Price Check, Back Stamp Misprints /1st Ed. Red Cheeks Pika

I’ve been scouring the web looking for further info on Black Back Stamp error cards of the Base set.

My main reason for inquiry is that I have a 1st Edition Red Cheeks Pikachu in PSA 9 with a nice, clear back stamp (fresh grade).

I’ve seen the note on Bulbapedia (subheading “black back stamps”).

I’ve read the thread on 1st Edition stamp variations, as well as the reference threads therein. (One of the reference threads is the only other place I’ve seen mention of a Red Cheeks Pikachu with the Black Back Stamp misprint.) I note discussion suggesting these misprint cards might be counterparts to at least some Grey Stamp cards (ink-transfer theory), which would account for their origin.
Prior to submitting my card for grading, I used the above links as reference to make a Research Inquiry at PSA in attempts to ask if 1) will they recognise the error on the label (I didn’t think they would); and 2) would a black back stamp count against the grade of the card? Their exact words were: “We are not recognizing this as an error at this time”. That’s all they said.

Given the above, and the fact I haven’t actually been able to find another reference auction for sale ever, I can’t help but wonder what it might be worth–and also, how much value a Black Back Stamp misprint adds to a card generally (roughly speaking).
For example, suppose there’s a 1st Edition Base set common PSA 10 that’s selling for an average price of $100. If it has a Black Back Stamp error, what could one expect it to sell for, all else being equal? Is this possible to estimate (e.g. 2-3x value multiplier)?

I note some Black Back Stamp commons currently up for sale from around $200, to over $2000. While anyone’s free to list anything for anything, and the true value is what people are actually willing to pay (consistent going-rates), I suppose the market hasn’t yet determined the value of Black Back Stamp misprints, and many collectors don’t even know about them. That brings me here, to consult the experts.

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I’m assuming you are referring to how some 1st edition base cards have a smudge on the back near a corner which many believe to be the result of wet ink from being placed on a previously stamped card? Personally, I have an ivysaur with a smudge that is exactly where the stamp on an energy card would be. Typically these kinds of errors are veryt niche among collectors. The price is typically whatever someone is willing to pay above market as it is not (to my knowledge) a recognized error/misprint for grading companies. I would guess that in some instances they may count it as damage actually and it will depend entirely on the grader in the moment.

In summation, they are cool, but niche and therefore do not have a set determined value, but I would think the value would depend in part on the pokemon with the said “smudge/print”.

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To echo what JoeR said above, ink errors are generally not highly coveted. Error cards stand out to collectors when the mistake creates sort of a story. The Dark Dragonite 5/82 printed without foil or the Base Set Wartortle that evolves from Wartortle are clear deviations from what is supposed to be and they hold appeal for being a unique and limited departure from the expectation. These kinds of errors usually are the result in an oversight from WotC and can be attributed to human error. Someone made this mistake, this mistake was accidentally distributed as an official release, so now there’s interest there.

Ink errors like this aren’t usually the result of human error and don’t imply a story at all. Pikachu Promo #1 that was given a 1st Edition stamp and included in Jungle packs by mistake tells a small story, you know? But for a smudge or a misaligned foil or an ink smear this is a quality issue produced by a machine. They’re less of an official mistake and more of a printer problem. So they don’t have the same allure to collectors and don’t usually call for more money.

In my experience, they are usually harder to sell and worth less than the undamaged card because a regular collector wouldn’t want it for their cards and someone willing to pay more for it because of the mistake is pretty rare.

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I find the opposite to be true, I view this type of consistent error to be in line with cigar stains and holoshifts which are given a premium to that (reasonably sized) niche of collectors. I have the same pika and the wartortle and the beedrill persian miscuts etc. etc. And I find that community to hold a nice 120 to 140% on them sometimes. If you ever sell it I’d post it with the error info and a 140% current market with best offer and see what bites.

Ps the ivy pika was debunked and established as the first deliberate secret rare iirc :wink:

I suppose there’s a market for everything. I’m in no position to insist what you’re saying is not true, and I know there are enthusiasts for misprinted stuff on this forum specifically, but I would still tend to believe the market for this sort of thing is small. This is true for all kinds of collectibles — the ones with a story are much more coveted than the ones without. Historically I’ve found ink error and miscuts so difficult to sell that I stopped trying, even at a discount. It seems to me that the general populace strongly prefers the “canonical” errors they can be tied to a specific documented incident.

