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What You Need To Know About The 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. Error Card

1990 topps ken griffey jr error card

The 1990 Frank Thomas NNOF error card and other Blackless error cards understandably get the most buzz and are valued accordingly.

However, the 1990 Topps set contains several notable error cards that aren’t blackless errors. One of such is the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card.

Ken Griffey’s incredible combination of power, speed, athleticism, and genuine love for the game ensured he had a career that guarantees his cards are always in high demand. Surprisingly, the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr card is worth more than the Frank Thomas rookie (with his name on the front).

Shop for 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error cards on eBay

Griffey is undoubtedly one of the most electrifying players in MLB history. A 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner, Griffey Jr. set the standard for outfield excellence. Griffey was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with the highest voting percentage ever.

This article shall discuss everything about the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card. From the type of error to its actual value in today’s market.

1990 Topps

The 1990 Topps Baseball set is one of those instantly recognizable baseball sets. It’s also one of the few junk war-era sets that hold ample value even in today’s market. Its checklist is solid, with rookies of several of the era’s top stars.

The 1990 Topps set consists of 792 standard-sized baseball cards – one of the largest sets of the time. Printed on grey stock, the set was organized by teams, with each franchise represented by a comprehensive selection of players, from seasoned veterans to promising rookies such as Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa, Bernie Williams, Larry Walker and Juan Gonzalez.

Shop for 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error cards on eBay

The front of the card has a non-glossy finish and features action shots of the players. Its borders are a fading multi-colored rotating pattern (orange, blue, red, green, and purple), which does not correspond with the team’s colors.

However, the photographs have a colored frame related to the team’s colors. As usual, the reverse side contains the player’s personal information, career statistics and a few lines of player trivia.

The 1990 Topps set also contained several different subsets, including:

  • All-Stars
  • Checklists
  • Manager Cards
  • Nolan Ryan 5,000 Strikeouts
  • Record Breakers
  • Topps All-Star Rookies
  • Turn Back The Clock

If you would like to read more about this set, we covered everything about the 1990 Topps error cards in this article.

About Ken Griffey Jr.

Born November 21, 1969, George Kenneth Griffey Jr., affectionately known as “the Kid,” enjoyed an impressive 22-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career. Griffey is considered one of the best ever to play the game. In his first 11 seasons with the Seattle Mariners from 1989 to 1999, he solidified his status as one of the era’s most dynamic and prolific players.

He accumulated a remarkable stat line of 1,752 hits, 398 home runs, 1,152 runs batted in, and 167 stolen bases. He showcased an unparalleled blend of power and versatility.

Griffey led the American League in home runs for four seasons(1994, 1997, 1998, and 1999), securing the A.L. MVP title in 1997. He maintained an impressive .297 career batting average.

Ken Griffey, Jr. by Jodycl is licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED

Beyond his offensive prowess, Griffey’s defensive skills in the center field set a gold standard during the decade. His remarkable streak of ten consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1990 to 1999 attested to his exceptional fielding abilities, further solidifying his reputation as a complete and elite player.

While Griffey was a tremendously skillful player on the pitch, he was a gem of a human off the pitch. His infectious smile and genuine love for the game endeared him to fans worldwide. When people remember Griffey, they first talk about how he always played the game with a smile on his face.

Griffey represents everything baseball is meant to be. He was incredibly skillful, loved the game, played hard, loved his fans, and respected everyone. All this combined to ensure his trading cards almost always hold their value incredibly well.

Shop for 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error cards on eBay

1990 Topps Ken Griffey error card – the bloody scar

The 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card is a red scar on his arm. Popularly called the “bloody scar error”. Every single copy of the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr card in the entire print run has a blemish on his arm. A close look at his arm in the bottom right of the card shows some kind of scar – like a rug burn or a scab.

The scar is more prominent and “reddish” in the first versions of the card. Topps tried to airbrush it out and, in their attempt, created over six different color variations of the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card.

There exists a variation of colors, as Topps tried to airbrush the scar out. What sets apart the various versions of the card is the tone/shade differences. The several attempts to airbrush the scar led to several coloured variations.

