A Few Vintage Basketball Printing Errors

In August 2020, I wrote a pair of articles about expensive baseball card printing errors, a vintage edition, and a modern edition article. This post will discuss a few vintage basketball card printing errors that collectors who are OCD about completeness will want to hunt down for their collections.

1948 Bowman Basketball Second Series Gray Backgrounds

The 1948 Bowman basketball set has 72 cards with two series of 36 cards. The second series had a printing error. Cards have red or blue backgrounds, but a few with gray backgrounds exist. The rumor goes that someone saved uncut sheets that didn’t pass quality assurance (missing background color) and later cut them up. Along with the gray background variations for all of the second series cards of the 1948 Bowman basketball set, there are also a few overprint background varieties in circulation.

1948 Bowman #69 George Mikan Blue Background
1948 Bowman #69 George Mikan Gray Background

1970 Topps #101 Checklist 2

There are two variations of the Checklist-2 in the 1970 Topps basketball set. The first has “1970-71 “on the front, along with both the stars on either side of it, in black text. The second has “1970-71” in white text with yellow stars.

1970 Topps #101 Checklist-2 Black Letters
1970 Topps #101 Checklist-2 White Letters

1977 Topps White and Gray Backs

PSA wrote an excellent article on the 1977 Topps basketball card set a few years ago and pointed out that white and gray backs exist. The gray stock variants are much rarer, but most collectors prefer the look of the white stock versions.

1977 Topps #70 John Havlicek White Stock
1977 Topps #124 Moses Malone Gray Stock

1980 Topps #56 and #151 with James Silas

Because each panel of a player appears on two different tri-cards in the 1980 Topps set, there are two errors and two correct versions with Silas. In each case, the correct version has his name, James Silas, spelled correctly and in black ink. The error variants incorrectly list his name as Jams, and the text is in purple.

1980 Topps Phegley Silas Tyler
1980 Topps Phegley Silas Tyler Error
1980 Topps Monroe Silas Tyler
1980 Topps Monroe Silas Tyler Error

Do you know of any other vintage basketball error cards? Let me know about them in the comments or over on Twitter.

5 thoughts on “A Few Vintage Basketball Printing Errors”

  1. A silver foil Topps Stadium Club – Series 1 (R12) I came across a couple weeks ago, purchased for what I thought was a fair price of $60, straight from the ’90s binder.

    It’s not supposed to exist and has never been identified in the collector’s community. CSG did pick up on this as potentially significant variation/error, if authentic and factory cut. Could be a one-of-a-kind test print/proof of Kobe’s earliest imprint on cardboard. Because changing gold foil to silver foil on a finished card is not something that just happens, from what I hear.


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