It’s subtle but it’s there. Have a closer look at each of these
two three versions of the 1989 Topps Gary Sheffield rookie card.
Left: This is the version you don’t see very often. Or maybe you’ve seen it many times and didn’t realize it, which is completely understandable. In this version, Gary’s chin is higher up in the photo and the top of his hat touches the “e” in Future Star, which is placed higher up on the card. Somewhat more of his neck chain is visible here too. Overall, the cropping of the photo is just a little further up. There’s also a flat white line along the bottom border. You’ll also notice the Topps logo is higher up on the card. This is the rarest version.
Middle: This version represents the first pass of corrections. The photo has been moved down the card so the top of Gary’s hat no longer touches the “e”, the white line along the bottom edge has been removed, and the Topps logo has been pushed down. This version is more common than the error.
Right: This version represents the final pass of corrections. In this version, the corrections on pass 1 remain with the exception of moving the Topps logo back up the card to its original location. This is the version that, if you were to buy a brick of copies of this card, most, if not all of them would be this version.
In some instances where subtle variations are found between different copies of the same card, the uncommon variation is often found exclusively in factory sets. This would support the notion that the uncommon version is less often found as a single because splitting up factory sets is generally considered a rarer act than opening packs.
1989 Topps Baseball is a set with a variety of interesting variations. The 1989 Topps Gary Sheffield fits in nicely with dialogue around errors and variations. I only discovered the existence of one of these variations a couple years back, at which point I had already put in over 25 years of collecting experience. Upon discovery, it actually took me a while to find the original error version of this card to go with my several copies of the common variety. I finally stumbled across one in a $1 bin at a show. I never, under any circumstance, thought I’d ever spend as much as $1 on a 1989 Topps Gary Sheffield rookie card but given that this was a variation of particular interest, it made sense. It was either that or a can of cola at the soda machine. I figured this was a much better investment than a frivolous commodity.
To see the current eBay auctions for the 1989 Topps Gary Sheffield, click here.
I have been collecting for 30 years and remember the Sheffield hype well. Had no idea the error existed.
You’re certainly not alone. I didn’t notice this variation until decades into collecting. Thanks for reading. 🙂
After reading this… I just searched through a container I have of of the 343 cards and have 23 of the cards with the error in mint condition. How much are these cards worth? These are included with the container full of Gary Sheffield cards we bought years ago.
Wow! Nice! It’s 1989 Topps Baseball so volume is the big kicker. Even the rare variations of cards from this set aren’t all that rare because they printed enough of this stuff to go around several times over. I did, however, buy my Gary Sheffield variation for $1. Thanks for reading.
Have you seen the 2002 fleer platinum Gary Sheffield where he is in a dodgers uniform and its a braves card?
Yep! It’s the base card.
Variation #1: Shown on the right is the error card. His hat is touching the ‘e’ in ‘Future Star’, and there is a white bar at the bottom of the card, under his name.
Variation #2: Shown on the left is Topps’ first attempt at correcting the card. There is a gap between his hat and ‘Future Star’. The white bar under his name has been removed, and the Topps trademark is very close to Sheffield’s name.
Variation #3: Not shown. This is the fully corrected, and most common card. The Topps trademark has been lifted higher, back to it’s original spot.
Thanks for providing this info. I’ve updated the article to include all three variations.
Hey, Patrick. Love the article. I have this card, and I would need to re-check to see if any of the 3 errors you list are on mine, but mine has a particular error….it came out of the pack seeming to have gotten caught in the rollers on the printing machine. Looks (and feels) like a tiny bulldozer drove over the bottom 1/5 of the card. Any idea if this makes for a valuable card?
Thanks for any input! 🙂
Thanks, Bryland! 🙂
A good way to ID market value for your item is to list it on eBay with a high BIN/OBO and see what kind of offers you get.
Thank you for this information. I have 4 cards where his head almost touching the E, and one where his head is just a bit lower.
I am looking to sell these cards. Any advise would be most appreciated.
Thanks for the comment. Given how many copies of that card were produced, resale may present challenges. However, if we were in your position, we’d list them on eBay as a lot with a starting bid at $0.99 w/ $0.99 shipping then mail out in a PWE. Good luck!