Why Does My Nico Hoerner 2020 Topps Baseball Card Come in Different Colors?

Visitor, Mike Rizzuto, posed the following question:

I have something current that I’ve found with 2020 Topps series 1. Being a die hard cubs fan and getting a glimpse of him at the end of last year, I was excited to collect Nico Hoerners rookie card. After picking up a few copies of it, I noticed something peculiar. I spent 14 years in the printer industry, so i guess my eye is trained to spot discoloration or change in color consistency. I have quite a few Nicos that have almost a purple jersey. I thought it was my copies, so I purchased a few on eBay and noticed it again. I figured I would test my theory on the parallels and opening day, and it doesn’t feature this discoloration. Even more recent copies show a flush blue jersey. I’ve attached multiple versions of what I’ve found. Would love to hear your thoughts!
-Mike Rizzuto

Nico Hoerner 2020 Topps #70 Variation Comparison
Nico Hoerner 2020 Topps #70 Variation Comparison | Source: Mike Rizzuto

Consider the following theories:

1. Ink Levels Influence Print Quality

In my experience, color quality/robustness can be influenced by the state of the ink cartridge cycle. It’s a lot like when something is printed using a standard household printer. When link levels approach End of Life (EOL) status, color richness/accuracy begins to fade.

Printing isn’t an exact science, and it’s not realistic to expect colors to be replicated exactly across the total yield of high volume printing projects. They’re often close enough though and that’s what counts. In credible printing and manufacturing, there’s an acceptable range of variance. While these Nico cards show some degree of color variance, they likely all fall within an acceptance range.

2. Different Machines Produce Different Results

It might also be worth noting that, and while I can’t confirm this with any degree of certainty, Topps may be printing its base sets in multiple locations. If that’s the case, then it would explain why colors would vary slightly from card to card. Different machines can sometimes produce different results. Again, I have no way to back this up; it’s just a thought. The multi-location theory could very well be false. If Topps is printing everything from one stand alone factory, however, then the ink levels theory would make more sense.

To see the current eBay auctions for the 2020 Topps Nico Hoerner, click here.

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