This kind of error is caused by wet stamp ink when it’s packaged. I just wouldn’t think many people would be willing to pay much of a markup for that. But just because I wouldn’t doesn’t mean someone else won’t.

Regarding Ivy Pikachu: I don’t know where to land on that. We know from the prerelease material and prototype packaging that Ivy Pikachu was almost certainly an intended component to Jungle boosters. But all the language was removed from the final release and no comment has ever been made on it (to my knowledge). Since cards were printed at a separate facility than they were designed, there would have had to be lead time for the production of the cards.

So either all the language was removed from packaging but the production contents were not revised, causing the “canceled” card to be printed anyway, or WotC opted to remove all language from packaging and include it as a secret. It seems very strange to me that a promotional card, whose express purpose is to promote the brand and serve as an incentive of some kind, would be kept a secret.

I still believe that the card was included by accident. I think the plan to include it was canceled but it went to print anyway. I wouldn’t stake my life on it or anything but that’s what I tend to think.

Regardless — the fact this card has a story is part of what makes it popular, you know?

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Wanted to share my experience with this. PSA docked me for the the same thing…red cheeks pika that should easily have been a 9-10, 8 minimum. Emailed them too and they say they are looking into it. MANY of the cards I had in my collection had this error and a bunch are with them right now for grading.

One of the differences I had on the pikachu was that it had more of a whitish backstamp and the 1 was less clear than OPs picture, so possibly they did not recognize it as a backstamp.

Hey I would love the opportunity to purchase this card.
If its for sale please can you message me here or on my isnta @tcg_Pikachu

I am a huge Pikachu collector and that is one of the last errors I need.

Thanks mate!

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Great discussion so far. I appreciate the diversity in viewpoints.

Regarding the notion that ink errors aren’t generally coveted, I’d raise for consideration the following ink errors which command a market premium:

-Base Clefairy Heart error
-Jungle “d” Edition Butterfree
-Base Charizard Black Dot error
-Base Blastoise Red Dot error
-Base Dragonair Rainbow error
-The aforementioned Cigar Stain error cards, blue ink-smear cards, line-error cards, etc.
-and of course, Base set Grey Stamp cards. The list goes on.
(FYI: Instagram account @professor_oaks_vintage_cards documents a lot of these.)
Is it fair to say these aren’t generally coveted by general collectors, but they are generally coveted by error collectors?

Regarding the case of stories with human oversight errors, I would agree and recognise a difference in kind between human-created graphical errors (such as Red Cheeks Pika, Missing Attack Ninetales, No-Symbol Jungle holos, etc.), especially where these errors were corrected; versus machine-created inking errors. Telling a story can be an important part of appeal.

I note it’s generally accepted that the correction of errors indicates an official acknowledgement/affirmation of error status and lends to their appeal, at least as compared to errors which were not corrected and hence aren’t rare (e.g. ©1999-23000 Arbok). I also note cases where the corrected version is actually more rare than the uncorrected version (e.g. Blaine’s Charizard Fighting Symbol error, corrected only toward the end of the printing run, and not at all for 1st Edition prints). So what do we make of corrected ink errors?

To the point of wet ink transfer causing Black Back Stamps, I would think it reasonable to consider it as something like a corrected error given the fact only a certain percentage of 1st Edition Base set cards were affected by the error. To me, this indicates an intervention of sorts occurred to correct for them early in printing either by way of allowing for additional drying time, or perhaps even by way of a reformulation of the ink as some have speculated, or maybe even climate/humidity control. Had no intervention occurred, they wouldn’t be so rare. The fact it only affected Base set cards indicates this was WotC working out printing kinks in the very early beginning, since Jungle and Fossil, etc. don’t have any such issues (although Team Rocket seemed to have different QA issues with 1st Edition stamping). Gym, Neo, and so on had no stamp issues. We only saw the Black Back Stamp issue in a small number of Base set cards.

The view I’m reaching is that although it may be true these cards have niche appeal as compared to normal cards, they do appear consistently enough to be a recognisable phenomenon. It seems fair to say that an increased valuation applies insofar as there are error hunters who actively seek them, and appreciate their rarity. But when you’re talking about a niche group targeting a niche phenomenon, consistent valuation is hard to ascertain. There simply aren’t enough examples of public sales, at least as far as I can find.

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I have one at psa now. It might be back within 6 months lol