Early 1990s baseball cards are generally considered to be part of the junk wax era. Much of the value they once had has largely been lost. There are a few exceptions to that and the 1992 Fleer Update set is one of those.
Believed to have been produced in lesser quantities than most other sets, the 1992 Fleer Update set is one of the few from the era that still has real value. The big fish in the set is the Mike Piazza rookie card and a few other rookies, such as Jeff Kent, have made the set worth owning. The set is not worth as much as it once was but has managed to hold some value and is one of the more popular early 1990s baseball sets.
Fleer had a big hit with its 1992 update set and tried to make the 1993 issue even more popular. Unfortunately, though, that never panned out for this set printed 25 years ago.
1993 Fleer Final Edition
The biggest change was that the set was massive. With 300 base cards, it had more than double the amount found in the 132-card 1992 edition and most other update sets, for that matter. One of the reasons for that was that it included full team sets of the new expansion franchises, the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins. But even beyond that, the set just included a lot more players than was typical of update releases.
The ‘Final Edition’ name while quirky, was actually more accurate than simply calling this an update set. At the time, standard update sets generally only included rookies or players who changed teams. But several inclusions in ’93 Final Editiion were guys that just didn’t make the regular Fleer set for whatever reason. Ozzie Smith, for example, was one of those. The 1993 Fleer sets were actually more like a Series 1 and Series 2.
Another modification from the previous year was a 10-card insert set called ‘Diamond Tribute.’ The set featured some of the game’s best veteran players at the time, including Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount. All of the players in the insert set would go on to be inducted into Cooperstown with the exception of Lee Smith.
The first was that it is bereft of any real rookie cards of significance. While some names were hotter in the past, the only decent rookie card is Jim Edmonds. But while it contains some early cards of players such as Manny Ramirez, the rookie card lineup is mostly a weak one. Rookies were often what gave update sets their value and this one simply doesn’t have them.
Second, and possibly even more importantly, the set was mass produced. Perhaps the company saw the popularity of its 1992 update set and figured demand would be high for the 1993 set. While official production numbers aren’t known for the two sets, it’s obvious that the 1993 issue was printed in larger quantities. Today, you’ll generally find only a handful of 1992 sets on eBay compared to dozens of the 1993 sets.
A third, less impactful problem was that even the insert set featuring so many Hall of Famers was largely a swing and a miss. Sure, it had some big names. But it didn’t include younger players that were truly the best ones at the time. While it had guys that were established greats, missing were big names like Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, and Barry Bonds. The set purposefully was a nod to older veteran players so this wasn’t Fleer forgetting to include them. But missing the real stars of the day meant that it ultimately lacked any sort of true relevance.
Finally, to a lesser degree, Fleer couldn’t even get the box right, for crying out loud. Front and center on the box was a card of Tom Glavine. Seems okay but the problem is that Glavine wasn’t even in the set. Instead, he was found in the earlier, regular 1993 Fleer release.
Given its issues, it’s easy to see why the 1993 Fleer Final set never really caught on. Prices for it barely climbed much higher than $25 and today, you can find it for around $10. Even that is likely helped by the fact that it is a large set and has the insert cards in it. A shorter set with no inserts would probably cut the value in half.
There’s no doubt that, while the 1992 Fleer Update set was a success, the 1993 Fleer Final Edition release was a miserable flop.