Last week I wrote a short post about Fleer Retro. Let’s call that Round 1. The gist of the post was that I couldn’t figure out why this product was so hot. As it turns out, I had some facts wrong. I thought it was an unlicensed set with team logos removed by airbrushing. I was wrong. Round 1 goes to Fleer Retro.
How wrong was I? Pretty wrong. The set is indeed licensed – as a collegiate product. Upper Deck took the designs from seemingly every old Fleer set, threw in a couple new designs for kicks, and featured all the players in their college uniforms.
OK, now I’m really confused. On one hand, we have Panini putting out sets in the traditional sense. The sets have current players on their current teams with the typical features – some relics and some autographs. Unopened Panini boxes drop in price within a few weeks of their issue. On the other hand, we have Fleer Retro. It’s basically Signature Rookies from the 90s with a VIP room guest list. Unopened boxes of Fleer Retro are around double MSRP.
Before I come off being anti-Fleer Retro, I have nothing against it. My biggest beef is that I’d like to rip a box of it (even a mini box), but I’m not going to pay $300 to do so. I’m just surprised that Fleer Retro is such a hot ticket compared to Panini fill-in-the-blank. I know that not everyone is please with Panini’s handiwork with the sole NBA card license, but the resounding success of Fleer Retro has to completely bum out Panini.
So, does anyone have any other ideas why Upper Deck’s Fleer Retro is mopping the floor with anything Panini can put out the door? Is it simply the nice autographs in Fleer Retro? Are the deep pocketed basketball players just anti-Panini? Are Panini products really just sub-par? Let me know.