Friday, May 29, 2009

Card Spotlight: 5-29-09

1960 Fleer #19 - Marty Marion

I miss Fleer, don't you? It wasn't always pretty, but it was functional. It didn't hurt that it was a thorn in Topps' side for years.

Mostly, only the serious collector has heard of 1960 Fleer. Most collectors today think of Fleer as beginning in baseball in 1981. There is actually a long history of Fleer flirting with baseball.

Fleer started by signing Ted Williams to an exclusive contract and produced a Ted Williams set in 1959. Fleer couldn't produce many cards of active players, since Topps had a stranglehold on the majority of active players. Fleer produced Baseball Greats sets in 1960 and 1961, while trying to secure rights to active players.

In 1963, Fleer was able to secure a handful of active players to contracts and produced a set, which ended up not selling well. Legal battles ensued and Fleer ended up selling its remaining player contracts to Topps in 1966. This, in effect, gave Topps a monopoly on baseball cards.

During the seventies, many court battles waged on. Fleer won the right to produce cards and in 1981, introduced their first set in almost two decades. The rest is history.

There is a story behind this 1960 Fleer Marty Marion card. I bought a Luke Appling card from this set from a store in New York, which had an eBay store. The owner decided to cold call me to see if I was interested in other cards from the set. He told me that it would be cheaper for the both of us if he sold them directly to me. He was right. I didn't have to battle other people in a bidding war and he didn't have to lose money on the eBay fees.

I had researched the set and settled on which cards were of White Sox players. I presented my list to the card shop owner, over the phone. The one red flag that came up was Marty Marion. The seller was positive that the 1960 Fleer card of Marty was not a White Sox card. I told him that it was and it ended up that I researched the set more than the seller.

I told him that I was a little tight on funds, but I would send out a check when I had the spare money. He agreed and told me to send the check along with a piece of paper with the cards and my address.

Things popped up and I wasn't able to send the check off until many months later. In the end, I completed my 1960 Fleer White Sox set on a cold November afternoon, a few years ago. The one thing that I will always remember about the purchase is the Marty Marion card. It pays to do your research.

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