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How baseball card collectors can profit from error cards

Posted by mandyf on December 29, 2008

There was a time when collecting baseball cards was pretty much cut and dry. Each year 660 cards were put out by Topps, perhaps a traded edition, and that was it. If mistakes were made that is where they were corrected. In 1981 however with the re-entrance of Fleer and the addition of Donruss “error” cards as they are called became prolific. So you may ask why this is important? It is important because those companies tried to fix the errors rather than leaving them put there for the public to be stuck with for an eternity. By doing this the error card became a holy grail of sorts in some cases.

When errors were caught the replacement went to press immediately. Sometimes the error took a month or more to catch, sometimes only a day or so and that is where the value is mostly determined. The fewer error cards that made it to the public the higher the value. For a period of time speculators bought this in a manner which was similar to the craze around rookie cards. The fad ended and people forget about the error cards for the most part.

Now 25 years after the craze ended, it is slowly making a return fueled by dealers insisting the complete set isn’t really complete unless each variation is included. The four most famous are: the 1982 Donruss Juan Eichelberger in which Dave littlefield is pictured, the 1983 Bill Ripken with a profanity on his bat which is readable, the 1981 fleer (c)Graig Nettles, misspelling, and of course the grandaddy of them all 1982 fleer Dave Littlefield (again) reversed negative card. This particular card has hovered around $150.00 for nearly a quarter century in the pricing guides. I have been fortunate to obtain two in my lifetime. One came by luck as a child and the other again by luck nearly a year ago after buying a bulk collection of “commons” purchased by the pund. The card was in there because many people aren’t aware of it and because the difference is very subtle. It is so subtle in fact even trained eyes often miss it unless they are being particularly vigilant to look for it.

While the published value of this card is only $150.00 I was able to command $400.00 from a private collector because he never ever saw one personally in his life and had actively sought one out better than 15 years. To him it was a bargain. To me it was a good day as it stood me about 3/4 cent. You won’t always be so fortunate as to find it for that price, but more often than not if you do aquire one it will be on excat opposite ends of…Read the rest here at:  http://www.helium.com/items/117597-how-baseball-card-collectors-can-profit-from-mistakes-used-by-error-cards

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