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  #1  
Old 11-13-2018, 02:28 PM
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Default 1987 Fleer Glossy Brown backs

This is the second set in a row that I've ripped and there was a brown back card in it. Both sets purchased many months apart and from different sellers. Obviously not a coincidence, I'm curious how many of these just slide under the radar because no one gives a flute's gravy dish about checking the card backs.

Anyone else noticed these before?

The difference in color is much more prominent in-hand than the scan suggests.

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Old 11-13-2018, 04:28 PM
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Ok, Arthur-- as a result of your careless and reckless post, I went back and pulled out my 1987 Fleer set which I bought back in the day from SportsCards +. I then went trough all 660 cards, for only the 2nd, and maybe last time ( the first was to count them, while looking at the backs just to make sure the set was complete). Not sure I have ever seen the fronts.

I found ONE brown back card, which you might know was card # 1, Rich Aguilera. You are right that the difference is subtle but very recognizable in hand.

Not sure if this info helps, but thanks for taking up part of my afternoon in retirement

Edit-- SCP must have thought the Canseco, W Clark, B Jackson and R Sierra were the keys to the set, because only those four were in holders....none with brown backs

Last edited by ALR-bishop; 11-13-2018 at 06:11 PM.
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  #3  
Old 11-13-2018, 05:38 PM
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Is the back glossy at all?

Cardboard differences aren't unknown, but I haven't really tried finding them.
There's also some differences in gloss for a lot of cards, especially Topps in the late 70's early 80's where some gloss stays clear and some yellows slightly. I'm not sure if it's an actual difference, or a sped up degrading maybe from something like the cards sitting in a hot car or something.
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Old 11-13-2018, 10:01 PM
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Looks like a card that sat in a smokers house.
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Old 11-14-2018, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
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...but thanks for taking up part of my afternoon in retirement
Yes, Arthur. Thanks for taking up part of Al's day. Heh.
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2018, 09:55 AM
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Al, just to double-check: you found yours in a Glossy set, right? You just said Fleer so I want to make sure.

The cards are identical on the front (in terms of gloss and color) and feel the same on the back (in terms of card stock). They were all sealed in the same tin under the same conditions so I don't think these are the result of after-factory conditions.

The Fleer Glossy sets (and perhaps the regular Fleer factory sets, I don't know, I haven't ripped any of them yet) are laid out in 12 blocks of 55 cards. The 12 blocks alternate coming from two different sources at the factory and are also either right-side up or upside down. All the upside down blocks come from one source and all the right-side up blocks come from another source. So, if you pull out the first upside down block and they're all heavily off-center toward the top, that problem is going to continue into the next block of upside down cards, even though there's a right-side up block between them. Make sense?

I assume the individual blocks come from the same sheet. I just checked and Rick Aguilera, Carney Lansford, and Jose Canseco (my two brown backs) are all on the same sheet. I suppose it's possible that a bunch of copies of the same sheet were printed on card stock meant for a different '87 Fleer product.

The '87 Fleer basketball cards have a white back.
The '87 Fleer Star Stickers don't have a bright white back but they also don't look like these brown backs either. More of an off-white.
The '87 Fleer Exciting Stars are white back.
The '87 Fleer Game Winners are white back.
The '87 Fleer Award Winners have a tan/orange but it's only half the card back and the other half is bright white so I'm assuming the stock started as white and the color was applied later.
The '87 Fleer Record Setters are white back.
The '87 Fleer Baseball's Best are white back.
The '87 Fleer Hottest Stars are white back.
The '87 Fleer League Leaders are white back.
The '87 Fleer Limited Edition are white back.
The '87 Fleer Mini are white back.

So back to the drawing board. Obviously the sheet was printed on a different stock than the rest of the set but why and how much are the questions. Had to have been a decent amount for me to hit two sets in a row and for Al's set to also have one. That's one hell of a coincidence otherwise.

Arthur
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Old 11-14-2018, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HasselhoffsCheeseburger View Post
Al, just to double-check: you found yours in a Glossy set, right? You just said Fleer so I want to make sure.

The cards are identical on the front (in terms of gloss and color) and feel the same on the back (in terms of card stock). They were all sealed in the same tin under the same conditions so I don't think these are the result of after-factory conditions.

