1990 DONRUSS AQUEOUS TEST BOB OJEDA
The 1990 Donruss set committed the dual sins of being both ugly and overproduced.
Truth be told, Donruss had been on the road to this set for years.
After reaching the Platonic ideal of Donrussness with their 1984 set, the company began cranking up the printing presses each year after, and putting less and less care into their card designs.
So when this set dropped with a splodge early in 1990, the garish red borders freckled with black and white blotches took no one by surprise. Nor did the fact that boxes could be found in every card shop, grocery store, toy store, gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse from coast to coast…
However, buried beneath the muck and mire of this set, there is an actual rarity: certain cards, such as this Bob Ojeda, can be found with the text “Aqueous Test” overprinted across the stats on the reverse. It is thought that Donruss was testing a water-based coating for the card fronts, and had stamped the affected cards in order to differentiate them from the regular print run.
For many years, the common assumption was that these aqueous cards had been “back-doored” into the hobby, ie, sold to dealers by someone at the printing company. However, in recent years these “Aqueous Test” variants have shown up in wax packs, an indication that at least a small number saw an unintended general release.
So if you were sentient in 1990, take a few minutes to flip through your inevitable stack of thousands of that year’s Donruss cards, on the off chance that there might be some treasure lurking therein…