Saturday, October 24, 2009

1981 Fleer NFL Football Stickers - Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Colts

Now that Football season is back in full swing, its time to pick where I left off at the end of last Football season with the continuing review of Fleer's annual Team Action sticker sets.

We're up to the 1981 set, which was the 5th consecutive year that Fleer issued Team Action Cards and stickers (click links to see 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1980):


The 1981 Fleer Football sticker set is the king of Fleer variation sets. Each team has a helmet sticker and a logo sticker, and each of these stickers has 2 clear variations, and arguments could be made that some of these stickers have yet a 3rd variation.

Lets take a look at the Detriot Lions as an example:

Notice that the helmet on the left has a gray facemask and the helmet on the right has a white facemask. In addition, the helmet on the left is dark gray with a dark blue lion while the helmet on the right has a lighter gray helmet with a lighter blue lion.

The same is true with the logo stickers. The sticker on the left has dark blue stripes behind the lion while the sticker on the right has gray stripes. In addition, the name Lions is in dark blue on the left and in light blue on the right.

Not all teams have variations that are are as easy to spot as we've seen with the Lions, but all teams do have similar differences.

While no one seems to know for sure, the theory is that Fleer had 2 different companies printing the sheets which would account for the distinct color variations. I have yet to see an uncut sheet of these stickers, so at this point, this theory seems to make the most sense. Unless a sheet surfaces that has both variations on the same sheet, its most likely that Fleer used 2 different printers.

The backs of the stickers have the team's 1981 schedule:


Given the number of variations in this set, I am going to cover 2 teams each day to highlight the variations, starting with the

Atlanta Falcons:


Its a bit hard to tell from the scan, but the helmet sticker on the right has a darker shade of red than the sticker on the left. The same is true with the name "Falcons" on the logo stickers. The difference is more noticeable when you are holding both stickers in your hand and looking at them together.

Baltimore Colts:


The Colts helmet with the upside down horseshoe is the most obvious variation in the set. For some strange reason, Fleer printed some stickers with the horseshoe upside down. The mistake isn't limited to the front of the sticker however, as it can be found on the back as well:


Both the helmet and logo stickers have this back variation. The correct helmet has the correct back, and the upside down helmet has the upside down back.

For the logo stickers, the sticker on the left with the slightly darker blue logo has the correct helmet on the back while the sticker on the right has the upside down helmet on the back.


As we go through this review of the 1981 set, I'd like to recognize fellow Fleer collector Albert who has done an incredible amount of work investigating and documenting these variations. Many of the variations I will be covering over the coming days were brought to my attention by Albert as he has been very generous in sharing his research with me. Thanks Albert!

1 comment:

John Nystrand said...

Good Morning,
Would you happen to know the value of the Baltimore Colts sticker with the upside down horseshoe? and the value of a Baltimore Colts sticker with the colt (horse) on it?
Thanks so much,

John