Mystery – Fleer basketball stickers

A few days ago I posted an undated pack of Fleer stickers.  This product is a bit of a mystery and not included in Beckett’s database.  Here are the facts.

I bought it off eBay as a pack from the 1970s.  At the time, I thought the pack might be from 1960.  Why 1960?  Well, the good folks over at the Baseball Card Exchange have the same item for sale in a PSA holder.  The PSA holder shows a date of 1960 on the pack.

Once I had the pack in hand, I knew it wasn’t from 1960.  On the back of the pack is an address for Fleer, and that address includes a ZIP code.  Zip codes didn’t appear until 1963.  Even in 1963, it’s not like everyone adopted them immediately.  This pack is from 1963 at the earliest and probably somewhat later.

1969 Fleer Basketball Stickers closeup

A little more digging on the web pulled up an old lot from Legendary Auctions of a nearly complete box of this same product.  The lot description by Legendary is hard to read because it so over-the-top.  Legendary describes the box as being a test issue from the 60s by Fleer.  That’s not much help, but it’s better than PSAs 1960 date.

I do know a few other things…  This pack sold in stores for 5¢ back in the day.  Based on a little more digging on the web, the 1974 Fleer stickers and 1970 Fleer Harlem Globetrotters cards were both priced at 10¢.  The Topps basketball packs from 1969-70 through 1972-73 were also 10¢ each.  Based on price alone, I’d put this pack as earlier than the Globetrotters stickers of Fleer.

The 1974 Fleer stickers are interesting.  I did a post on them not too long ago.  The pack was issued in 1974, but the pack has a copyright date of 1969.  I thought that was weird when I did the post.  (Warning – lots of speculation here with no proof)  Fleer must have had some trouble getting a basketball product out the door in 1969.  The source of that trouble was likely Topps, which was getting back into NBA cards for the 1969-70 season.

These facts, ideas, and guesses lead me to say that this undated Fleer product is from either 1968 or 1969.  One option is that Fleer was getting its feet wet in 1968 before doing its planned 1969 sticker release (which didn’t happen until 1974).  Another option is that Fleer had trouble in 1969 doing NBA stickers and rushed this out the door instead.  I’m leaning with 1969.  Final answer.

Those are my thoughts on this pack.  If you have any other information or theories, please add them in the comments section.

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