Thomas NNOF and the related cards, it becomes obvious that something was in the way when the plate was made. For small flaws, it may not be possible to tell.
Once it was noticed, a correct plate would be made for the magenta, and production would continue.

Someday when I have a high res scan or the actual card, I might be able to rule out a couple options.
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Old 04-25-2020, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve B View Post
See post 3

From the scans I've seen, there isn't a way to tell exactly where the problem happened.
A defective plate is the most likely explanation, and that by its nature would affect only a small portion of one print run that was probably destined for a particular packaging.
Outside the factory, It's usually hard to tell if that defect came from a poorly made mask, or an obstruction in the platemaking. With large flaws like the Thomas NNOF and the related cards, it becomes obvious that something was in the way when the plate was made. For small flaws, it may not be possible to tell.
Once it was noticed, a correct plate would be made for the magenta, and production would continue.

Someday when I have a high res scan or the actual card, I might be able to rule out a couple options.
In hand would be great because to me it doesn't look to be just yellow ink from the pics I have seen.

I can 100% rule out fading because I have faded a 90 Fleer to compare it to some cool 1990 Fleer color variations I have.

https://www.net54baseball.com/showth...hlight=canseco There is a close up scan of a faded "90" in this thread.
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