Although I've been a part of this hobby for decades, it wasn't until just this year that I began paying closer attention to the Jeff Treadway 1989 Fleer #173A. To be quite honest, this card remained well under my radar for many years since it first appeared on the market during the tail end of the first wave of the butt-rock era of the late 80's. It's simple really, my focus was thoroughly distracted by my incessant hunt for Frank Thomas cards. In some ways, it still is. Over time however and as I've matured as a collector, I've widened my focus to include research on errors. This one in particular caught my eye as it hosts a type of misprint that's not seen on other cards, at least not to my knowledge. This may possibly be the only card that features this target. This error is rather unique and easy to miss if you are generally unaware of it or if you are unclear on how it's defined.
If you look closely at the version on the right, you'll notice a floating target just above Jeff's head. This target character is similar to something that's often found in Adobe creative suite like Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. If you take a look at the centerpiece of my Photoshop screenshot, you'll notice a similar target character. With that in mind, let's consider a hypothesis that involves earlier installments of these programs.
Hypothesis of Origin:
Due to the use of a much earlier version of today's popular creative suits, I'm going to assume discrepancies in technology and general user experience. When we use a creative suite today, this target immediately disappears upon saving the document or even upon releasing pressure from the command key. I would have to be naive to assume that that's the way things were in similar software from the late 1980s. Perhaps in this case operation of said software was simply more manually oriented than it is today. Perhaps the case is that the user had to manually remove the target during pre-production. If that's so my hypothesis retains some credibility, and pairs nicely with the inevitability of human error.
As I've stated in previous posts, long hours increases probability of fatigue and hence chance of error. In this case, the Adobe guy was likely working on fumes and clocked out one step too early and the first run of this card accidentally got overlooked and made it into production. This error was likely caught early meaning that there are much fewer in circulation compared to the corrected version and this would explain the significant value discrepancy between the variations. On the flip side, perhaps this error was intentionally created to manipulate consumer demand, or better yet backdoored for sale to secondary market for some quick cash. Whichever assumption you adopt is up to you. It doesn't really matter either way, it's unlikely we'll ever know the origin given that Fleer has long since been dissolved. A rad error nonetheless.
Question of the Day:
Do hairdressers pay other hairdressers to get their hair done or do they just bypass the middleman and do it themselves?