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.

Press Pass Wasn’t The First

Later this week Press Pass will be releasing its third KISS product this year, and by looking at all the pre-sales it looks to be like another sellout.  The demand these cards have almost makes it look like Press Pass was the first company to make KISS trading cards, but thats not true.  Starting in the 1970’s manufacturers really started to make products based around T.V. shows, movies, and bands.  This was actually done before the 70’s, but it seems like this is when manufacturers seemed to get a real high from it because of all the products they began producing.  In 1978 Donruss produced the very first set of KISS cards for collectors.  There weren’t any autographs or relics, but there was such a high demand Donruss produced a second series.  Each box contained 36 wax packs featuring great photography of the band.  If your lucky enough to find a sealed box, your probably going to pay out the nose to get it.  I think its safe to say that KISS is one of the most collectible bands in history.


A Wax Heaven Mailday!

Last week Mario over at Wax Heaven held five contests to celebrate receiving 1 million hits on his site.  The 1st contest was for a Ryan Howard 2009 Topps Sketch Card #’ed 1/1, and I ended up being the winner.  I usually never win anything, but this time I came out ahead.  Today the card arrived in the mail and it looks awesome!  A lot of sketch cards are just black and white, but this one has a ton of color.  Along with the sketch card, he also sent:

  • Ryan Howard 2009 Bowman #14
  • Ryan Howard 2009 Topps Heritage #300
  • Ryan Howard 2009 UD Spectrum #74
  • Brad Lidge 2009 Topps Heritage Chrome #’ed/1960

All of these cards will remain in my personal collection forever.  Congrats to Wax Heaven!!!


The Great Wrapper Caper

This afternoon I headed over to the Collector’s Universe sports card forum to see what was going on, and my attention went right to this post written by user summerof68.  They did some excellent detective work discovering that this seller was purchasing old wax wrappers and reselling them as if they were sealed packs.  That seller has been one of the largest suppliers of wax packs on eBay for awhile and it just seemed strange that they always had so many to sell.  You really need to have a trained eye to see what this seller was doing.  There are little things that you can see on the wrapper that show up on the resealed pack they sold.  Collecting old packs is a great way to enjoy the hobby, but you really need to be careful who you are buying from.  Many authenticators grade/certify packs to ensure that its never been opened or resealed.  Its probably better to purchase a vintage pack in person so you can inspect it yourself.  The detective work done on this case is probably some of the best I’ve ever seen.  

On a side note, someday I’d like to add a few sealed packs to my collection (thats if I could keep them sealed).  I’d like to add a 1984 Topps football, and a  1995 Bowman’s Best baseball pack to my collection.  The ’84 Topps would be for the Marino RC and the ’95 Bowman’s Best for the Rolen RC.  Older packs containing rookies of players from the Miami Dolphins Perfect Season would also be nice to add, but they can get really expensive.

If anyone has a lot of money and wants to be a big star on YouTube, buy some vintage packs and open them up on camera.  I’m sure many collectors would love to see a pack of 1933 Goudey busted.



Dealer to be tried on fraud charges

Source – pennlive.com
Materials to alter items found at L. Paxton Twp. warehouse, police say
Thursday, September 18, 2008 

Of Our Cumberland County Bureau

Investigators found an “assembly line” for fraud when they raided the Lower Allen Twp. warehouse of collectibles dealer Roger Hooper, a Cumberland County detective said Wednesday.

Hooper had a machine for resealing vintage packs of sports cards, which have more value if they’ve never been opened, Detective Earl Bock said.

Thousands of loose cards and piles of stale chewing gum were in plain view, he said.

It was obvious that Hooper was compiling his own packs and passing them off as unopened originals, Bock said during Hooper’s preliminary hearing before District Judge Charles Clement Jr. on fraud charges.

Hooper said he never tampered with collectibles or knowingly sold a forgery. “To my knowledge, everything was legit, 100 percent legit,” he said.

His lawyer, Corky Goldstein, insisted the criminal charges aren’t warranted and that the allegations should be dealt with in a civil lawsuit.

But Clement ordered Hooper to be tried in county court on counts of engaging in fraudulent business practices, theft by deception and dealing in proceeds of illegal activity.

The charges stem from Hooper’s dealings with a Virginia sports memorabilia collector and with a Carlisle man who helped Hooper sell items on eBay.

The investigation isn’t over.

“Reams and reams” of complaints from other of Hooper’s customers poured in after a July article in The Patriot-News outlined his legal troubles, Senior Assistant District Attorney Daniel Sodus said.