The Fleer Glossy sets (and perhaps the regular Fleer factory sets, I don't know, I haven't ripped any of them yet) are laid out in 12 blocks of 55 cards. The 12 blocks alternate coming from two different sources at the factory and are also either right-side up or upside down. All the upside down blocks come from one source and all the right-side up blocks come from another source. So, if you pull out the first upside down block and they're all heavily off-center toward the top, that problem is going to continue into the next block of upside down cards, even though there's a right-side up block between them. Make sense?

I assume the individual blocks come from the same sheet. I just checked and Rick Aguilera, Carney Lansford, and Jose Canseco (my two brown backs) are all on the same sheet. I suppose it's possible that a bunch of copies of the same sheet were printed on card stock meant for a different '87 Fleer product.

The '87 Fleer basketball cards have a white back.
The '87 Fleer Star Stickers don't have a bright white back but they also don't look like these brown backs either. More of an off-white.
The '87 Fleer Exciting Stars are white back.
The '87 Fleer Game Winners are white back.
The '87 Fleer Award Winners have a tan/orange but it's only half the card back and the other half is bright white so I'm assuming the stock started as white and the color was applied later.
The '87 Fleer Record Setters are white back.
The '87 Fleer Baseball's Best are white back.
The '87 Fleer Hottest Stars are white back.
The '87 Fleer League Leaders are white back.
The '87 Fleer Limited Edition are white back.
The '87 Fleer Mini are white back.

So back to the drawing board. Obviously the sheet was printed on a different stock than the rest of the set but why and how much are the questions. Had to have been a decent amount for me to hit two sets in a row and for Al's set to also have one. That's one hell of a coincidence otherwise.

Arthur
Do you know if Wade Boggs is on that sheet? If so that is another card I need to track down.
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2018, 12:49 PM
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I just did a google image search for 1987 fleer uncut sheet and looked at the first handful. Should be an easy lookup.

Arthur

ETA: Just went back to pull an image for reference and there's no Boggs on the sheet.
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Last edited by HasselhoffsCheeseburger; 11-14-2018 at 12:58 PM.
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2018, 03:22 PM
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Arthur- The set I have is not a factory set so probably not glossy, but my Aguilar card does look to me to have the same brownish back as in your scans

On a side note, I have no variations for this set. Are you aware of any ( this back issue aside ) ?
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2018, 09:31 AM
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Wow. So it's not even isolated to just the Glossy cards. This is fascinating.

I don't know of any errors or variations in the '87 Fleer set. I just quickly did a pass on BBCpedia and they only list some UER (all incorrect birth years on the back).

I'm going to keep buying sets to rip so I'll keep updating this thread on what I find.

Arthur
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  #11  
Old 11-15-2018, 11:10 AM
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Here is the contrast in the backs from cards 1 and 2 in my set

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  #12  
Old 11-15-2018, 01:02 PM
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This is so bizarre. The three cards are from the same sheet but so far each set has only yielded one brown back card each. You would think if it were as simple as the wrong sheets getting loaded into the printer we would see more than one brown back per set. This truly is a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

Arthur
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Old 11-15-2018, 05:05 PM
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A conundrum of some proportions
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  #14  
Old 11-16-2018, 07:19 AM
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Al, I just want to double check, your set is hand-collated? It's not in any kind of Fleer issued box?

Arthur
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Old 11-16-2018, 07:52 AM
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It is not a factory set.
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Old 11-16-2018, 09:54 AM
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So now I'm wondering if they're available in packs. Makes no sense that someone would take a regular factory set, remove it from the box, and then sell it as a hand-collated set. The '87 Fleer factory sets had no factory seal to them so it's not like anyone would have been able to tell if they went through it or not. Your set must have been put together with cards pulled from packs.

Arthur
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Old 11-16-2018, 10:17 AM
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I know I bought it from Sport Cards + but know nothing about how they put the set together
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Old 11-16-2018, 11:03 AM
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Imagine trying to put a brown back set together.

Al, your retirement agenda is complete.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:32 PM
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Topps used two different stocks in its 1977 basketball set, the normal bright white and the occasional dark.

I found a similar anomaly in 1992 Topps football:



I think they just put the occasional wrong sheet of card stock into the press.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
Topps used two different stocks in its 1977 basketball set, the normal bright white and the occasional dark.

I found a similar anomaly in 1992 Topps football:



I think they just put the occasional wrong sheet of card stock into the press.
Adam, is topps printed in green/blue on the back of the darker one?
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
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I think they just put the occasional wrong sheet of card stock into the press.
That was my initial assumption as well. But we're talking about an extremely large amount of cards printed with this stock. Even if we assume that it's just a coincidence that the two people that have checked their sets have found one in each, three sets in total coming from three different vendors, we're talking about two entirely different print runs in the regular non-glossy Fleer that was issued in packs and factory sets and the Fleer Glossy print run that was only issued in the special factory tin sets.

