1990 was another interesting and yet somewhat entertaining year for Upper Deck manufacturing. The 1990 version of the manufacturing staff there at the plant enjoyed some fun that year. This Ben McDonald 1990 Upper Deck #54A is one of my favorite errors to come out of ’90 Upper Deck. This card has a bit of a history. When this card first surfaced in 1990, it was a hot commodity due in part by the fact that McDonald was a promising pitcher with a bright future. Back in ’90, pulling this card was a bid deal. This card was once fetching $50 in its prime. However, due to a less than expected pitching career and the ultimate retirement due to shoulder problems, this card has basically fallen into obscurity. You simply don’t hear much about this guy or this card anymore. Today it can be had for much less but there’s a catch… it’s still surprisingly difficult to locate. Here’s some perspective, this card came out in 1990, it’s 2011 as I write this! It’s just a very difficult card that Upper Deck quickly corrected before bazooka blasting millions of copies of the COR version (left) into the market.
So why is this card tough to find? Consider once again, the issue of supply and demand, the foundation on which our entire economy is built. After Ben’s career fizzled, collectors quit buying. When consumers quit buying, sellers quit stocking. Hence, seller’s these days won’t carry or simply won’t pay any attention to this card even if they did have it. And even if they did have this card, it’s probably in some back stockpile of 5000 count boxes that neither he nor I have the time to sort through for the slim possibility of finding this card. This in itself is a dubious scenario alone because it’s rare to find anyone sitting on tons of ’90 Upper Deck commons just for the sake of it anymore. ’90 Upper Deck back stock takes up a ton of space and it’s not worth a whole lot so it really doesn’t make sense to carry this stuff if you don’t have to. So scrap that idea. Additionally, given the sheer low demand for this card in general, it’s no longer listed in the major price guides. In fact, because it’s unlisted, it’s considered a common which essentially means it’s worth pennies. Given its unlisting and unless you collected back in 1990, it’s very easy to miss or even be completely unaware of its existence in the first place.
If store hunting is unsuccessful, I would recommend scouring the online market. This is also a crab shoot as online results are similar to brick/mortar stock diving. The difference is better odds of finding the card but you’ll likely pay a little more given its availability to the world of online buyers. There might be 10 other guys on the planet looking for this card. If it’s an auction style listing, be prepared for a bidding war. However, sometimes you can find an uneducated seller but even then, they probably won’t put something up for auction for which they are unaware so that option is automatically nixed on principle. But then again…
My advice if you’re ever in the market for this guy, keep your eyes out on eBay but be prepared to pay slightly more than a few pennies.