Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taking Another Look at Jim Hickman '72

Two months ago I took a look at the lesser known Cubs variation in the 1972 set, Jim Hickman's card

The card to the left is what it should look like, the one on the right is that variation. You can see that the variation is missing all of the green on the top, in both the lettering and inside the stars. I was told that this was a printing variation, not a true error like the four Cubs cards in the first series. And then I kind of forgot about it....until a couple days ago.

I was paging through this book, which Topps put out in 1985 as they celebrated their 35th anniversary. The book has pictures of every card Topps issued from 1951 - 1985. It's a great resource; I would love to see them put out an updated book that covers their first 60 years, or at least a book that runs from 1986 - 2011.

Anyway, as I was paging through, I came to 1972. And look what I found on Hickman's page...

....the page was bigger than my scanner, so the scan is only part of the page....

....this is a close up of Hickman's card in the book.

The book used the no-green variation. That just struck me as very odd. Why didn't they use the real card? I wonder where Topps got the cards for the book? Did they not have the true card in their files?

I went to the Topps website to see what variation of the Hickman card they used for the Million and Diamond giveaways. Here is the site.

And this is what their card looks like. They are using the true card.

The other thing that the book got me thinking about is whether the card is a true variation or, as was explained to me, a printing error. When you look at the entire fifth series that the Hickman card was in, you don't see any other card with the missing green. If the Hickman card is a printing error, why was it the only card with the problem? Shouldn't every card in the series with green have the same variation, since the cards were all printed on a single sheet?

The more I think it through, the more I'm inclined to think the card is a variation like the first series cards rather than a printing error.


  1. I am currently piecing the '72 Cubs team set together. You are right, the variations in the 1st series are well known and are frequently mentioned in price guides, checklists, etc.
    I didn't even know the Hickman variation exisited until you mentioned it in your previous '72 Topps (Feb.) post. I will be watching for both versions on eBay.

  2. WW,

    I have that book too. (and their football card book!)