A four-year run was about to end for Fleer Corporation.
After partnering with the newly-launched American Football League at the start of the turbulent decade that was the 1960s, the gum maker created four relatively simple sets of trading cards featuring AFL players. It would all change in ’64 when Philadelphia Gum jumped into the mix and made a deal for NFL football cards, pushing the well-established Topps Company toward an exclusive AFL deal. Fleer had also created an NFL-licensed set in 1961 but following its football card set of ’63, they wouldn’t be heard from again for several years.
Packs of most Fleer football issues are a little hard to find (the 1961 NFL set seems to be most prevalent thanks to a find or two many years ago). This week, Vintage Pack Facts from VintageBreaks.com takes a look at 1963 Fleer football–and you can watch one of the 55-year-old packs being opened, too.
- There were some significant changes in the AFL prior to its fourth season. The New York Titans changed their name and their uniform colors and became the Jets. The Dallas Texans, despite winning the league title in 1962, packed up and moved to Kansas City where they remain today as the Chiefs. Those changes were reflected on Fleer’s cards although the players are still depicted in their Titans and Texans uniforms. It was also the year Al Davis took over the Raiders and changed the team’s colors to silver and black.
- The San Diego Chargers would win the 1963 crown–still the only time a San Diego-based team has won a major sports championship.
- As it had in 1962, the ’63 Fleer set included just 88 cards. However, there are three Hall of Fame rookie cards in the set: Lance Alworth, Len Dawson and Nick Buoniconti. There was also a short-printed checklist that’s unnumbered and is generally considered the most valuable card in the set. Other stars included Jack Kemp, George Blanda, Jim Otto, Cookie Gilchrist and Ron Mix.
- 1963 Fleer football were sold only in wax packs. Each pack held only five cards and a stick of gum. There was also supposed to be a ‘Goofy Gag’ card insert in each pack. The wrapper included an ad for Fleer’s Double Bubble Bubble Gum.
- An empty ’63 Fleer wax box sold for $117.50 at auction in 2017.
- While packs and boxes are very scarce, one collector is offering a complete set pieced together from a wax box that includes 61 PSA 8s. Most other sets usually cost $1,000 and up, depending on condition.
- Vintage Breaks offered a pack break earlier this week. The cost to buy in was $575. You can watch the break here.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.