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Featured Collection - 1960 Fleer Tinker/Martin-Back #80 Cancelled Error Card
First, a little history about why the 1960 Fleer Tinker/Martin-back #80 cancelled error card is so important:
Joe Tinker’s Chicago Cubs claimed three league pennants in a row from 1900 to 1913, which is the same number that Honus Wagner’s Pittsburgh Pirates, and Ty Cobb's Detroit Tigers did during that span. Wagner’s and Tinker’s teams often squared off against each other with “Wagner marveling at Tinker’s defensive ability on the field, while Tinker had the utmost respect for Wagner’s powerful hitting.” Joe Tinker’s Cubs also played against Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers, even defeating them in the 1907 World Series four games to none, with one tie.
Further showcasing the connection, Tinker appears on the same checklist as Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb, his Hall of Fame counterparts, in the iconic 1909-11 T206 set that is immortalized by the most expensive baseball card ever sold. All three players were so popular among collectors that they shared spots in a multitude of sets for many years, including what was a mostly overlooked release until now. That set is 1960 Fleer.
What makes 1960 Fleer now stand out for collectors is specifically card #80, a card that Fleer presumably tried to keep out of circulation. Because the card never made it into the printing press’s normal rotation, it ended up as a combination of a standard-issue player on front — Joe Tinker — and a non-standard issue player on back — Pepper Martin. The Tinker/Martin-Back #80 cancelled error card is far more scarce than both the T206 Honus Wagner and the T206 Ty Cobb with Cobb-back. As of this writing, there are 16 PSA T206 Cobb-backs and 34 PSA cards of the famous T206 Wagner. By contrast, PSA has only slabbed three examples of the Tinker card, with no known public auction results or pictures available in either raw or graded form from any company. Based on this information, the rare Tinker/Martin-back is roughly five-times harder to find than the Cobb-back, and an astounding eleven-times more scarce than the Wagner, putting the value of the Tinker card in the priceless range.
To add to the allure of this amazing find, there are no recent or even historic sales to compare it against. The few pieces of information that can be found allude to a card that was either hand-cut, and/or apparently was not the distinct cancelled variation. This newly-uncovered example, now live at auction, was found in a large boyhood collection of pack-pulled 1960 Topps and 1960 Fleer cards. It checks in with standard-issue measurements, making it virtually guaranteed to be straight from a bubble gum wax pack.
Taking into account the total number of a given card in circulation is a defining characteristic of baseball card value. This would put the Tinker card in a class of its own, even when compared to the most illustrious and valuable baseball cards ever. The distinguished 1952 Topps set and, in particular, the Mickey Mantle in that release, is so important because of the low number of cards currently in circulation. It was the story of large quantities of those cards being dumped in a river that made them prominent in the mind of many collectors.
Likewise, with the Tinker Card, the story of Fleer trying to keep the card out of circulation makes this impossible find even more nostalgic. The only real difference between the two is that Topps made their cards rare in the process of unloading excess inventory, and Fleer, based on what little information is available, appears to have kept the cards out of the market on purpose. With that said, unlike modern day baseball card manufacturers, who issue short print cards to create value, the Tinker card is in a league of its own with truly limited quantities available. Because of the lack of historical auction results and media coverage due to the Tinker card’s scarcity, the market will make its own price now that this public auction is listed on eBay.
Comparatively speaking, with the other cards mentioned easily reaching 6+ figures, anything significantly below that for the Tinker card would be a bargain. Given that modern day baseball card companies and collectors spend millions of dollars each year producing and chasing planned error cards, true error cards like this provide an incredible opportunity.
The Cardboard Connection offers free appraisals on rare and valuable baseball and other sports or non-sport cards. Our team of experts can advise on the best way to liquidate or consign treasured collections, ensuring a fair and comfortable transaction.