Q&A: Why Do Some Topps Boxes From The 80s Have Black Marks On Them?

Question: Looking on eBay I see so many 1980s Topps boxes with black marks on the covers.  What are the black marks for?

Answer: As a way to help distributors/stores clear out old inventory that had been sitting for awhile, Topps allowed for some products to be returned.  The distributors/stores would get a little money back.  Once Topps received those products back they would place black marks on the box covers.  Then Topps would ship them off to discount outlets.  In order to qualify for this the cases and/or boxes had to be complete.  Nothing tampered with.  Back then Topps did not seal their boxes in plastic like they do today.  Its very possible the people sending them back compiled packs from multiple boxes just to make a complete one.  That is the true origin of those black marks.  Complete boxes from the 1980s without the black marks will always be more desirable.  But this practice was so common you see them everywhere.

Card of the Day: Jeff Garcia 2015 Upper Deck CFL Marks Auto

Flashback Product of the Week: 1993 Diamond Marks

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Barry Colla and Terry Smith.  Two names you don’t always think about when it comes to a card set.  Combining Barry Colla’s photos with Terry Smith’s artistic talents, you get 1993 Diamond Marks.  The 1993 Diamond Marks set consists of 120 bookmark shaped cards that measure 2.5″ x 5″.  There are no autographs, relics, short prints, or rookies to look for.  This product has very little to offer.  Boxes came with 48 sealed 10-card packs.  Every box should have at least one 1993 Diamond Marks Art card.  The art set has 8 cards and have a painted look to them.  They’re probably the nicest looking cards when it comes to this product.

The only Diamond Marks cards that have any real demand come from the prototype set.  In order to gain the approval from MLB, a 6-card prototype set was produced.  This is a common practice when new companies want to use MLB team names and logos.  MLB likes to see what the product might look like before they give them the ok.  Card Collectors Co. was the main distributor of Diamond Marks.  They ran a promotion in which dealers could obtain one prototype with their order.  Player collectors seem to really like these prototypes.  Three Will Clark prototypes have shown up for sale recently.  Two of them went for around $90.00, while another got into a bidding war and sold for $255.00.  All of the prototype cards say “1993 Prototype” on the back.

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Sealed boxes are easy to find and cost about $40.00.

Brilliance Auto Contest! – NOW CLOSED

This contest is for a Anthony Morrow 2012-13 Panini Brilliance – Marks of Brilliance Auto #’ed/199.  Good luck!!!

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Contest Details:

  • This contest will end Friday, January 10, 2014 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.
  • To enter, please leave a comment in this post.
  • You can enter once per day.
  • The winner will be selected at random.
  • Please provide a valid e-mail address when entering.
  • The winner will receive an e-mail when the contest is over.
  • The winner has one week to send me their contact information or the contest will be held again.
  • Once the contest is over, I will need the winner’s mailing address so I can ship them this card for FREE!!!

Card of the Day: Matt Ryan / Harry Douglas 2008 UD SP Rookie Threads Multi Marks Dual Auto


Card of the Day: Ivan Rodriguez 1998 Donruss Signature Series Millennium Marks Auto


Card of the Day: Landon Donovan 2010 UD MLS Marks Auto