Fleer’s 3D Acrylic Basketball Cards Are Junk Wax Era Gems

1991-92 Fleer Basketball isn’t much to talk about.  The set consists of (400) cards which were distributed between two series.  It does have it’s share of rookies such as Kenny Anderson, Steve Smith, and Dikembe Mutombo.  But these cards are so overproduced their value is next to nothing.  It doesn’t seem to matter how overproduced a product may be, there almost always is some type of scarce version.  That holds true for this set.

Throughout the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, card manufacturers weren’t afraid to make what they call 3D cards.  99.9% of the time this involved using lenticular technology.  That’s the stuff that makes a high-pitched sound when you run your fingers over it.  This noise is the perfect sound that would make your dog do that head tilt thing.

On the backside of these packs you’ll see a special offer from Fleer.  For the price of $4.99, plus shipping and handling, and (3) pack wrappers, you could’ve gotten yourself a 3D parallel of any card from the base set.  Unlike other 3D cards at the time, these do not use lenticular printing.  They’re made up of multiple layers of an acrylic, acetate-like material.  Fleer even included a display stand for each card.  The images really do jump out at you, and live up to the 3D name.  In order to get the full experience, you need to see one in person.  Scans aren’t always the best.

Like I said before, many overproduced sets have some sort of scarce parallel.  These 3D cards are it for 1991-92 Fleer Basketball.  Apparently not a lot of people took part in this wrapper redemption program.  The collectors who did, found out these cards are very condition sensitive.  Regular base cards are barely worth a thing, but 3D versions reach into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Fleer could have made up 3D versions of every base card.  Whether or not each card was requested at least once is a mystery.  Top players like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Larry Bird, and John Stockton were popular requests.  Fleer could have easily destroyed whatever they had leftover once the promotion ended.  A 3D parallel may have been made for each base card, but I can guarantee you not every one has surfaced.  A print run for the cards that were distributed would massively help.  If that info ever existed it is long gone.

Another possibility is that Fleer had these 3D parallels made as they were requested.  If a player wasn’t requested, there may have never been a 3D parallel.

Basketball collectors definitely had the better mail-in offer from Fleer in 1991.  Football collectors had the opportunity to get a pin, while baseball collectors could’ve gotten (10) heavy-duty top loading album pages.

True gems from the junk wax era.

1995 Fleer Christmas Trading Cards – Don’t Eat The Yellow Snowflakes

Wow!  Junk wax from the 80’s and 90’s really produced some crazy stuff.  That includes entire products dedicated to holidays like Easter and Christmas.

Fleer’s Christmas Trading Cards hit store shelves in 1995.  This isn’t a sports product with Christmas characters randomly thrown in like we see done today.  Oh no.  In fact, there are zero sports figures included in this set.  Its nothing but Christmas characters.

The entire set contains (42) cards.  Over those (42) cards, (6) themes are covered – Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Christmas Songs.  Its a very artistic set.  Contributing artists include Greg Hildebrandt, David Delamare, Joe Boddy, and Turl MacComble.

Have you been dying to know if there are any chase cards?  Yes there are.  One card from each theme has a Golden Memories parallel.  Looking almost exactly like the base, these parallels have the Golden Memories logo in the upper left corner on the back.  Gold snowflakes also adorn the back instead of the standard yellow ones.  I don’t think anyone enjoys yellow snowflakes.

Needless to say, this product never made it past the Premiere Edition.  Boxes, packs, and singles are readily available on the secondary market.  Unless its a small, niche set sold as an online-exclusive, Christmas products such as this traditionally don’t survive.  (36) packs of Christmas cards is just way too much.

If you’re going to make a Christmas product.  Go all-in and make it super high-end.  I want a cut signature of the actual St. Nick that lived from the year 270 A.D. to 343 A.D.  Charles Dickens cut signatures.  Redemption card for a 1st edition of A Christmas Carol.  Cut signature of Clement Clarke Moore, author of Twas the Night Before Christmas.  We could call it A Transcendent Christmas.

Card of the Day: 1995 Playboy Chromium March 1990 Cover Cards Edition 1 #85

Remember When CBS Made Football Cards?

CBS loves to keep reminding you of what you already know you’re watching.  If you took a shot every time they said “This is the NFL on CBS.” you’d probably pass out before they held the coin toss.  I remember Saturday Night Live making note of this back in the 90’s.  Kevin Nealon played Jim Nantz, and he kept repeating “This is the NFL on CBS.” over and over again.  “CBS proudly presents The Masters.” is another one you hear a lot.

Television stations are the last places you think about when it comes to card manufacturers.  For a very brief moment in 1989, CBS made football cards.  Now, this was not some nationally distributed product that came in a fancy box.  It was more like a 10-card set shipped in a few envelopes.

