But one of the most magical moments in card history came in 1989, when Fleer "erroneously" let a Billy Ripken card slip out with the infamous "F-Face" on the bottom of his bat. To say that this card created hysteria would be a massive understatement. Personally, I recall our local Hills Department stores limiting you to two packs per customer, which consequently resulted in people walking in and out of Hills and spending .98 over and over again.
Eventually, the hysteria died down. Today, the original Ripken card can be had for as little as $2.49 on the eBays. However, there are numerous variations that are still quite difficult to find, as outlined on the awesome Billripken.com website.
--2000 Lavar Arrington rookie cards
Reason: Lavar's a Pittsburgh boy, so I should cut him some slack. But when he came into the league in 2000, he was a professional pain in the neck for card companies. The famous Leaper would not give his licensing rights to the manufacturers, so any Arrington cards already produced were either pulled or cut out.
Value: The cutout on the left is available for $31, not bad for a card that is 90% air. The Upper Deck card on the right is listed at $80. There's no truth to the rumor that the value of these cards crashed due to Lavar's appearance as a judge on ESPN's Dream Job.
--2006 Bowman Leon Washington Autograph
--Reason: He's flipping off the camera! Twice! He blamed it on a sign for the east side of Jacksonville.
Topps offered to replace the card to those easily offended.
--Value: I found one for $31 and another for $80.
--The 2007 Topps Derek Jeter
Reason: According to Topps, these technically weren't pulled, but rather replaced at midseason. The card features GW Bush cheering on Jeter as the Mick watched from the dugout. While the vision of George Bush attending a ballgame is believable, they got greedy by including Mantle.
The company had the opportunity to pull the card but decided to let it go. After all, they learned their lesson from 2006: error cards drive sales.
Value: Here's one for 10 bucks!
--2007 Upper Deck Michael Eisner
--Reason: Upper Deck produced the card as a parody of future Topps owner Michael Eisner. Presumably, Topps was not amused. Upper Deck subsequently issued a recall of the cards.
--Value: You can "buy it now" for $100.
--2007 Upper Deck "Asterisk"
--Reason: A simple card with a hand-drawn asterisk, this was taken as a shot at Barry Bonds and the card company that pays Barry Bonds, Topps. Yeah, I could see that.
Upper Deck later released a statement saying that the cards were not intended for distribution.
--Value: Want to make a statement and own one of these? Be prepared to drop $1,756.25.
So what can we conclude? People love hype. And while it's taken them nearly 20 years, it looks like card companies have finally figured that out. Either that or they've become incredibly sloppy with their proof stage. I'm betting on the former.