Editor’s Introduction: In this week’s Magic Oddica TheMisprintGuy takes a look at a rare instance where another manufacturer besides Carta Mundi printed Magic cards. Check out Chapter XX of Keith Adams‘ Magic Oddica to learn all about these unique collectibles!
While Magic was still just getting on their feet, they were scrambling to keep up with the game’s increasing demand. Wizards was doing it’s best, and this included attempting to go outside their normal printers (Carta Mundi, in Belgium) and find new manufacturers of the game within the United States. One such place that was already manufacturing other card games was a place minutes away from me in Cincinnati, Ohio, called the United States Playing Card Company. They specialized in making playing cards, but had made other collectible card games for Wizards as well.
Now, there are conflicting stories on the relationship they had with Wizards and why they manufactured some Magic cards for them. One scenario is they were contracted to make them, then Wizards canceled their contract abruptly due to card abnormalities. Other stories say that USPCC made these cards in hopes of a contract, but it never happened. Either way, the USPCC produced a batch of 4th Edition cards that were never supposed to reach the public, but did. Many of us, myself included, drafted, bought, traded many of these cards, not realizing anything was unusual about them at all. Many years later, I became interested in misprints. I was already a set collector, and noticed a weird difference amongst the 4th Edition set. I began collecting my second set of these. Living in Cincinnati, these strange cards were found easily, I never even considered what I had was unusual by any means…just different. We took them for granted, or didn’t notice a difference to them in the first place. The majority of these Alternate 4th Edition cards made their way into the public in the Midwestern United States, but little information is known on how this happened. Stolen? Released by accident? Who knows. However, unopened product does say where it came from, so it seems as if this would have been by accident.
Enter Dan Bock. Mr. Bock is a collector & player who first came forward, announcing his findings to what we now refer to as “Alternate Fourth Edition.” He is also the first to publicly address the differences between the two versions, many of which I will be sharing with you.
So what is Alternate 4th Edition? It is an alternate printing of the 4th Edition we are familiar with. With some subtle differences, these cards can be identified as different from the “regular” set. All of the cards from the regular 4th Edition set can be found in its alternate version. The set applies to only the English version. Many collectors and players alike have some, and don’t even know it. So when I say many may have them, and not even know it, I mean you! Visually speaking, it is easiest to see as it is explained, so this is where a video makes things incredibly easier to follow along and learn. Grab as many 4th Edition cards as you can and follow along, here’s hoping you find a few!