Reversed Images on Vintage Football Cards

The Vintage Football Card Gallery includes at least a dozen cards on which the images are reversed. Some of these errors are noted in the price guides, and some I have noticed myself. The reversed images tend to be clustered in a handful of sets, suggesting that someone who was working on those sets was not paying attention. Three of the errors were discovered and corrected mid-production, so there are both error and corrected variations of those cards.

1948 Kellogg's Pep Charley Trippi

There are two variations of Charley Trippi's card in the 1948 Kellogg's Pep set: one with the image reversed, and the other with the image corrected. The variation shown here on the left is supposedly the error card, but I don't know how to tell. The cards picture Trippi in his college All-Star uniform.

Charley Trippi - 1948 Kelloggs Pep football card #4err Charley Trippi - 1948 Kelloggs Pep football card #4cor

1960 Topps Doug Atkins, Bill Wade, George Tarasovic, Frank Varrichione, and Del Shofner

The 1960 Topps football card set is the king of reversed images. At least five of the pictures in the set are backward. The first, Doug Atkins, is the most obvious: Atkins wore number 81, not number 18. His 1960 Topps card is pictured here, alongside his 1961 Fleer card.

Doug Atkins - 1960 Topps football card #20 Doug Atkins - 1961 Fleer football card #9

If you look closely, you can also tell from Frank Varrichione's jersey number that the image on his 1960 Topps card is backward. Here it is, next to his 1959 Topps card.

Frank Varrichione - 1960 Topps football card #97 Frank Varrichione - 1959 Topps football card #119

Likewise, you can see on George Tarasovic's 1960 Topps card that his number 82 is backward. Here is his 1961 Fleer card for comparison.

George Tarasovic - 1960 Topps football card #100 George Tarasovic - 1961 Fleer football card #124

Two clues on Bill Wade's 1960 Topps card tell us that the image is reversed: first, he appears to be left-handed on the card, and second, his number "9" is backward. His 1960 Bell Brand Rams card is shown here for comparison.

Bill Wade - 1960 Topps football card #61 Bill Wade - 1960 Bell Brand Rams football card #17

The reversed image on Del Shofner's card is the least obvious of the four in this set. Here is Shofner's 1960 Topps card alongside his 1961 Topps card. The images on the two cards appear to be from the same photo session, but if you compare the numbers and lines on Shofner's jersey, you can see that the image on the 1960 card is backward. Shofner wore number 29 for his four seasons with the Rams.

Del Shofner - 1960 Topps football card #65 Del Shofner - 1961 Topps football card #52

Dan McGrew, Chris Burford, and Tom Rychlec 1961 Fleer Wallet Pictures

The set of 1961 Fleer Wallet Pictures includes three pictures with reversed images: Dan McGrew, Chris Burford, and Tom Rychlec. It is easy to see the errors when you put the pictures alongside the players' regular issue 1961 Fleer football cards. Fleer used the same images for all of the players who appear on a Wallet Picture and a regular Fleer card, but they happened to get these three backward. Fleer made a lot more errors on the Wallet Photos, too, mostly misspelling the players' names on the backs.

Dan McGrew - 1961 Fleer Wallet Pictures football card #85 Dan McGrew - 1961 Fleer football card #140
Chris Burford - 1961 Fleer Wallet Pictures football card #18 Chris Burford - 1961 Fleer football card #204
Tom Rychlec - 1961 Fleer Wallet Pictures football card #121 Tom Rychlec - 1961 Fleer football card #137

Bob Griese and Mel Farr 1969 Glendale Stamps

It is obvious from the players' numbers that the images on Bob Griese and Mel Farr's 1969 Glendale Stamps are backward. Griese wore number 12, and Farr wore number 24. I'll bet that more of the images in the Glendale set are backward, too, but not many of the players' numbers are showing, so it is hard to tell.

Bob Griese - 1969 Glendale Stamps football card #175 Mel Farr - 1969 Glendale Stamps football card #111

Joe Namath and Dick Butkus 1972 NFLPA Vinyl Stickers

Finally, the 1972 NFLPA Vinyl Stickers of Joe Namath and Dick Butkus each come in two variations: one with the head reversed, and one with the head corrected. The corrected variations--or at least the ones that match the images on the players' 1972 NFLPA Iron-Ons--are pictured on the right.

Joe Namath - 1972 NFLPA Vinyl Stickers football card #13err Joe Namath - 1972 NFLPA Vinyl Stickers football card #13cor
Dick Butkus - 1972 NFLPA Vinyl Stickers football card #6err Dick Butkus - 1972 NFLPA Vinyl Stickers football card #6cor