In 1990, multiple baseball cards showcasing George HW Bush, who played first base while at Yale, were made specifically for the White House by Topps. The rare cards now fetch thousands of dollars at auction, but recent news indicates that many of cards currently on the market aren’t of the official 100-card set given to the president.
The giveaway is the thick, clear coating on the front of the cards, a trademark evidently absent from the non-official cards.
The issue first came to light when former White House chief of staff John. H. Sununu sent 11 of his Bush cards to Joe Orlando’s Professional Sports Authenticator company to be graded. The experts at PSA, who had encountered (what were alleged to be) the Bush cards before, were surprised to see that the cards sent in by Sununu had the thick, clear coating, a characteristic that differed from the cards they’d encountered previously.
Orlando spoke the other day in an effort to placate potentially worried collectors:
For the first time ever, this has been documented and studied, and it’s clear that there are two different versions. That’s meaningful for collectors. But it’s not like one is real and one is not real. They’re both real.