David Herrell of Harrisonburg, Va., said that Hooper conned him out of approximately $5,000 during a 2006 auction by selling him fake autographed items and packs of supposedly virgin football cards that had actually been opened.

Expert appraisers verified the frauds, Herrell said.

He said Hooper was “rude and dismissive” when he complained. “He told me to put it on eBay and sell it as is,” Herrell said.

“How do we know that you didn’t open the packs?” Goldstein asked.

“I wouldn’t have the first idea of how to go about resealing them,” Herrell said. “I’m a collector, not a fraudster.”

Goldstein said an earlier probe of Herrell’s claims by the state auctioneer licensing agency didn’t prompt any penalties against Hooper.

Ned Kerstetter of Carlisle said he allowed Hooper to sell items through Kerstetter’s eBay account.

Kerstetter said he received a flood of complaints that the items, including packs of coins and sports card packs, weren’t as advertised.

Hooper wouldn’t satisfy many customers, Kerstetter said, so he drained his own savings and retirement accounts and borrowed money to give $50,000 in refunds.

He said he sued Hooper three years ago and that suit, which prompted the criminal probe, is pending.

Hooper testified that he did sell on eBay in 2000 or 2001, but said that his account was shut down without explanation.

The machine that Bock claimed was used to make bogus sports card packs was actually for sealing items in plastic for shipment, he said.

He said the piles of sports cards, chewing gum and wax sealing material the detective saw were from card packs that had been damaged by rodents or the elements.

Hooper said he usually sells items “as is,” gives potential buyers time to examine them and offers refunds if complaints are made promptly, which wasn’t the case with Herrell and some customers who complained to Kerstetter.

“Did you misrepresent anything that was sold?” Goldstein asked.

“No, sir,” Hooper replied.

Fraud is an inherent risk with collectibles, Hooper said, and even he gets scammed sometimes.

“When you’re in this type of business, it comes with the territory,” he said.

The Math of Wax

Some of the coolest items that you can see at card shows are sealed packs of vintage cards.  At the time many of those packs were distributed to the public, they only cost around 5¢.  If you travel over to a dealer that sells vintage packs from the 60’s you will see that they don’t cost 5¢, but more like $500.00.  Lets take this pack of 1966 Topps football cards for example. 

Back in 1966 this pack only cost 5¢.  Now lets travel forward 42 years to today.  Recently this pack sold for $500.00 on eBay.  That is an outstanding  9,999% increase in price.  After seeing this, it got me thinking about today’s products and what their potential value might be in decades to come.  For example, today a pack/box of 2007 Upper Deck Exquisite football cards sell for around $400.00. 

If you apply the same principle to the Exquisite box/pack, in theory it should be worth about $4 million within 42 years.  Now, we all know that $4 million in 42 years isn’t as much as $4 million today, but that is still a huge increase in price.   

Do I think the same thing will happen to the Exquisite box/pack as the pack of 1966 Topps, probably not.  In today’s hobby, there are a lot more packs of Exquisite than packs of 1966 Topps.  Back in the 60’s, people rarely ever bought packs to keep the sealed.  Plus you have to take into account what you can get in each pack.  With the 1966 Topps pack you could pull some vintage cards in great condition of Hall of Fame players.  Who knows what will happen to the players in the Exquisite box/pack.  They could be cut from all their teams and never play in the NFL again.  I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if I applied the same increase in percentage to the Exquisite pack/box as the 1966 Topps pack.

Back from Cooperstown!

Cooperstown, NY has to be one of the best towns in the country if you are a baseball fan.  I walked around and looked at every single HOF plaque.  I had no idea that there were so many writers in the Hall of Fame.  While I was there I picked up a “Goose” Gossage 2008 HOF inductee bat that is limited to 500.  That may seem like a lot of baseball bats, but 500 isn’t very many.  I also picked up a bat that is modeled after the type Napoleon Lajoie used.  Right down the street from the HOF there is a wax museum which has about 30 different wax figures on display.  Below are a few pictures that I took.  The rest of the pictures can be found in the Photostream to your right.  Enjoy!!!

1858 baseball

                                                                       2008 HOF inductees

HOF entrance

Plaque room

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson hat, glove, & jersey

1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner

World Series rings & pins

Wax Museum

Mickey Mantle

Wade Boggs

Founders of baseball

Roberto Clemente

Jackie Robinson