Friday, April 27, 2012

'74T Braves "variation" is bolt from blue

I'm retired from work on the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, and even if I wasn't, I don't think this card would have made the cut into "official variation" status. However, since there are a lot of collectors who chase this type of thing, and since one of their number made the effort to alert me to it some two years ago, I think it's worth sharing.

Topps specialist Al Richter of Texas is the collector who brought this visually interesting printing anomaly to my attention. I've had the scans sitting in one of my folders for a couple of years now. Al was always generous in sharing the errors, variations and misprints he discovered, even though he knew that most of them would never be listed in the "big book."

What it is, is a lightning bolt-looking defect that appears in the sky at the top-right of the 1974 Atlanta Braves team photo card, #483.

I never knew enough or have forgotten what little I knew about four-color card printing in the mid-1970s, so I can't hazard a guess as to the physical cause of the misprint. It seems to me the card started without the bolt, then developed the defect later on.

A review of 50 1974 Braves team cards for sale on eBay on a recent day showed that only seven of the cards (14%) have the lightning bolt effect. As might be expected in a misprint like this, some of the cards show a greater or lesser severity of the image.

If you're so inclined, and if you hurry, I'm sure you can pick one of the lightning bolt cards up for the price of a common.

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