The odds that this is an occasional sheet slipping in and it happening in both print runs and both Al and I getting them in all 3 sets are probably around the odds of you getting attacked by a great white shark and a grizzly bear simultaneously.

I think we need to find out if this is isolated to this one sheet or if the entire set is available. That will go a long way in determining what happened. I'm not sure how Fleer printed their '87 set. I don't know if they farmed out the job to different printers or if it was all done in-house somewhere.

It's certainly perplexing how the three sets seem to suggest a good amount of these cards were produced yet each set only contained one card.

I think at this point though, I'm going with the theory that Fleer took quantities of regular, non-glossy sheets of their cards and then applied gloss to them in order to build their Glossy tin sets. As opposed to doing a separate and unique print run. That would at least explain why the cards are found in regular and Glossy format.

The only picture I have of the sheet with Canseco/Lansford/Aguilera is very small and therefore quite blurry when I blow it up to see who else is on it. But, I'm fairly certain Puckett, Pete Rose, and Kevin Mitchell are also on the sheet if anyone has large quantities of any of those players' '87 Fleer card to check.

Arthur
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Old 11-17-2018, 03:33 PM
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Yeah, Patrick, but that's not it; the cards I used to illustrate are regular and gold trimmed. The latter is on the same stock as the regular issue but has a gold Topps water mark. Every regular I went through was standard white stock except the Elway.
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Old 11-17-2018, 03:35 PM
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Arthur: Another hypothesis is that the cards just got roached somehow.
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:54 PM
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Is it possible that the brown backs are a result of a different quality cardstock, or some impurity in the cardstock, that wasn't noticed at the time? And that the brown backs weren't brown backs at the time, but have become so over time due to any such impurities?
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  #25  
Old 11-18-2018, 07:34 AM
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Adam & Gary, that's definitely in play and makes sense. My only thought would be that we would see varying degrees of brown, no? The backs are just about identical to each other and yet they have been stored in different conditions for the past 40 years -- Al's in a cardboard box and mine in a metal box that was wrapped in cellophane.

That may not have anything to do it with though. It may just be a matter of time, no matter what the conditions are. It's probably the most logical theory so far though, considering no one has noticed them until now. I think it has to be that the cards were printed on a stock that wasn't treated or had a different trait that would allow them to brown over time, not that the cards were from a smoker's home. If it were an outside agent then more than one card would have been affected.

Arthur
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Old 11-19-2018, 07:03 AM
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I agree. Good thing we resolved that!
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:32 AM
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Very proud to have been a minor participate in this endeavor. I now have a better appreciation how archeologists in Egypt feel when they have solved the riddle of some tomb.

Hard to believe this set is now over 30 years old. This is likely to most attention it has gotten since the turn of the century. And I now have gone back through my set, front and back

Good work Arthur. Look forward to seeing you in March
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:38 AM
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What did I say? 40 years? Ugh. Me math good no.

I have a more glossy sets that I opened around here somewhere but like a horse's arse I put them in my monster boxes instead of leaving them in the tins. I probably should have labeled the boxes, too.

Arthur
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  #29  
Old 11-22-2018, 08:18 PM
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I have a ton of Pucketts, I'll try to dig them out this weekend.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:07 PM
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Just last week I opened a box of 1987 Leaf Baseball and noticed a similar issue with several cards. Some of the card backs are white backs and some almost appear to be missing a dark hue. I'll post some pictures later, but both variations were found of the same card in the same box. Very strange.
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:01 PM
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I had a few minutes, so I went through a box of about 1000 Fleer 1987 regular cards. I didn't find any brown ones until the last card, #660. I found another #660 and it is also brown. I don't think any of my other cards are brown. Not sure what this all means, but thought I would contribute.

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Old 12-01-2018, 01:01 PM
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Troy, thank you. That's the first brown back that isn't located on the same sheet as all the other cards. So we know it wasn't just isolated to that one sheet.

That question has been knawing at me since this thread started so I appreciate you taking the time to check your cards and post the scan, Troy.

