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1990 Pro Set Football – Top 10 Error Cards



1990 Pro Set Football - Top 10 Error Cards

The 1990 Pro Set is packed with hundreds of errors and variations, making it almost impossible to collect each and every card over 30 years after. This Football Card set is an error card collector’s dream come true!

For example, the set contains misspellings, backward letterings, printing issues, mistakes with stat lines, design-element flaws, and image variations for many players.

It got to the point where it became known as ‘the living set’, such as the need to make constant changes to an ever-expanding checklist of cards.

We’ve come up with a selection containing 10 of the most popular 1990 Pro Set Error cards, along with the info about how and why they managed to make it onto the list.  

Most Popular 1990 Pro Set Error Cards 

The most popular Pro Set error cards include a number of smaller names, with a wide list of variations. 

Given the popularity and rarity of some of the cards, be aware that there is an obscene amount of counterfeits and reprints on the market at any given time. 

It’s to be expected given the haphazard way in which 1990 Pro Set Football cards were released in the first place. 

As such, we’d stick with graded items if you’re thinking about purchasing any of the cards mentioned below.


10. 1990 Ludwell Denny Pro Set #338

The first card to make the list was a last-minute replacement for Eric Dickerson. 

The Hall of Famer refused to let manufacturers use his name and likeness in 1990, so they had to change the card as quickly as possible. 

They chose to feature Pro Set founder Ludwell Denny, posed as the head coach of the New York Giants.

The Denny card has a miniscule print run, while the Dickerson version is also limited to just 40 copies.


9. 1990 Bo Jackson Super Bowl XXV Pro Set #155

The first error was an honest mistake, as there was no way of knowing that Dickerson’s card would be pulled from production because of a contract dispute. 

However, Bo Jackson’s Super Bowl XXV card error card is far more egregious. 

Anticipating that the AFC Champion Raiders were destined for the Super Bowl, gold versions were produced for twelve members of each team. Of course, the Raiders lost to the Bills in the AFC Championship game, rendering the card useless.

The gold cards make for some of the better error versions from the set, especially as they were never officially released. 


8. 1990 Barry Sanders Pro Set #1a 

Barry Sanders is a former Detroit Lions running back who played in the Pro Bowl for each of his ten NFL seasons.

“A variation rather than a true error card, Sanders was selected as the subject for a promo version given to dealers and insiders at a trade show in Hawaii.”

Similar to the base 1990 Pro Set Sanders card in most respects, it features a different close-up image of the player on the reverse.


7. 1990 Terry Wooden Error Jersey 51 On Back Pro Set #698 

A former linebacker who played for three teams in the NFL, Terry Wooden has an error card which is fairly simple to find, and inexpensive to collect. 

As the name suggests, the Pro Set designers made another embarrassing mistake, as they listed his number as 51 on the back of the card, despite a large image of Wooden wearing 90 for the Seahawks on the front. 


6. 1990 Dexter Manley Substance Abuse Variation Pro Set #772

An infamous card because of the subject matter, Dexter Manley’s battle with substance abuse is well documented

Having picked up two Super Bowl rings and one Pro Bowl nomination with the Washington Redskins before this error card was released, it’s fair to say that there was no reason to mention that the NFL suspended him in 1989 for infractions related to drug use. 

They hastily changed it to vaguely mentioning that he missed the first 10 weeks of the 1990 season. 

It’s probably a smart decision considering children were their target market. The card is an oddity, but it’s still easy enough to find in the present day.  

5. 1990 Joe Montana Pro Set Error Card #2 (Jim Kelly 3,521 Error Yards)

Joe Montana is one of the bigger names to make the list, as the first player ever to have been named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player three times.

The error on the 1990 Joe Montana Pro Set football card shows Jim Kelly’s passing yards as 3,521 when his actual passing yards were 2,829 (found on the back of the card).

It’s not the most exciting error, but Montana’s name is enough to enhance the overall value compared to many of the others. 


4. 1990 Paul Gruber Pro Set #310a

Unfortunate to be one of the star players for some of the worst teams in Bucs history, Paul Gruber is a two time All-Pro who spent 12 years with the franchise.

Missing the name, position and uni number on back, Gruber’s card is another which is a victim of the lax attention paid to quality control. 

It’s also exceptionally rare, although it’s difficult to ascertain the true value. 


3. 1990 Andre Rison Pro Set #134a

Andre Rison is a Super Bowl champion who played professionally for the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. 

With a duo of error cards from the 1990 Pro Set, the one we’re looking at has white text in the bottom corner, where it notes he was traded by Indianapolis to Atlanta. 

(The normal version is supposed to have yellow text.)


2. 1990 Fred Marion Belt Variation Pro Set #204

There are a ton of errors associated with this card. So many that Sports Illustrated called it “The Greatest Football Card Nobody Talks About“.

Fred Marion’s card makes the list due to John Taylor, who happens to be falling to the ground beside him.

Taylor’s belt is slightly unclipped, and gives the unfortunate appearance that he’s letting it all hang out during the game.

It was soon airbrushed out of later releases, but the original is still one of the more popular error cards from the set.


1. 1990 Steve Young Pro Set #666b

One of the more elusive cards in existence, this has to be seen as one of the most important Pro Set cards ever released. 

The original #666 card in the set belongs to Walter Stanley, who was a wide receiver for Green Bay, Detroit, Washington, and New England over his seven-year NFL career. 

Steve Young was the Vice President of Pro Set at the time, making for a great replacement that was never circulated in packs.


Most Popular 1990 Pro Set Error Cards: Summary  

In recent years, there was a nostalgia boom feeding interest in the 1990 Pro Set, which is packed with interesting cards that include failed superheroes, the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and even Santa himself.

That interest has cooled to some extent over the past few years, making it easier to find some of the rarer error cards at more reasonable prices. 

Some suspect that the sheer number of errors found with ‘the living set’ mean that it was done on purpose, which would help to explain their continued ineptitude.

“After all, the error cards are the rarest you’ll find in the set by a wide margin, even if they’re not as expensive as you might have thought.” 

Is it really worth collecting minor error cards for lesser-known players from 1990?

Most hobbyists seem to think not. Regardless, there are some hidden gems to be found.  

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