Offered is an extremely attractive mid- to high-grade complete set of 1961-1962 Fleer All-Time Greats. Condition of the complete set is 61% Ex-Mt to Nr/Mt, 31% Ex, and 8% Vg to Vg-Ex (including a couple lesser and a couple that measure small). Keys:
#1 Baker/Cobb/Wheat CL (Ex), 14 Cobb (Ex-Mt), 31 Gehrig (Nr/Mt), 75 Ruth (Ex+), 89 Sisler/Traynor CL (Ex+), 150 Wagner (Ex), 152 Williams (Nr/Mt), 153 C. Young (Ex-Mt), and 154 R. Young (Ex). Issued over a period of two years (#1-88 issued in 1961 and #89-154 issued in 1962), this classic set features all the great stars of the past, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Cy Young. This is a particularly interesting card issue, one of the most substantial and noteworthy ever produced in the long tradition of sets devoted to old-timers. Fleer issued this set on the heels of its successful eighty-card 1960 old-timers set. The company really wanted to issue cards of modern stars but was not comfortable proceeding in that direction due to legal considerations, as Topps had exclusive contracts with all the ballplayers for bubble-gum cards. In 1963, of course, Fleer tested the waters with a set of modern stars packaged with gum, setting in motion a long-running legal battle with Topps. The 1961-1962 All-Time Greats set is part of a rich tradition of presenting stars of the past on cards for youngsters. Even the 1940 Play Ball set features a series of old-timers. It is interesting to note that the 1961-1962 Fleer set includes the then just recently retired Ted Williams, who, of course, was the subject of an eighty-card set produced by Fleer in 1959. Fleer had signed Williams to an exclusive card contract, which is why Williams does not appear in the 1959 or 1960 Topps sets. The 1961-1962 Fleer set is a fairly difficult set to collect. Not only do the cards have some age to them (they are over fifty years old and not getting any younger) but they were issued over a period of two years, exclusively to youngsters in wax packs. Also, the higher-number cards issued in 1962 (#89-154) are considerably rarer than the lower number cards issued in 1961 (#1-88), though both series are much rarer than Topps cards from the same years. 1961-1962 Fleer were issued in modest numbers because most kids were naturally a little more interested in cards of modern stars, such as Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, than cards of Grover Cleveland Alexander and Hal Schumacher. The same may be true today, but there are many sets featuring modern stars. Few sets present such an interesting cross-section of old-timers (Hall of Famers and non-Hall of Famers) from all eras, or have as important a role in the history of baseball cards as the 1961-1962 Fleer All-Time Greats set. This is an outstanding complete set of this classic and often overlooked Fleer issue. Total: 154 cards. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+.
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