Wednesday, May 8, 2013

1988 Donruss Variations

Variation (above left)  Standard: (above right)                                Arrow on back of variation (left, and below left)                    
Standard back with no arrow: (below right)


These two cards are a little bit different.  The black/red/blue patterns along the edges are on different corners.  I first noticed this years ago and never thought much of it.  I figured it was just random and maybe it is.  Then I decided to sort them a while back and was surprised to find that the one on the left is much more scarce than the other.  At the time of writing this I have 447 of this card, of which only 34 appear as the one on the left.  That number was a lot lower a week ago too, but I recently picked up a good number of these, of which 25 were of the left variation (my motivation for finally getting around to doing this post).  That's 7.6%.  For now I'm not counting them as different cards in the running tally on the right, unless someone convinces me otherwise.

That's not the only difference either.  On front you can see that the blue scans much differently.  There's also a small difference on the back.  A small "arrow" in the upper right corner on the back is present on the variation.  I'd dismiss it as just a printing error, but it shows up (without exception) on everyone of the cards shown above on the left, and none of the ones on the right.

My theory is that one of these cards is from factory sets and one is from regular packs of cards.  But even if thats the case, I'd still like to know why Donruss did this, and know whats the deal with them scanning so differently? That's just bizarre.  Those two cards above were scanned at the same time on the same scanner.  You can see it's the same image.   I even tried it with others.  Is it different card stock?  Different ink?  If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them below in the comments section.


  1. Try transposing their places on the scanner. I've noticed that the way they scan depends on where they are in the scan field for some reason.

  2. I've seen variations on Donruss cards where the backs were printed upside down from each other, and thought I saw that that was because one was factory and one was wax. Not sure how many years that was the case.