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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/2/2015

The highlight to this nearly comprehensive presentation of the several variations of the infamous 1989 Fleer #381 Randy Johnson Rookie Card Marlboro Ad error is one of the tougher variations to find in high-grade, a rare and uncommonly well-centered "Red Tint" version, graded BGS 9.5 Gem Mint and sharing that unsurpassed distinction with just 8 other copies in the world. Also included are four different variations graded BGS 9 Mint, another four graded PSA 9 Mint, and still another four in ungraded or "raw" condition, as explained below.

According to the excellent research provided by our consignor, after Fleer recognized the original Marlboro Ad error -- version #1 -- the company first tried to cover it up with a Red Tint, creating the first variation (or version #2). Although we believe there may be some very subtle experimental variations to the Red Tint cover-up that may be even more scarce than the basic Red Tint, such as a box through the Marlboro word beneath the Red Tint, somewhat like the infamous Billy Ripken "Rick Face" error from the same set, these are very difficult to see because of the distortion from the Red Tint and therefore have not been officially recognized.

Since the word Marlboro could still be seen through the Red Tint, however, the company then tried the same fix but with a Green Tint -- version #3 -- but this also failed to cover up the red "Marlboro" letters, creating a variation that was even shorter-printed than the Red Tint. Clearly frustrated, someone at the company then crudely scribbled over the word Marlboro in the Green Tint version. This version #4 was very poorly executed and according to most experts is most likely the scarcest of all the Marlboro Ad errors.

After failing with the Green Tint, however, Fleer then simply placed a black box over the ad, now very much like the Ripken "Rick Face," but this also failed to cover the entire sign, so you can still see its white edges around the outline of the black box in version #5. This was nevertheless a satisfactory fix, for a while, at least, and the cards appear to be about as scarce as the original error -- rare, but not crazy rare like the Green Tint Scribble. But of course Fleer wasn't finished yet. Finally, some brilliant mind decided to simply slap a black square over the entire background area where the infamous Marlboro Ad had once appeared. This version #6 is the final variation that is most commonly found, and it also the version used for the Tiffany sets.

Johnson is a first ballot HOFer in 2015. The offered Red Tint version graded BGS 9.5 Gem Mint does not come up very often and will likely meet with much higher demand as collectors start searching for Randy's rarest rookie cards once he is elected into the Hall of Fame, along with his 4,875 strikeouts, which rank as the most ever by a southpaw and the second-most ever in baseball history to Nolan Ryan's 5,714. The sub-grades for this rare Gem Mint 9.5 include an uncommon Gem Mint 9.5 mark for centering, which is extremely rare for these early variations, as most surviving examples appear significantly off-centered. The other 3 groups of four EACH contain one of the original errors, one Red Tint, one Green Tint, and one rare Green Tint Scribble -- that's three total! -- and that's all we can physically muster to write for this description. Thanks, as always for reading, and good luck!

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Minimum Bid: $200
Final prices include buyers premium: $386
Number Bids: 5
Auction closed on Sunday, May 3, 2015.
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