1982 to 1991 Donruss, Fleer, and Leaf Proof-Card Collection (25)

Sold For: $540

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1260

Item Year: 1980

Category: Postwar Baseball Cards (1948-present)

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Extremely rare and very likely unique collection of twenty-five proof cards from Donruss, Fleer, and Leaf sets spanning the years 1982 to 1991. Many of the offered cards possess a subtle difference when compared to the final-issue card, which makes them particularly noteworthy and desirable among advanced collectors.

1) 1982 Fleer Test Proofs (10 cards): Each card is marked "Test Card" in the area of the nameplate and features the name, position, and team of a player along with a photo of another player. Seven cards have player names listed (Tony Armas, John Ellis, Rick Honeycutt, Cliff Johnson, John Lowenstein, Billy Sample, and Ken Singleton) while three have blank nameplates. Each card is printed on a thinner, blank-back stock than normal final-issue 1982 Fleer cards. All cards present as Near Mint or better, with centering the only visible flaw.

2) 1988 Donruss Blue-Line Paper Proofs (3 cards): Printed on blank-back, paper-thin stock entirely in blue and white. Each card differs from the final-issue version: Ken Caminiti (last name misspelled Caminetti), Will Clark (photo is actually Jim Gantner), and Paul Molitior (position is listed as 3B, instead of 3B/DH). Each card is in Near Mint or better condition.

3) 1990 Donruss the Rookies Blue-Line Paper Proof (1 card): Proof of Larry Walker printed on blank-back, paper-thin stock entirely in blue and white. In the final set, Walker was replaced by Jerry Kutzler. The Walker card has been folded in half and has a stray ink mark on the bottom border. Accompanied by a final issued version of #25 Kutzler.

4) 1990 Leaf Blue-Line Paper Proofs (3 cards): Proofs of Delino Deshields printed on blank-back, paper-thin stock entirely in blue and white. Two proofs are of the final issued card (front and back) while the third proof shows an earlier version of the Deshields card utilizing a different picture. Accompanied by a final issued version of #193 Deshields. Each card is in Near Mint or better condition.

5) 1991 Donruss "The Rookies" Black-and-White Glossy-Paper Proofs (2 cards): Proofs of Chuck Knoblauch and Mo Vaughn printed on thin, blank-back stock. Each proof features the player's team logo in the lower left, which was replaced on the final issue card with "The Rookies" logo. Each card displays a horizontal fold in the bottom third of the card and is accompanied by an example of the final issue card.

6) 1991 Leaf Black-and-White Paper Proofs (6 cards): Printed on black-and-white, paper-thin stock with blank backs. Consists of front proof of Brad Arnsberg (never issued; replaced in the final set with Goose Gossage, as written on the front), reverse proof of Goose Gossage, front and back proofs of Mark Whiten (different photo on front and different weight listed on reverse), and front and back proofs of Steve Finley (position changed from OF on proof to CF on final card and hometown changed on reverse from Paducah, KY on proof and Baltimore, MD on final card). Each card is in Near Mint or better condition and is accompanied by an example of the final issue card.

This is an extremely unusual and fascinating group of production rarities that would be very much at home in even the most advanced proof-card collection. Total: 25 proof cards plus 7 final-issue cards for comparison. Reserve $200. Estimate (open).


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