Needless to say, I was blown away by the beauty of this item. Here was the Holy Grail of Fleer cloth patch collecting!
I asked how they had acquired the sheet, and they told me that their grandfather had worked as a printer in Philadelphia, which is where Fleer was headquartered. He did not work for Fleer, but their print shop did work for Fleer.
Apparently anything that was off even by 1/16th of an inch would be scrapped, so he would save some of the sheets that were being trashed. While the grandfather had saved a number of different sheets, over time most of those sheets had been given away to friends.
This particular sheet had not been given away, and the owner decided to have it professionally framed a few years ago.
In discussing what the seller was looking to sell the sheet for, they explained that they had gotten an appraisal on it a few years ago of $2,000, so they were interested in selling it for $2,500 as they had spent a few hundred on the professional framing.
I let the seller know that I wasn't in a position to spend that amount, but that I would be glad to feature the sheet on my blog, and would let them know if anyone expressed interest. If anyone is interested in making a serious offer, please let me know, and I will be glad to pass your information along to the seller.
As for the secrets revealed in the sheet, I think I am able to date the sheet by the fact that there is one team missing.
After comparing the layout of the sheet to the partial uncut sheet that I do have
I noticed that the 4th patch from the left on the top row on my sheet was the Padres while the full uncut sheet had a Yankees patch in its place. Same situation for the 3rd patch from the left on the 3rd row - instead of the Padres cap patch, there was an extra Mets cap patch. There isn't a single Padres patch on the full uncut sheet.
Therefore, I would assume this sheet would be from early 1974 when the Padres were about to move to Washington, DC. It looks like Fleer omitted the Padres patches from the sheet as they had no idea of what patch to create for the relocating team, similar to the situation Topps had when producing their 1974 set:
Unless Fleer made changes later in the print run, it appears that Fleer did not issue any Padres patches in 1974.
One other piece of helpful information from the sheet comes from the top left corner of the sheet:
For patches with a dark border, the instructions for peeling the sticker are black, so it looks like patches with instructions in white
were not issued until at least 1975.
I would like to thank the person who reached out to me about the sheet for contacting me and for providing a number of pictures. They also sent pictures of 2 other Fleer items which I will be sharing in future posts, so stay tuned!