On a whim, I bought a lot of 3200 Fleer commons from 1981-1985. Everyone’s favorite eBay wholsaler Kruk Cards sells random lots of these from time to time (aka: like three a week) so I grabbed one. I paid less than a penny a card and was a little unsure of what to expect. Since these sets were all before my time (I started collecting in 1986), my knowledge of them doesn’t extend much past the familiar images from the big rookies of these years. In fact, I only ever bought packs of one Fleer product- in 1989 when they positioned themselves as a premium manufacturer and convinced an 8-year old me to pay $1 a pack for that crap.
Sorting through these cards was an absolute blast, despite my relative disappointment with the contents (more on that later). I didn’t exactly feel likean intrepid explorer or anything, but it was fun to see these designs I only know in passing take a more solid form. It’s remarkable how low the quality control must have been on these things.
Anyway, heres’ a quick breakdown of how this lot shook out:
1981 Fleer (653 total cards; of total cards received)
77 unique cards (12% of 660 card set; 12% of ’81s received)
556 doubles (85% of ’81s received)
20 trash (3% of ’81s received)
1982 Fleer (427 cards; of total cards received)
124 unique cards (19% of 660 card set; 29% of ’82s received)
1983 Fleer (708 total cards; of cards received)
85 unique cards (13% of 660 card set; 12% of ’83s received)
622 doubles (88% of ’83s received)
1984 Fleer (661 total cards; of cards received)
301 unique cards (46% of 660 card set)
346 doubles (52% of ’84s received)
1985 Fleer (769 total cards; of cards received)
458 unique cards (69% of 660 card set)
310 doubles (40% of ’85s received)
Totals (3218 total cards)
1045 unique cards (32% of cards received)
2135 doubles (66% of cards received)
38 trash (1% of cards received)
All told, I’m not entirely surprised by these numbers. But I hould point out that the numbers are misleading. For instance, There were virtually no cards in the sub-100s of the 1981s. Most are in the 100s. There are similar patterns throughout each set, making the completion of the sets via vending/wax/etc. virtually useless since you’ll end up with a million doubles in the areas you’ve already got too much before you fill out those areas you don’t have any. I did rpetty well in the ’85s, but was surprised to find their overall condition lacking. It looks like someone had a near-complete set in EX- condition and that just got chucked in this box. That’s fine and all but now I feel like I’ve got to upgrade a good portion of those already. Not to mention I’ve got lots of doubles of those unique cards ina ll sets but the ’85s (e.g. 27 1981 Jon Charboneaus!) which makes trading very difficult… but bipping very easy.
Point is, I’ll be looking to hand collate these sets in the coming months, so if you’ve got a stack of early 80s commons sitting around, drop me a line. Maybe we can help finish each others’ sets… or maybe you need a dozen 1984 Fleer Steve Trouts for your “guys with fish for last names” collection that’s drying up now that you finally got that Kevin Bass Diamond King. I’ll be happy to send a stack of these out of the house so let me know if you want a list!