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Pulling the Bill Ripken FF Error from 1989 Fleer Wax Boxes

I previously discussed the 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken #616 FF Error card in the article 4 Expensive Baseball Card Printing Errors – Modern Edition. Basically, Fleer began printing the 660-card set in late 1988. The card with the profanity made it through quality control and was released in packs to the public. Once Fleer realized their mistake, they covered the words on the bat up with scribbles, boxes, whiteout, etc. and printed those covered up variations, assuming the company didn’t intend the original release.

1989 Fleer #616 Bill Ripken FF Error

If you want to pull a 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken #616 FF Error card from a pack, here is what you need to do. You have to buy a case, or an authenticated box from a trusted source, with the right provenance.

There is a 5-digit number printed on 1989 Fleer cases. The case you buy needs the right numbing on it, or the box needs to list the 5-digit number of the case it came from. In the picture that follows, 83422 is printed in black ink on the lower right side.

1989 Fleer Baseball Case – Code 83422

The first digit is the print year, 9 for 1989, and 8 for 1988. The next three numbers represent the day of the year. 001 is for January 1st, 004 would be January 4th, and so on. The last digit is either a location or a shift. 

Digits before 90171, January 17th, 1989, have the Bill Ripken FF error inside.

The next two pictures, and the case above, will have the FF error since their codes are under 90171.

1989 Fleer Baseball Case – Code 90161
1989 Fleer Baseball Case – Code 83281

This 1989 Fleer Wax Box, authenticated by the Baseball Card Exchange, came from a case with code 90122; therefore, it may have a FF error inside.

1989 Fleer Baseball Wax Box BBCE Authenticated FASC Code 90122

The next two pictures are of cases that will not have the FF error since their codes are above 90171.

1989 Fleer Baseball Case – Code 91571
1989 Fleer Baseball Case – Code 90961

There are rumors of folks pulling FF cards from later numbered cases, but I haven’t seen that proven, so it’s a risky move if your goal is a FF card. If you pull a 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken #616 FF error from a pack, let me know in the comments or over on Twitter.

38 Comments

  1. […] wax from the east coast and not from cello, rack, jumbo, or factory cases. Unlike the 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken FF Error, there are no known markings, case numbers, or specific print dates that the hobby has pieced […]

  2. Christopher Unger Christopher Unger

    Was there any error cards in factory sets and is there a way to know which ones ?

    • John John

      Hey Christopher. Unfortunately I really don’t know.

    • Allison Durrant (Eaves) Allison Durrant (Eaves)

      Is the card still worth money if I don’t have the box case, however the single card is
      it is in a plastic case?

      • John John

        Allison, I don’t really understand your question. An ungraded FF error still has value, of course, if that’s what you mean.

  3. Greg wells jr Greg wells jr

    Just pulled one tonight plus the randy Johnson blackout.

    • John John

      That’s awesome!

  4. Mike Burkholder Mike Burkholder

    is there a way to tell which “cover up” card we could get from later cases/boxes, or is it totally random???

    • John John

      I don’t think there’s a way.

  5. Aaron Aaron

    What was the date on the barcode of the boxes that the card came in like what month thanks

    • John John

      Not quite sure what you mean. Like I wrote, the 5 digit stamp is what you need to look at. Digits before 90171, January 17th, 1989, have the Bill Ripken FF error inside.

  6. Roger Roger

    When I look on ebay, I see the highest sold case at $2,499 (accepted best offer so something lower than this) and case # was 90201. I see none sold that start with an 8. For folks “listing/not sold yet” they are asking $6,500 – $9,000 for the 2 cases I see starting with an 8. Any guess as what a reasonable price is for a case starting with an 8? I would assume at least $2k-$2.5K, but does anyone really pay anywhere close to $6,500? I would guess not, but if you were selling one would you go with the $2k-$2.5k or somewhere between $2.5k and $6.5k?

    • John John

      Howdy Roger – thanks for commenting. First, cases earlier than 90171 have the error, so throw those 17 days in with the cases starting with an 8. These days, BBCE wrapped FF error boxes go for a little under $200. Twenty boxes in a case, so 20*200 is 4000. So the floor price for a FF error case is a little under $4k. Plus, a bit of markup for an authentic case since they are getting rarer daily. $5k doesn’t sound unreasonable at today’s prices.

  7. Dennis Martin Dennis Martin

    I did pull out a Ripken F.F. card out of a case with code 90931. This case was sealed when I purchased it.

  8. Steve Jano Steve Jano

    There was an article years ago stating that the cutoff date for a FF was 9017 as you said. I opened and sold a case of 9019 and everyone got a FF. I heard that 9020 has it too.

    • John John

      Interesting. Thanks for the intel!

  9. FRANK P. MASTRANGELO JR FRANK P. MASTRANGELO JR

    I PULLED A FF CARD OUT OF A BOX ,AST NIGHT, THE BOXHAS BEEN SITTING ON MY SHELF FOR OVER 30 YEARS. IT WAS THE 2 ND TO LAST PACK IN THE BOX

    • John John

      That’s awesome. Glad to hear it!

  10. Jim Wilkinson Jim Wilkinson

    Great info on the case codes. Do you have any info on individual boxes? I have an unopened wax box with a 8609-A code. Any info would be appreciated.

    • John John

      I don’t. I think the only indicator is the case code though.

  11. Larry Larry

    Do you know the case number range where the ‘white scribble’ version can be found? Thank you.

    • John John

      Sorry Larry, I don’t think anyone knows that.

      • Larry Larry

        Cool, I sorta thought that, but wasn’t sure. I’ve Googled it to death and no luck. I pulled my first FF card last night as well as a Randy Johnson ‘blacked out’ Marlboro card. I enjoy your blog. Thank you for responding so quickly.

        • John John

          That’s so cool on the rip! Was it a box out of a known case?

          • Larry Larry

            Thank you! I was super stoked when I pulled the FF. Yes, it was from a case with code number 83482. Also got my first Griffey Jr. rookie card from this box.

  12. I read several months ago that BOX #’;s 8607-A,8608-A,8609-A & 8610-A were the Box #s that came in those early cases. However I cannot find the site again. Anyone able to add or refute this info?

  13. James James

    Just pulled 2 FF’s in back to back packs right at the end of my box. What a thrill! Got 2 Griffeys as well. Really interesting how many duplicates were in the box. So much fun!

    • John John

      That’s great to hear! From a known case number?

  14. James James

    Hi, unfortunately I don’t know. The number above the barcode is 8612-B. Really enjoy this blog, so interesting. Thank you

  15. Javier Gutierrez Javier Gutierrez

    What would be a good price on a sealed case #83562 89 Fleer?

    • John John

      Boxes that could have a FF error and a BBCE label indicating the case number go for around $200 these days. 20 boxes in a case. So a little over $4k I suppose.

  16. Javier Javier

    John, other then ebay and card shows where is the best place to sell it? also have an 88 fleer sealed case

    • John John

      Vintage Wax and Packs is a good FB group for any unopened product.

  17. Javier Javier

    John a guy on that site Vintage wax and packs offered me 1500 for my close case in question, I’m think he is low-balling me, right?

    • John John

      I think so

  18. Matthew Matthew

    Hey everyone so I have a single box of 1989 fleer cards item 587.the box is a little beat up .but all in tact has some clear tape on it but all the packs are there and it’s all sealed up don’t know a case number .I got it just as sits tape and all about 10 years ago. Think I should open it or sell it?

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