Contributor: Discussion with Desmond Aw
One month or so ago Desmond Aw from Singapore wrote to me with scans of his unusual 1996-97 SP Michael Jordan #16 card. This would turn out to be a very interesting discussion; stumping several long time collectors of Michael Jordan cards and seeing us receiving varying information from Beckett and Upper Deck.
The standard card shows the SP hologram effect to the left flowing down to the base of the card at an angle and trapping (or overlaying) into the background of the player photograph to approximately one-third the card’s width though continuing into the black border below the player name area. The card to the right is the 96-97 Michael Jordan SP #16 card you normally see.
As you can see on Desmond’s card below the trapping of the SP hologram effect continues completely throughout the lower half of the card. It overlays not only the player photo (albeit not Jordan himself) but also the red bordering and player name areas.
Desmond pulled this card from a pack himself and found only the Jordan card to have the effect; all other player cards in the pack featured the standard 96-97 SP design.
I had seen a card like this in the past however could not track down any concrete information. I asked several long time collectors and, though some had seen it before, no one could provide any information about what this card is and why it was printed. General consensus between Desmond, myself and the other collectors was that the card was a printing error.
Desmond wrote to Beckett who confirmed that they also believe the card to be a printing error and that they had seen cards with this effect before for other players but never in a Jordan card. Since Desmond pulled the card from a pack this was looking to be case closed.
Interestingly though, I wrote to Upper Deck who provided a different explanation. Upper Deck replied stating that they believe the card was a promotional card sent to card shops along with their orders of Upper Deck merchandise.
I have just written back to Upper Deck to ask if this can be confirmed as definite and to request any information on the print run of these cards available.
Here are the cards side-by-side so you can easily see the differences.
Update 24 Feb 2012: Upper Deck have just responded stating that they have no way to 100% verify that the card was definitely a promotional item sent out to dealers. In addition Upper Deck do not release print run numbers for cards which are not individually numbered.
So we either have a card with a printing error (of which Beckett have never seen a Jordan before) or a card deliberately printed as a promotional card which some how made it into packs. Unfortunately there looks to be no way to further investigate this card other than to appeal to the collecting community.
This is certainly a unique and rare card with no great detracting features like most mis-printed cards (assuming it is in fact a mis-print).
We are keen to hear from anyone who can provide more information for either possibility – are you a card shop owner who received a card with this effect (not necessarily a Jordan) from Upper Deck back in 1996-97? Or have you had some other experience with the card before?