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View Full Version : Perceived or Real? Scarcity of 1959 Fleer Williams Card #68


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10-10-2007, 12:12 PM
Posted By: <b>Matt</b><p>The legend surrounding this card is that it was pulled due to a contract issue with Topps, hence creating a short print. Yet, the SGC population report shows 2-3 times as many of this card being slabbed then any others. Certainly that can be attributed to it having a higher dollar value and hence more of an impetus to have it slabbed, but it could also be argued that the legend created a theory of scarcity when in fact none exists.

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10-10-2007, 01:42 PM
Posted By: <b>Darren</b><p>i do think that "ted signs for '59" is a short print, and do agree that it is not as scarce as once thought.<br />its price brings it out of the woodwork.

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10-10-2007, 01:58 PM
Posted By: <b>Ted Zanidakis</b><p>It's not a myth....this card has always been rare. And, exactly for the contractual reason you stated.<br /><br />Back in the '70s and '80s when more collectors completed sets, this card was highly sought after. In fact, this was the first BB card<br /> to be reprinted (or counterfeited). Now, that more collectors seem to be more interested in getting star, or rare cards graded....<br />more of these #68 cards are appearing on ebay (and at shows); just because of it's monetary value.<br /><br />This card is an excellent example of where its POP report is totally misleading the hobby.<br /><br />I have put together 4 complete 80-card sets of this 1959 Fleer issue....and, I know of what I'm talking about regarding this #68 card.<br /><br />TED Z

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10-10-2007, 04:07 PM
Posted By: <b>Matt</b><p>Isn't it possible that the "pulled" cards made it out anyway through some back channels and hence are as common as the regular cards, but not from the same sources, giving the appearance of being difficult to obtain? Outside of population reports, which indicate it's much more common then the regular cards, what else can we use to gauge it's scarcity? Further, what do you think the ratio is between that card and a common?

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10-10-2007, 04:36 PM
Posted By: <b>peter chao</b><p>For heavily publicized cards like this one, it's necessary to take the population reports with a grain of salt. People are getting this card graded to sell because there is a huge demand for it.<br /><br />Personally, #68 is the only card in the set that I'm interested in buying in the near future.<br /><br />It is not surprising that more #68s have been graded than the other cards in the set.<br /><br />This high demand may also explain the reason why more #68s are being sold. Dealers try to be ahead of the curve, they may have bought more #68s anticipating the price to go up.<br />When the prices stopped increasing, they decided to sell extra #68s that they may have accumulated.<br /><br />Peter C.<br />

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10-10-2007, 05:22 PM
Posted By: <b>Paul S</b><p>I bought this set complete in the late 60's (and was aware of the #68 scarcity even before then), long before grading companies. I doubt its rareness or scarcity is perceived -- even then, the card alone was a gigantic portion of what the whole set cost, such little difference that a person might as well have bought the whole thing.<br /><br />Peter, what's you interest in the card? It's actually bland as compared to alot of others in the set -- certainly not the nicest looking one by a longshot. If you want it, you should go for the whole set...I think the set is vastly underappreciated by collectors (my two cents.)

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10-10-2007, 05:37 PM
Posted By: <b>peter chao</b><p>Paul S.,<br /><br />I have a Ted Williams collection, but there are a large no. of cards that depict Ted, so I try to limit myself to what I consider key cards of him.<br /><br />My favorites in my collection are #1 and #250 in the '54 Topps.<br /><br />Peter C.

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10-10-2007, 08:17 PM
Posted By: <b>Ted Zanidakis</b><p>Fleer was forced to discontinue this card in their 1st press run. And, it's my understanding is they discarded<br /> most of what they printed. It's the same exact story as the 1954 Bowman Ted Williams (#66). Topps forced<br /> Bowman to discontinue that card, also.<br /><br />This is an educated guess....you will probably find one #68 card for every 500-1000 of each of the other 79<br /> cards in this Fleer set.<br /><br />Here is the real #68 on a partial uncut sheet. When I find one of the REPRINT #68 cards, I will show it.<br /><br />TED Z<br /><br /><img src="http://www.freephotoserver.com/v001/tedzan/fleertw68.jpg">

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10-11-2007, 08:41 AM
Posted By: <b>Ted Zanidakis</b><p>The card on the left is a more recent Reprint and is very easily recognized as such, since the back info is printed on <br />white cardboard.<br /><br />The card on the right is an early reprint (circa 1970's) and is an excellent replica of the original #68. The back is gray<br /> cardboard and you cannot distinguish it from the original. The front of this reprint card can only be distinguished under<br />magnification as a "dot-matrix" is evident on it.<br /><br />TED Z <br /><img src="http://www.freephotoserver.com/v001/tedzan/a2reptsfleertw68.jpg">

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10-11-2007, 12:30 PM
Posted By: <b>Matt</b><p>Ted - WOW - you think card 68 is 500-1000 times more rare then a common? Obviously we're expecting the population report which says commons are 2-3 more rare then 68 is skewed, but what empirically would lead you to believe the number you threw out? Between the PSA and SGC population reports how many #68s do we know of? You think they printed 500-1000 times as many of each common? We're talking in 100,000s!!!

