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6 Expensive Baseball Card Printing Errors – Vintage Edition

Manufacturers make mistakes; it happens. But in the sports card hobby, when those mistakes get corrected, but both variants end up in collector’s hands, there’s increased demand and high prices for those error cards. Error cards give collectors something else to chase. When those errors are on superstar player’s cards, values can be astronomically high in comparison since you have both set and player collectors trying to complete master sets. Here are six high-priced cards where both an error and corrected version exist in the postwar card market.

1967 Topps #45 Roger Maris

Roger Maris was traded to the Cardinals from the Yankees before the 1967 baseball season, in December 1966. But Topps had already printed proofs of a card with him on the Yankees. Woody Gelman was an art director for Topps, and he had a small quantity of these blank-back cards that he cut from sheets and offered to collectors, they were never released in packs. As a result, the majority of the proof cards are poorly centered. The regular issue Roger Maris card from the 1967 Topps set features the Cardinals.

The Yankees proof version has a PSA population of 44 compared to 1574 for the Cardinals variant. The last sale of a proof card was for $2700, and two are listed on eBay now for $6700 and $7500. PSA 8s of the regular variant sell for around $150.

1967 Topps #45 Roger Maris
1967 Topps Roger Maris Yankees Proof

1969 Topps #500 Mickey Mantle

23 cards in the 1969 Topps have White Letter variations. Usually, the last name is in yellow on these cards. When one of those cards is Mickey Mantle, and it’s known as his last card, you know the error price is going to be quite high. No one knows for sure why these errors exist, but it’s thought that Topps began using multiple printing presses since the white letter variants seemed to be issued in certain parts of the country.

The total population of the Last Name in Yellow Mantle variant is 6865 compared to just 1032 Last Name in White variant. The more common PSA 8 yellow letter examples sell for between $1500-$2000, and PSA 8 white letter examples go for $15-20k. Since Mickey Mantle cards prices go up a lot in high grade, it’s essential to see the disparity in prices for mid-grade variants. A PSA 6 Yellow Mantle sells for $400 compared to $1700 for a PSA 6 Last Name in White variant.

1969 Topps #500 Mickey Mantle Last Name in Yellow
1969 Topps #500 Mickey Mantle Last Name in White

1952 Topps Johnny Sain & Joe Page Errors

1952 Topps is one of the most iconic baseball card sets ever, and it initially contained error cards. The biographies of Johnny Sain and Joe Page were initially mixed up and put on the wrong card. Sain had a stronger career, so his cards are a bit more valuable and sought after.

Joe Page Correct Bio – PSA Population of 379 – PSA 5 $40

1952 Topps #48 Joe Page Correct Bio
1952 Topps #48 Joe Page Correct Bio Reverse

Joe Page Correct Bio Black Back Population of 259 – PSA 5 $70

Joe Page with Sain Bio Population of 144 – PSA 5 $350-450

Joe page with Sain Bio Black Back Population of 234 – PSA 5 $500

1952 Topps #48 Joe Page Sian Bio Black Back
1952 Topps #48 Joe Page Sain Bio Black Back Reverse

Johnny Sain Correct Bio Population of 444 – PSA 5 $75

1952 Topps #49 Johnny Sain Correct Bio
1952 Topps #49 Johnny Sain Correct Bio Reverse

Johnny Sain Correct Bio Black Back Population of 243 – PSA 5 $100

Johnny Sain with Page Bio Population of 62 – PSA 5 $1000

Johnny Sain with Page Bio Black Back Population of 203 – PSA 5 $600

1952 Topps #49 Johnny Sain Page Bio Black Back
1952 Topps #49 Johnny Sain Page Bio Black Back Reverse

1952 Topps #307 Frank Campos Variations

Another printing variation in the 1952 Topps set is on card #307. The back of Frank Campos has a rare variant with a black star instead of the regular red star. It was so unique that until about 2006, people didn’t know the overprint existed.

The Red Star corrected variant has a PSA graded population of 532, and PSA 6 variants sell for between $50-70. The rarer black star variants have a population of 86, and a PSA 6 recently sold for $2750.

1952 Topps #307 Frank Campos Reverse
1952 Topps #307 Frank Campos Black Star

1948 Leaf #102 Gene Hermanski

The 1948 Leaf #102 Gene Hermanski card can be found with his last name correctly spelled and with the ‘i’ in his last name missing. 1948 Leaf cards already had poor printing quality, so high-grade examples of the error are hard to find, making it one of the rarest postwar error cards.

The Gene Hermansk (incorrect spelling) has a PSA population of 95, and PSA 7s sell for ~$1700. The corrected variant has a little more than double the population at 217 but sells for about 7% of the error, $125.

1948 Leaf #102 Gene Hermanski Correct Spelling
1948 Leaf #102 Gene Hermansk Incorrect Spelling

1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera (Herrer) 433

The 1958 Topps Pancho Herrer error card must have been the result of something getting in the way of the printing press and its ability to print the ‘a’ on Pancho Herrera’s last name. Very few of these errors exist, which means someone must have corrected the mistake early in print.

The 1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera card has a PSA population of 443, and PSA 8 variants sell for approximately $25. The Pancho Herrer error card is far less available with a population of 48, and the last PSA 8 sold for an astronomical $13000, a PSA 6.5 sold for $3550. A PSA 4 went for $2500, showing the price isn’t proportionally relative to the population. There are 10x as many regular cards as errors, but the errors sell for far more than 10x as much as the corrections.

1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera
1958 Topps #433 Pancho Herrera Herrer

Error cards are very collectible, and their prices exceed direct relationships with their population. The error’s uniqueness makes them popular, and card collectors put a significant premium on that nostalgia.

Happy collecting, don’t forget to check out the archive of all my articles here on PostWarCards.

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