"I opened a pack of cards yesterday and the name's missing on the front. What's up with that? And what's it worth?"
This is one something that's asked regularly.
One of the drawbacks of variations becoming commonplace in the hobby is that we're starting to question every little difference we notice in the off chance it's a piece of glossy cardboard treasure.
Today, the vast majority of variations are intentional. Even if there are mistakes, they're not usually corrected like they used to be. Sometimes variations are simple printing mistakes. The no-name on front "variation" is one such error. And while not common, they're not exactly rare either.
Cards are printed on sheets. If a couple of sheets stick together, things go wonky and foil can get missed. That's a lot of cards all at once. As a result, often, if you hit one no-name card in a pack or box, you'll find several.
Like anything else, no-name errors are worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. A lot of collectors see these as errors and want nothing to do with them. However, those that collect certain players and teams might pick them up as a novelty.
Big names and rookies can fetch decent amounts. A 2014 Topps Series 2 Baseball Masahiro Tanaka sold on eBay for nearly $120. A second was only about half that though. Although both are good amounts for a simple error, this shows there's likely not a broad appeal.
There is one very major exception, the 1990 Topps Baseball Frank Thomas No Name on Front. That card has been accepted by the hobby as a legitimate error and in enough supply to draw lots of attention whenever one surfaces.
Unless you have one of the Thomas cards, don't expect to get big bids for your printing errors very often. It still might be worth testing the waters. A dollar or two here and there can add up fast. And who knows, you might just luck out and run into a bidding war. Here's a completed eBay search that shows recent sales of cards with no foil or names on the front.
On the flip side, if you're working on building a set, these flawed cards might be holding you back. If this is the case, you may want to get in contact with the card maker to have the cards replaced. All major manufacturers have details for replacements on their sites. If this is the route you're going, be sure to save your receipts and wrappers in case they're needed.
Related Topics: Baseball Cards: Guides