Friday, November 23, 2012

Guilty pleasures

This card should give me nightmares.

Between the ominous blue background, the odd use of height/weight stats on the front, and the devilish infrared silhouette of Dave Weathers, it's easy to see why a good amount of collectors scoff at the very thought of 1995 Fleer.

I like to call it the "LSD set". There's a small part of me that believes the Fleer corporation was overrun with mind-altering drugs that year.

I can't think of another explanation.

Yet, even with all that, I've always had a deep admiration for the '95 Fleer set. It was even the basis for an entire post on this blog a while ago.

I can't explain it.

It's just a "guilty pleasure" of mine, I guess.

Still, it's far from the only one.

Although it's not as reviled as their '95 release, Fleer's 1991 design has never been given a whole lot of love in the cardboard community.

I think some of the reason for that is simply because of its link to the overproduction era. We all know how that one goes.

To some people, "junk wax" automatically equals "bad".

Because of that, a lot of "gems" from the era go unnoticed. I've showcased quite a few of those in my writings for this blog.

If it's possible for an entire set to be a "gem" in itself, I'd put 1991 Fleer into that category.

I think what drives a lot of collectors away from it are the yellow borders. They certainly stand out in a nine-pocket page, I'll tell you that.

But that's what I like about them.

They're different from the rest of the era.

And if their '91 and '95 releases are any indication, Fleer wasn't afraid to try something "different" every once in a while.

On the surface, this looks like a pretty plain card.

Yes, it features Duke Snider, which is always a plus in my view. Apart from that, though, there's not a whole lot to get excited about here.

Still, you might be surprised to learn that this one came very close to cracking my "Top 100".


This is one of just ten copies of this card in existence.

I know I'm a "low-end" guy and all, but even I can't help but enjoy the few extremely rare cards that have found their way into my collection.

I don't specifically "hunt" for them, but I can't help but stare whenever I come across low-numbered cards like this Snider in my binders.

One of the first things we talked about in my psychology class this semester was the concept of scarcity. In short, we want what we can't have.


As far as basic psychology goes, I'm a normal person.

Yeah, let's go with that.

I must admit, I'm a fan of some of the "gimmicks" in this hobby.

More specifically, I enjoy the harmless "gimmicks" in this hobby. I'm not talking about that whole 2006 Topps Alex Gordon fiasco. That thing was a train wreck.

Cards like the 2007 Topps Jeter/Mantle/Bush cards are "harmless", in my view. I understand why people might not like it, but I still rank that as one of the greatest "pulls" in my days as a collector.

It's the same with this 2008 Topps "celebration shot" of the Red Sox.

Along with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani lurking in the background.

When 2008 Topps came out, I was secretly hoping to get this one. I'd seen its inclusion spur a lot of hate in the card community, so I kept it to myself.

Luckily, I pulled one. I didn't have to bear the indignity of trying to trade for a copy.

Yes, Topps has gotten carried away with the "gimmicks" in the last couple years. And, yes, I'll admit that the Jeter and Guiliani cards may have started them down that slippery slope.

Then again, I didn't say these "guilty pleasures" were rational.

I've only recently come to grips with this last one.

It wasn't easy, I'll tell you that.

But, I finally feel comfortable enough to say it.

I actually like short-prints.

Again, I'm not talking about the crazy, high-end "cash grabs" by Topps. I could honestly care less about all those Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper variations.

No, I'm talking about your everyday SPs. The ones in A&G and Heritage and such.

I like them. I actually like them.

I think it comes back to that whole "scarcity" thing.

To my knowledge, Topps has never released exact numbers of how many SPs are printed. Maybe they're not even all that rare.

But, for the time being, I enjoy the very primal thought of having something that only few others do.

It wasn't easy to track down this Scot Shields Heritage SP for my collection of his, but it sure was a happy day when I finally did.

The other major part of it is probably because they're huge "scores" when it comes to dime boxes. A lot of the time, it's hard to tell a SP apart from a normal base card. As a result, a lot of them end up in dime bins.

Then again, I've never been much of a set builder.

As a result, I guess it's easier for someone like me to enjoy short-prints.

I'm sure a lot of the set building community probably thinks I'm crazy.

That's fine.

Should there ever come a time where I attempt to build a SP-laden set, I might change my tune.

For now, I'll just say that I'm probably one of the few collectors who actually likes short-prints and leave it at that.

I'm sure most of us have "guilty pleasures" buried deep down within ourselves. Maybe we just don't know about them yet. Or maybe we're just trying to kid ourselves into thinking differently.

That's why they call them "guilty pleasures", though.

They're not easy to admit.


hiflew said...


Another person with an appreciation for 1991 Fleer. It is my favorite "non-Topps" set from the overproduction era (86-94). Sure the yellow border is a little much, but it is easy to spot them in a stack. The best part about the set though is the underrated photography. There are some really good photos in that set if you look past the border.

Spiegel83 said...

I was looking at some '91 Topps cards from a nickel box and was impressed. That is an underrated set with some great photography.

Robert said...

I echo your statements, Nick. SPs for me (a chronic set builder) are a nightmare. But when I get them for say my Joe Sakic PC, they become a welcome treasure.

Kind of the old 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other...

Marcus said...

I also love the '91 Fleer set. Some of my "favorite" sets tend to have colored borders, wether it's yellow ('91 Fleer), black ('71 Topps, '92 Pinnacle), or blue ('90 Donruss Leaders). Glad to see that somebody else loves the yellow.

AdamE said...

I've argued 91 Fleer with Nihht Owl before. Somene that loves color shoulfd like them but not zgreg.

If there are SP cards they should be like A&G where they are all in the last 50 cards. I hate when SPs are randomly distributed throughout a set.