November 28, 2017

#CardChat: A discussion on trading card variations

Every week, I hold a Twitter chat on Mondays at 7 p.m. ET.

We have a new topic on trading cards. This week, we discussed variations on cards. It was a broad topic so it could mean photo variations, printing variations, even color parallels. Here's a look at some of the highlights from this week's #CardChat.

November 26, 2017

1994 Collector's Choice gives me a headache; How many Derek Jeter variations are there?


Trading cards from the 1990s are filled with variations - different color schemes or different foil patterns. So many cards are filled with nuanced differences that we are still discussing them to this day and even wondering if they  exist.

1994 Collector's Choice is a tough one for player collectors. There are at least three distinct cards in the Future Foundation subset with a base card, and Silver Signature and Gold Signature parallels. Within those three cards there are some different variations -- but not all are made equal.

This comes up because Derek Jeter has a card in the Future Foundations subset. His 1994 Collector's Choice No. 644 is a much talked about card within the world of Jeter collectors. It's because this card is listed with so different variations in places like Beckett and PSA, but no one has seen all that variations. After doing extensive research, speaking to prolific Jeter collectors, I've come to several conclusions.

1. There is only one base card variation. Derek Jeter's 1994 Collector's Choice base card only has a white letter back card (pictured above).

2. There are two Silver Signature variations - a white letter and a silver letter (while not a great picture, the bottom pic below is the white letter variation).




3. There is only one Gold Signature variation.


Where did the rumors come from?

Supposedly, 10 cards in the 1994 Collector's Choice set were affected by a printing variation.

The most well known and most abundant of these cards is No. 647 of Alex Rodriguez. There are two variations of this base card. The difference is in the first letter of the text on the backs of the cards. One is in white and one is in silver.

Baseballcardpedia states: " ... other cards (such as Johnny Damon) were also verified to have this white letter variation - thus it's generally believed that the entire Future Foundations subset was produced with white (and standard grey) letter variations."

The words there state "generally believed" but there are several players in the Future Foundations subset where no silver letter variation has popped up including Jeter, Jose Silva and Terrell Wade. Only the white letter version of these cards have been spotted in over 20 years.

This doesn't mean that these cards don't exist (although I don't think they do) but considering the amount of information that is passed through collectors and various websites, if these cards existed, they would have been popped up by now.

Of course, that won't stop me looking at every card back of 1994 Collectors' Choice that I come across.