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10-11-2007, 01:32 PM
Posted By: <b>William</b><p>Here is my take on the #68 card.<br /><br />In it's day it was a very rare card. But like most early Fleer products (1959 Williams, 1961 Basketball, 1961 - 1963 Football), I believe the vast majority of the unopened product of these issues were opened well after the original issue date.<br /><br />I know in the early days of big card shows, I had a friend who setup and he bought some 1961 Basketball boxes and unopened Fleer product and singles that dealers had personally opened around the they were selling the singles existed. <br /><br />I know a guy who bought 2 1959 unopened cases in the 1980's and sold the final unopened boxes in the late 1990's.<br /><br />Disregarding centering, it is easier to find EXMT to NRMT 1959 Fleer than VG or so.<br /><br />As a dealer, I have bought & sold two #68 this year and (a guess) around 15 over the past 15 years or so. Only one was vgish or less, all others had near mint corners. <br /><br />I think the majority of #68 cards were opened from product and introduced into the hobby in the late 1970's and 1980's and beyond. During the 1960's & early to mid-1970's, before alot of unopened product surfaced, the quantity of #68 in the hobby was much less, thus creating the legend of how rare #68 is.<br /><br />As a final note, I am not saying #68 is an easy card to find, but it is not the super rare card as people thought 35+ years ago.<br />

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10-11-2007, 01:56 PM
Posted By: <b>Al</b><p>If the card was pulled due to some contactual dispute or claim by Topps, does anyone know the nature of the claim or dispute that would have impacted this one card.<br><br>I used to also hear that contract diputes halted the 63 Fleer production at 66 cards, but the Topps &quot;exclusive&quot; player contracts were exclusive only insofar as their contracts specified the images of players they signed could not be packaged with either gum or candy, except by Topps. Hence the Fleer cookies and Leaf marbles.In reading the case and FTC decisons surrounding the Fleer antitrust claims against Topps, I have the impression the 63 set was halted on economic grounds rather than contract grounds. I remember their production and sale numbers for 63 were much lower than for the 59 and 60/61 issues.<br><br>I would be very interested if someone knows the precise contract issue that impacted card 68

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10-11-2007, 02:08 PM
Posted By: <b>Paul S</b><p>I just assumed the nature of the contract dispute was about the topic of the particular card itself "Ted Signs for '59"-- that Williams had not signed his player contract with the Sox. But of course the photo is them signing the contract...duh (kicks self). Maybe that was just me as a kid assuming that then, and to this day. Oy!

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10-11-2007, 02:10 PM
Posted By: <b>Anthony</b><p>Topps had Bucky Harris under exclusive contract- when he appeard on card #68 they forced Fleer to pull it.<br />

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10-11-2007, 02:17 PM
Posted By: <b>Paul S</b><p>That's kinda petty, ain't it? It's not like anyone wanted that card for Bucky! Now, if they'd had Thorpe under contract...

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10-11-2007, 02:56 PM
Posted By: <b>Ted Zanidakis</b><p>Anthony is correct....Topps was "bustin-chops"....because the bigger picture was that Sy Berger of Topps fame was outraged that Fleer<br /> out-bid him to the contractual rights to portray Ted Williams in 1959. Sy Berger was an avid Williams fan. Recall that from 1954 to 1958,<br /> Topps had the exclusive rights to Ted Williams.<br /><br />Also, Berger sued Bowman in 1954 and forced Bowman to discontinue their Ted Williams card (#66).<br /><br />How do I know all this ?....Back in 1984, I had a long conversation with Ted Williams regarding his BB cards (at the Valley Forge, PA Show).<br /><br />TED Z

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10-11-2007, 04:51 PM
Posted By: <b>Al</b><p>Anthony---what was the nature of the exclusive contract ? Did it involve use of his image. Even the Topps player contracts were not exclusive in that sense. For antitrust reasons they were limited to exclusive packaging with gum or candy. If that was the basis here why did Topps have such a contract in regard to this guy. Don't get me wrong. Not disputing anything, just trying to understand what contractual right Topps was enforcing

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10-11-2007, 05:34 PM
Posted By: <b>Anthony</b><p>Al-<br /> I have no idea. I know that Harris last appeared in the '53 Bowman black and white set, and it is my understanding that when Topps bought out Bowman to settle their lawsuit in Jan '56 it had all of Bowman's contracts assigned. Weren't a lot of those contracts exclusive? Why do some star players appear in one set and not the other? Mantle is only in '55 Bowman, Williams only in Topps, etc.

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10-11-2007, 10:31 PM
Posted By: <b>John H.</b><p>So, which card is more rare; the '54 Bowman Williams or the '59 Fleer #68? I would love to eventually add both to my Williams collection. I have the Fleer set minus #68 but I do have the early reprint, which is very well done and satisfactory for the time being.<br /><br />John

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10-11-2007, 11:21 PM
Posted By: <b>Paul S</b><p>My guess is that the 54 Bowman Williams is harder to find. The card was pulled and replaced with Piersall, and I don't believe a large cache of 54 Bowman's were found with the card, unlike the above story of the Fleer set.

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10-12-2007, 08:56 AM
Posted By: <b>Al</b><p>Anthony---even if a contract was not exclusive, or exclusive only as to certain packaging, Fleer would still have had to have his permission or a contract to use his image as well as Williams on that card. Maybe that was the issue and he objected, or did so at Topps request