Welcome to the third installment of Vintage Pack Facts. While there aren’t many collectors who wouldn’t love to rip open a 30, 40, 50 or 60+year-old pack, there isn’t really a readily available knowledge base for all of them. This series hopes to shed some light on one individual release each week in terms of the variety of packaging methods used, prices at the time, a little about the set itself and more.
VintageBreaks.com will often open the packs we’re discussing and we’ll sometimes share those segments so you can have a little fun going back in time.
This week’s pack: 1960 Fleer Baseball Greats
- Trying its darndest to snare a share of the bubble gum card market, Fleer made a few waves in 1959 by signing Ted Williams away from Topps. Ted got his own set in ’59, then appeared in Fleer’s 1960 issue (his last card as an active player). He was joined by several dozen retired greats, most from decades earlier. It’s hard to know how successful the idea was but Fleer returned with another set of Greats in 1961.
- The 1960 Fleer set included 79 cards in all with colorized photos inside a blue, green, red or yellow border. The backs offered a short bio, plus career statistics. The checklist has dozens of Hall of Fame players, executives and managers with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Cy Young, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner among those joining Williams in the set. The small size of the set has made it attractive to vintage card collectors. Over 60 sets are listed on PSA’s Registry alone.
- Centering and other issues have made the ’60 Fleer cards hard to locate in high-grade. Of the over 21,000 cards submitted to PSA for grading, only 153 have been awarded a ‘10’ grade to date and fewer than 10% are unqualified 9s. Earlier this year, a PSA 10 Wagner sold for $3,421; a Ralph Kiner 10 brought $2,761 and a 10 of Kenesaw Mountain Landis went for $2,418.
- The set was supposed to include 80 cards but Fleer wasn’t able to lasso the intended subject of card #80, Pepper Martin. Uncirculated proof cards have surfaced with Martin’s stats on the back but another player pictured on the front.
- 1960 Fleer Baseball Greats came in nickel wax packs with a team logo decal insert. There were 24 packs per box.
- Packs have proven to be very elusive over the years but two did sell last year at auction: a PSA 6 netted $840 in Robert Edward Auctions’ fall catalog while Heritage sold a PSA 7 earlier in the year for $576.
- A near complete box (20 of 24 packs) was part of the legendary “Beer Case Find” through Mile High Card Company and sold at auction last year for $5,540. Ten of the packs had some mildew damage while the others appeared virtually perfect. The price of $277 per pack seemed reasonable enough but the box was overshadowed by the rest of the unopened boxes that entered the hobby after sitting in the attic of a Tennessee home for decades.
Vintage Breaks opened a 1960 Fleer pack last week (spots sold for $200 each) and you can watch the video below.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.