Thursday, February 7, 2008

1969 - 1971 Fleer Baseball Quiz Cards

If you've been following along with my various posts on Fleer issues, you've probably noticed I tend to keep mentioning variations. As we've seen with some other sets, Fleer tended to take an idea and run with it for a few years at a time, making subtle changes each year. At first glance, a collector might not realize that a set he is collecting actually has a number of different variations. This is exactly what happened to me when I first started collecting Fleer Quiz Cards.

Before I tell my story, first things first - what are Fleer Baseball Quiz Cards? Here's an example:

Quiz cards were produced for a number of years to provide something a bit more solid in the various packs of cloth patches that Fleer was producing around this time. Just as we saw with the 1967-1968 Fleer Emblem cards, these cards were included in packs to make the pack more firm. Since the cloth patch stickers were very flimsy, they wouldn't be strong enough to have a pack maintain its shape when it was being handled. Hence the piece of cardboard inserted in the pack to help the pack keep its shape. Rather than just inserting a blank piece of cardboard, Fleer put a number of different things on the cards over the years like the team logos and trivia questions I am currently reviewing.

One of the interesting things about the quiz cards was that they were never mentioned on any of the packs. The cards I'll be covering have team logos, and another series of quiz cards had stadium pictures, but neither of these had any type of mention on the packaging.

I had seen the Quiz Cards mentioned in a few places over the years, but had never actually seen any. Eventually I came across a few auctions, and started picking them up. At first I figured all I needed to do was to collect all 24 teams and I'd have a full set. However, once I got a few, I started noticing some differences.

The first difference was that some cards had 2 questions, and other cards had 3.

Then after acquiring some more cards I realized that I had two cards for a team that both had 3 questions, but the logo was different.

I then realized that there were actually 3 distinct sets!

Doing a little more research, I found out that Fleer included these cards in packs issued between 1969 and 1971. Now that I'd narrowed it down to the years they were produced, I needed to figure out which type of quiz card came from which year. Since the cards are not dated, this was going to take some work.

Thanks to the Cubs, the Pilots, and the Phillies, I have what I think is the answer to the question of which type of quiz card came from which year.

Lets start with the Cubs and the two different 3 question cards:

The first thing you will notice is that the logos are slightly different, with "UBS" completely inside the C on the left while "UBS" is sticking further out on the right. The bigger difference however, is in the size of the logo. The logo on the left is smaller than the logo on the right. The logo on the right extends all the way to the white borders around the logo while this is not the case with the logo on the left. This difference in logo sizes is found for every team.

So - now we have a way to tell the difference between the 2 different quiz cards which contain 3 questions. One set has 3 Questions / Small Logo and the other set has 3 Questions / Large Logo. In addition to the size of the logo, in many cases as we will see there is a different logo as well.

But which came first - the 3 Question / Small Logo set or the 3 Question / Large logo set?

The answer is found in Question # 1 on the Cubs Quiz cards. The Small Logo card question asks "What IS the nickname of the NEW Seattle Baseball Club?", whereas the Large Logo card asks a slightly different question: "What WAS the nickname of the Seattle Baseball Club"?

Thanks once again to the Pilots, we can determine the order in which these were issued. The 3 Question / Small Logo set had to come first since the 3 Question / Large Logo set came out after the Pilots moved to Milwaukee.

Now that we've established the order of the sets that contain 3 Questions, what about the 2 Question cards? Did they come before both 3 Question sets, after the 3 Question sets, or were they released in between?

To answer that question, we turn again to the Pilots:

Note the card on the right is the 3 Question / Large Logo card as the logo extends all the way out to the white border. Since the Pilots quiz card is a 2 question card, this proves that the 2 question card had to have been produced before the 3 Question / Large Logo variation given the Pilots became the Brewers.

So, for the final question, was the 2 Question card produced before or after the 3 Question/Small Logo variation? To solve this riddle, we turn to the Phillies:

The 3 Question/Small Logo card on the left has the old Phillies logo while the 2 Question card has the logo the Phillies started using for the 1970 season. Therefore, the 2 Question card has to fall in between the two 3 Question variations. Mystery solved!

To summarize: The 3 Question/Small Logo variation was issued in 1969 (based on the question about the Pilots on the Cubs card), followed by the 2 Question variation in 1970 (based on the change in the Phillies logo), with the final set in 1971 with 3 Questions / Large Logo (based on the change from Pilots to Brewers).

If you want to take the variation theme even further, there are some cards I have found where the questions are different for what appear to be the same set. I don't have enough of these cards to confirm that all teams have question variations or not, but at least some do.

One other thing to note - both 3 Question sets carry the line "Quiz yourself, your family, your friends", while the 2 Question card does not.

Finally, the cards are a bit shorter than the 1967-1968 Fleer Emblem cards I reviewed previously, but are still taller than a regular card. The Quiz cards are 2.5 x 4.0 inches, whereas the Emblem cards are 4.5 inches tall.

Now that I've explained how to spot the differences, over the next few days, I will post each team and their 3 Quiz card variations.

UPDATE 4/2010:

I was able to acquire a 1969 Fleer Pennants & Stamps unopened pack

which is the product that contained the 1969 quiz cards, and allows us to confirm without a doubt

that the 1969 quiz cards have 3 questions, and have the smaller logo which does not extend all the way out to the border around the logo:


Blake said...

Jon - I never thought I'd find much interest in the Fleer stickers, but you continue to amaze with stuff I never even knew existed. Keep it up.

Fleerfan said...

Blake - I never knew much of this stuff existed until a few years ago. I started off trying to track down the Fleer patches I remembered from my childhood, and in looking for those I started coming across more and more Fleer items which I never knew about.

You don't see much about these items in price guides which is what makes it fun trying to track them down and find out as much as I can about each of them. They are in a sense "undiscovered", which is what gave me the idea to start publishing as much information as I could about each set.

In fact, just this past week, I discovered 1988 Twins & Pirates Fleer Sticker variations I never knew existed! I'm always finding out something new about these items that are 20, 30, or even 40 years old!