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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.