For those members of the 1989 CBS Football Announcing Team who either at one time played in the NFL or coached, received a card.  The players include: Terry Bradshaw, Dick Butkus, Irv Cross, Dan Fouts, Pat Summerall, Gary Fencik, Dan Jiggetts, John Madden, Ken Stabler, and Hank Stram.  As you can see, the cards feature an action shot of the person during their time in the NFL.  The photos were then placed on a green football field with a white yard mark.  On the back you’ll find a horizontal layout containing a head shot, biography, and stats all bordered in red.

CBS split this set up into two different releases.  Each issue has five cards.  They were sent out to various CBS representatives probably as a marketing tool.  Although they aren’t serial numbered, only about (500) sets are suppose to exist.  The price for an individual card and/or complete set can be all over the place.  It definitely is one of those oddball sets from the late 80’s.  The set’s official name is 1989 CBS Television Announcers.

How To Spot Fake 1952 Wheaties Hand-Cut Cards

“You better eat your Wheaties.” is a phrase ingrained into American culture.  Starting in the 1950s, Wheaties began to team-up with athletes.  Olympian Bob Richards was the first athlete to be featured on the front of the Wheaties box.  Since then, Bruce Jenner, Mary Lou Retton, Walter Payton, Chris Evert, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Dale Earnhardt, Brett Favre, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Michael Phelps, Mia Hamm, and Muhammad Ali have all graced the box cover.

Wheaties has issued various trading card sets with their cereal.  In 1952 they released a 60-card multi-sport set.  Card subjects range anywhere from baseball stars to professional divers.

We live in a time where anything and everything can be counterfeited.  Years ago someone forged a lot of these cards, and they made their way onto the market.  They’re still floating around.  It certainly isn’t the most expensive set in the world.  Perhaps that is why they thought they could get away with it.

Here are a few tips on what to look for in authentic/counterfeit 1952 Wheaties cards:

  • Hand-Cut – These had to be cut-off the side of the cereal box by collectors.  If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  They won’t be perfect.  Major condition issues.
  • Stains – Authentic examples tend to have stains on the back.  Not uncommon when you have cards included with a food product.
  • Border Color – Counterfeits usually have very bright white borders.  Authentic cards have borders which are a bit darker in color.
  • Reverse Color – The back should be completely blank, and a grey color.

Authentic front

Authentic back

How To Spot Fake 1989 Score Football Cards

Five cards come to mind when I think about 1989 Score Football – Barry Sanders #257, Troy Aikman #270, Derrick Thomas #258, Deion Sanders #246, and Thurman Thomas #211.  Do you know what each of them have in common?  All are rookie cards, and each one has been counterfeited over the years.  Specifically, Barry Sanders and Troy Aikman.

There are four key areas on these cards that can assist you in identifying a counterfeit:

  • Score logo on front
  • Red star on front
  • Black lines around the helmet on front
  • NFLPA logo on back

On counterfeit examples, fuzzy dots make up each of these parts.  You should be able to clearly read each word in the NFLPA logo.  Authentic examples have clear, crisp pictures, and the colors are solid.  Fuzzy printing has always been a common sign when it comes to counterfeit cards.  The printing methods just aren’t as superior as the manufacturers.  CLEAR = GOOD.  FUZZY = BAD.  Using a common base card from the 1989 Score Football set which isn’t worth a dime can be used as a comparison.  Special treatment wasn’t given to those five cards.  They were all printed the same way.

How To Spot Fake 1950 R423 Cards

Made available in 13-card strips, the 1950 R423 set certainly isn’t the first vintage set that comes to mind.  Its obscure, and can easily be overlooked.  They were most likely sold through bubblegum machines.  Card fronts feature a photoengraved picture.  Backs come in a variety of colors such as orange, red, green, blue, and purple.  Measuring only 1-5/8″ x 1-7/8″ they’re really small.  You could easily mistake them for a postage stamp.

Condition is a major issue.  It always is when cards come in a strip that needs to be pulled apart.  Examples in decent condition can command hefty asking prices.  WATCH OUT FOR COUNTERFEITS!

Below are a few tips when it comes to identifying counterfeit 1950 R423 cards:

  • Weight – Authentic examples weigh .05 grams.  Counterfeits weigh .15 grams and are much thicker.
  • Card stock – Authentic cards are printed on off-white stock which can be slick looking.  Counterfeits tend to have bright white stock.
  • Perforations – Authentic cards will have perforations on the left or right or both the left and right depending on which part of the strip they came from.  Most counterfeits don’t have perforations at all.  You don’t want to see smooth edges all around.
  • “Rind Effect” – Images on the card fronts are made up of tiny ink dots.  On authentic cards this “rind effect” print pattern can be seen on these photoengraved cards.  Counterfeits do not have this feature.
  • Measurements – Authentic examples should measure 1-5/8″ x 1-7/8″.

Counterfeit on left

Counterfeit on left