The “junk wax era” of baseball cards refers to a period in the late 1980s and early 1990s when baseball card production reached an all-time high and a vast quantity of cards flooded the market, leading to a significant decline in their value and collectability.
During this era, many card companies, such as Topps, Fleer, and Donruss, printed large quantities of cards, often including multiple sets and special editions, in an attempt to capitalize on the booming popularity of baseball cards as a collectible item. As a result, many of these cards were produced in such high volumes that they became relatively common and easy to find, and their value began to decline.
In addition to the overproduction of cards, the junk wax era was also characterized by a lack of quality control and inconsistency in the production process. Many cards were printed with off-center images, printing errors, or other flaws that diminished their value and appeal to collectors.
While the junk wax era is generally considered to have ended by the mid-1990s, its impact on the baseball card industry has been significant, and many collectors and enthusiasts continue to view the cards produced during this era as having little value or significance beyond their nostalgic appeal. However, some rare or high-quality cards from the junk wax era can still command significant value on the collectors’ market.