The replacement version of the 1998 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection Roberto Alomar card was purchased on January 5, 2017. After 17 different tick marks on the tracking record, it finally arrived on February 9, 2017. It was stuck somewhere for 30 days. I had to report this as missing twice to the Post Office. Only after the second attempt was the tracking record updated. I’m glad I finally received this card because I’ve been itching to blog about it for a while.
While I’m putting this in the Errors category, this isn’t technically an error; it’s a replacement. However, this isn’t a typical replacement card commonly procured via an attempt to replace a damaged card. This was an actual pack-issued replacement. The replacement process happened during the manufacturing and development phase of production. The foil text color on typical 1998 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection parallels is blue (shown on the left). In contrast, the foil color on typical 1998 Flair Showcase Masterpiece parallels is purple (shown on the right). The example of the Roberto Alomar 1998 Flair Showcase Row 1 Legacy Collection shown on the right has a combination of blue and purple foil text color. The Legacy Collection logo is printed in standard blue foil text while Alomar and the Flair Showcase logo is printed in purple foil text.
Backstory on how these combo-color text examples entered market:
A few sheets of 1998 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection parallels were backdoored i.e., stolen from the vendor (Fleer/SkyBox). As a result, a run of Row 0 parallels have surfaced featuring no name script above the stats and the serial number printed below the stats. Since the cards, themselves, are authentic but were stamped after they were stolen, these are considered ‘aftermarket’ examples but are often marketed as promos on the secondary market.
Because those sheets were missing from the total required to print the the full run of Legacy Collections, Flair used the remaining Masterpiece sheets and stamped them with the Legacy Collection logos and respective serial numbers. These are quite a bit rarer than the standard issued full blue foil text Legacy Collection examples. The Alomar shown above is the first one I’ve ever seen on the open market but there’s believed to be between 6 and 7 examples of each card in the Row 1 set that feature the combo-color foil text.
Comparing Pack-Issued and Aftermarket Examples:
To give you an idea of how to distinguish between the two different types of Row 0 examples, the pack-issued and the aftermarket, the following scan is provided for assistance. Here is a visual reference of the two different Row 0 Legacy Collections for comparison:
Here are the specific differences between the two versions:
Left: This is the correct pack-issued version. It features the script with the players name above the stats box. The serial number is on the left side of the card and the “of” between the numerator and denominator features an “O” (the letter O) in the word.
Right: This is the backdoored aftermarket example. The script with the players name above the stats box is missing. The serial number is printed along the bottom edge of the card and the “of” between the numerator and denominator features a “0” (the number zero) in the word.
Aftermarket to Market: In a story shared via the Beckett News blog on September 2, 1999, Fleer/SkyBox issued a release indicating they obtained an injunction in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania prohibiting a CA dealer from selling unauthorized cards purchased from a third party that were made by the manufacturer. The cards were unauthorized examples of 1998 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection parallels that were stolen from the vendor prior to production completion. Once stolen, they were then stamped with serial numbers and introduced into the market. Aftermarket examples of the Row 0s can be identified by their lack of player name script above the stats and serial number printed below the stats on the card backs.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Comparing Pack-Issued and Replacement Examples:
The following image features a side-by-side back comparison between the intended release and the replacement release of 1998 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection Row 1 parallels. Notice how the back of the replacement version appears identical with the only difference being the SEC number being 0. The replacement card is an authentic piece. You can tell because the “OF” between the numerator and denominator features an “O” (the letter O) in the word and not a “0” (the number zero) as shown on the aftermarket example.
To see what’s currently on eBay from 1998 Flair Showcase, click here.
Beckett Media brings us the following video featuring one excellent and insanely impressive collection of Flair Showcase cards. I highly recommend a complete viewing but if you’re pressed for time, these combo-color text variations are discussed at 11:43.Hobby Q&A: A Masterpiece of a Basketball Collection. www.youtube.com