The 1968 Topps baseball card set is well known among collectors for containing some of the more significant error cards in the modern era of baseball card production. With an original print run of over 600 million cards, even minor mistakes and anomalies within such a massive undertaking were sure to be reproduced in significant numbers. Some of the 1968 Topps errors have become among the most desired chase cards for dedicated collectors.

Perhaps the most famous error from the 1968 set involves Phil Niekro’s photo, which was inadvertently swapped with that of his Braves teammate Tony Cloninger. This photo swap error is remarkably easy to spot, as Cloninger and Niekro looked nothing alike. It’s estimated that around 10,000 cards containing this mistake were printed before the error was caught and corrected midway through production. The Niekro/Cloninger swap is quite valuable in its erroneous state, routinely fetching hundreds of dollars or more in top-graded condition.

Another notable 1968 Topps error saw the reverse side statistics for Jim Hickman accidentally printed on the back of Billy Williams’ card. Unlike some errors, this one did not involve any visual components on the front of the card. Only the back statistical details did not match the correct player pictured. Far fewer of these statistically mismatched cards are believed to have been produced compared to photo swap errors. Still, they represent an intriguing and infrequently encountered mistake from the set.


Focusing on the Astros, a scarce error transitioned the uniform number from 22 to 12 on the card depicting Astros pitcher Don Wilson. Even in well-circulated condition, examples of this minor but identifying number change can sell for over $100. More substantially, a block of issued 1968 Topps cards featuring Astros players was found to contain swapped statistics and some transposed photos. This abnormal clustered error run is understandably quite rare and valuable among specialized Houston collectors.

Moving over to the National League East, one of the most remarkable 1968 Topps mistakes saw Larry Jacobson’s photo replaced by that of an unidentified player not found elsewhere in the set. Little is known about this mysterious unnamed ballplayer seen on Jacobson’s card, fueling intrigue and debate among researchers. Even in well-worn condition, such a one-of-a-kind photo variation can change hands for thousands of dollars between advanced collectors.


Possibly the rarest error from the lot involves Angels hurler Tom Burgmeier, whose name was incorrectly printed as “Buermeier” on some estimates cards. Only a minuscule quantity of the misspelled versions are believed to exist today. A high-quality example would be a true prize for a collector with a keen interest in statistical anomalies from 1960s-era issues. With condition being paramount for such exclusive rarities, an uncirculated “Buermeier” card could realistically attract a five-figure bidding war.

While most famous for photo and statistic mix-ups, 1968 Topps had its share of more subtle errors too. The Roy White Yankees card is known with both the correct “Y” logo and team designation in the frame, as well as a variant devoid of identifying marks. An unmarked version represents a very minor production oversight that is nevertheless cherished by meticulous collectors. Also not to be overlooked is a minute misalignment of the team name within the design layout on a small population of Cards and Dodgers cards from the releases.


The 1968 Topps baseball issue saw an impressively high number of mistakes introduced during the unprecedentedly large initial print run. As one of the most collected vintage sets of all time, errors take on great significance to specialized owners. From ubiquitous photo swaps to simply misplaced team logos, examples offer accessibility across all budget levels. The most dramatic and uncommon production blunders like the Jacobson photo variation or Burgmeier misspelling establish an elite class of condition-sensitive desirables. For error aficionados, few other releases from the 1950s and 1960s can match the intrigue and variety provided by the mistakes within 1968 Topps.

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