  • Ken Griffey Jr (red blotch on the arm)
  • Ken Griffey Jr (blue blotch on the arm)
  • Ken Griffey Jr (yellow blotch on the arm)
  • Ken Griffey Jr (green blotch on the arm)
  • Ken Griffey Jr (brownish blotch on the arm)
  • Ken Griffey Jr (grey blotch on the arm)

Top Four 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card eBay sales in Febuary 2024

To guage the current value of the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card, we shall look at the top four eBay sales over the last few weeks.

CardAmountDate Sold
1990 Topps KEN GRIFFEY JR. All-Star Rookie #336 Bloody Scar ERROR- VERY RED SCAR  $499Feb 1, 2024
1990 Topps # 336 Ken Griffey Jr 4048 PSA 10 Gem Mint Combined Shipping  $423Feb 16, 2024
Ken Griffey JR. 1990 Topps Rookie Cup Card #336 PSA 10 GEM MT Mariners HOF  $434Feb 16, 2024
1990 Topps Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr #336 BGS 9.5 GEM MT Pop 7 None Higher Mariners  $305Feb 25, 2024

The value of the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card

The error on the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card is a minor error. It is basically a printing mistake, typical for the printing methods of the era. It might not be worth talking about if it occurred on a card featuring a less popular player.

However, this error card has some value because of Griffey’s reputation and successful career. It’s also worth pointing out that the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey card was highly anticipated, being his second year.

However, the several variations of this card make it quite tricky to put a fixed value on how much it’s worth. Depending on its condition, the more common color variations cost around $2 – $5. However, the right variations are selling for significant figures. The most common variations, red and yellow, are extremely easy to find.

According to the PSA, they are valued between $2 to $5. The third most common variation is where the scar looks brownish. These are difficult to find and cost as much as $100 for a PSA 10-graded card. The 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card with the greenish scar is rare and commands ample value. PSA 10 versions can sell for as much as $500.

Avoid overpaying for this card

Griffey’s star power and how well-loved he was have ensured this card is quite a hit with error card collectors. However, its true worth is far less than what some fraudulent sellers try to sell it for on eBay to unsuspecting collectors. A quick eBay glance will show lots of listings above $10,000.

However, filtering this by the “completed sales” would help curious collectors find the actual average value of the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey error card.

Indeed, it is true that a trading card is worth whatever a collector is willing to pay for it. A collector may have paid a premium for some version of this card for some reason. However, that’s not what this card is worth.

A general consensus is that the $10,000 sales that pop up on eBay are suspicious. From completed sales from the PSA, the average value of the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey error card greenish scar is $400 for PSA 10. The average value for all variations is far less at $3 for ungraded cards, $15.29 for PSA 8 and $19.99 for PSA 9.

While the value might seem small compared to the insane listings on eBay, it’s best to remember that this card is from a junk wax-era set. Millions of copies of each card were printed. Most cards from the era aren’t even worth $1.

A junk wax-era card selling for above $100 is a significant feat that speaks of just how much of a player Ken Griffey Jr was.

Bottomline of the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error card

In conclusion, while the 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. error card may not be worth tens of thousands of dollars like some collectors would hoped, it undeniably holds ample value in the hobby.

As a collector’s item, any Ken Griffey Jr card is a valuable addition to any baseball card collection. His enduring legacy ensures that his card’s value will likely continue its upward trajectory. A $500 card today would be worth much more in a few months.

However, as with all junk wax-era cards, remember that there are still several millions of versions of these cards out there. This abundant supply places a firm ceiling on how much the card is worth.

If you’d like to invest in a Ken Griffey Jr trading card with significant value, this article covers the best Ken Grifffey Jr rookie cards you can invest in.

Shop for 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr error cards on eBay

John Bassey

John Bassey

John is a freelance writer and founder of WordCraft Consult, a consultancy that provides expert writing services and enhances youth engagement in reading. With six years of writing experience and over 300 clients, He has made significant contributions as a content writer for several brands, such as Tech Triangle, KBO Bikes, Dolls Magazine, and, more recently, Cardlines.

John has a Bachelor's degree in Statistics and an enduring passion for creating content.  He is  currently dedicated to nurturing WordCraft while advancing appreciation for collectibles and literature through highly informative articles. 
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