Arthur
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Old 12-08-2018, 02:14 PM
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I notice that the 1st and last cards of sets at times turn brown in the boxes. Not sure what that means, didn't do well in chemistry. But I notice that a lot of my cardboard in the warehouse has faded , probably due to extreme summer and winter temperatures.
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Old 12-08-2018, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
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I notice that the 1st and last cards of sets at times turn brown in the boxes. Not sure what that means, didn't do well in chemistry. But I notice that a lot of my cardboard in the warehouse has faded , probably due to extreme summer and winter temperatures.

That may be it, if the box is a really acidic one, that can transfer to the paper or cardstock next to it. It happens a pot with old envelopes that have newspaper clippings inside.
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insidethewrapper View Post
I notice that the 1st and last cards of sets at times turn brown in the boxes. Not sure what that means, didn't do well in chemistry. But I notice that a lot of my cardboard in the warehouse has faded , probably due to extreme summer and winter temperatures.
This seems like the frontrunner theory so far. I'm going to see what I can do to either reinforce this or disprove it. Thanks, Mike.

Arthur
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Last edited by HasselhoffsCheeseburger; 12-09-2018 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 12-21-2018, 11:18 AM
Troy Kirk Troy Kirk is offline
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Here are scans of my second brown #660 along with a second #659 card. Scans shown are 150 dpi and 600 dpi.





From looking closer at my 1987 Fleer cards, it looks like they tend to brown a little from storage on the edges. (My cards are stored in 3200 count boxes). Both the white cards and the brown #660 cards have a bit darker edges.

I don't think my #660 cards are the result of edge browning, I think they were printed brown. One of them was stored at the back of a box, but the other was stored in the middle. I think the back of Al's #1 card was probably not facing the back of his box, either.

The brown stripe on the left edge of my second #659 card is interesting. My first thought on seeing it was that it was printed next to my brown #660. That brown stripe is much more pronounced than any other minor edge browning on other cards in the boxes.

My cards were originally bought by me in 1987 and ripped open from wax packs from three unopened boxes and have been in storage ever since.
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Old 12-21-2018, 12:04 PM
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That's acid damage from the box breaking down.

And now I know I really need to work on a storage system so I can get my cards out of boxes...
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Old 12-23-2018, 08:35 AM
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Damage from the box makes perfect sense. I just can't figure out why other cards not located against a box end would have it.

I've got my Glossy cards that have the brown backs and yet I've opened who knows how many Glossy Update sets and haven't found a single brown back in any of those. Finding a common thread among all of these cards is proving difficult.

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Old 12-23-2018, 08:36 AM
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And assuming it's damage from the box, wouldn't it be at least somewhat different between the regular cards stored in a cardboard box and the Glossy cards stored in a metal tin?

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Old 12-30-2018, 08:40 AM
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I ripped another Glossy set. I didn't find a brown back but about one third into the set I found these three cards back-to-back.



It's probably tough to tell from the scan but the Bill Doran has brown on its right edge and a little on its top edge. The front is very off-center in the opposite directions so whatever cards were to the right and above it on the sheet were clearly brown backs. Here's a better view:



So this really confuses matters. I'm not 100% ready to rule out some sort of environmental damage but the evidence is certainly pointing otherwise. The end card in this particular set, with its back against the tin, was a white back. The brown on the Doran matches up perfectly with the amount of off-centering on the front of the card. Plus, it was found well inside the set and surrounded on both sides by white backs.

Yet, why would some portions of a sheet be brown backs and other portions be white backs? That makes almost no sense. Surely there should be uniformity among sheets, right?

I can't make heads or tails of this.

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Old 12-30-2018, 11:32 AM
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I also have an 85 Tiffany Gwynn that is tan uniformly on front. That's the part of the card that is varnished, so maybe it is a varnish issue?
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:15 AM
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Adam, you think the sheet was laying on top of another sheet that had too much varnish and it transferred to the backs?

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Old 12-31-2018, 08:35 PM
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That Doran made me wonder if it was a varnish thing, but I'd think the fronts would be obviously yellowed/browned as well if it was the varnish. I do have regular Topps cards that have varnish that yellows (and a few others too), but I'm not sure about the fleer Glossy, or why it would be just certain cards.


I can see it easily being environmental for a first or last card in a cardboard box, or the edges of a whole set in cardboard. But not so much for ones in a tin. Are they in cellophane in the tin? That should sort of protect them from most environmental damage.
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:34 AM
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No, they're raw in the tin.

And if it's a transfer from another sheet, why did only the cards to the right and above it have it and not the card directly underneath it have it?

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Old 01-01-2019, 04:22 PM
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Not a transfer, a flaw in the varnish that caused the paper to tan.
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