2012-13 Fleer Retro Hockey Box Break

boxFleer Retro Hockey is meant to appeal to collectors who fondly remember the 1990s: a time where gold and silver foil, holograms and chromium ruled the day. Each box contains six autographed cards and tons of 1990s-themed insert cards. A 20 pack box (5 cards per pack) costs around $115. Here are the results of the box I opened:

68 Base Cards

base_kane base_linden
The base set is kind of plain looking, but not in a bad way. It’s clean. Silver foil is used for the player’s name and position, as well as for the piping along the left edge and around the upper-left and lower-right corners. The look is actually quite tame compared to some of the 1990s designs that are used on the insert cards.

base_kane_back base_linden_backThe back of each card has five years of stats and a short bio paragraph, as well as the usual information (height, weight, etc.). About one-third (33) of the 100 base cards are of retired greats, while the other 67 are of current players.

2 1992-93 Ultra inserts

92-93_landeskogI liked the 1992-93 Fleer Ultra Hockey set when it came out 20 years ago, and would have been happy if every card in the base set looked like these. But, that is not the case. Even more disappointing — to me, anyway — is that this particular insert is found 1 in every 8 packs.

4 1993-94 Ultra inserts

93-94_kreiderThe 1993-94 inserts are a bit easier to get, and are found in every 6th pack or so.

4 1994-95 inserts

94-95_tavaresAh yes, more retro inserts. I enjoy this aspect of Fleer Retro — lots of “retro-themed” insert sets. Morbo demands more retro cards!!!

4 Metal Universe inserts

metal_lemieuxOh, hey, wait…slow down now. Let’s not be hasty. We don’t need an insert set of every Fleer set from the 1990s. Especially not Fleer Metal Universe.

4 Flair Showcase Row 2

showcaseWait, wait. I take that all back! These Flair Showcase Row 2 insert cards are based on a 1996-97 basketball card set. I’d rather have inserts that are derived from old hockey sets than old basketball sets — even Metal Universe Hockey is better than riffing on an old basketball set.

1 Flair Showcase Row 2 Legacy Collection

showcase_legacyThis is a parallel, serial-numbered 39 out of 150. Upper Deck does not state the odds of getting one of these.

2 EX inserts

ex2_bureAnd so it continues. These EX insert cards are based on football card inserts from 2001. I do like the fact that they are die-cut and double-thick. The player and the shiny area on the left are raised up over the surface of the rest of the card, which is clear plastic with gold-foil lettering. If you pull one of these cards, it takes the place of two cards in the pack. Not a complaint; just an observation.

1 Ultra Stars insert

ultra_starsI don’t know if this is based on a football or basketball insert set from the 1990s, but I do know that there was no hockey set called Ultra Stars back in the 1990s.

1 Intimidation Nation insert

intimidation_nationSigh! Another insert based on a different sport. Intimidation Nation first appeared as an insert in the 1998 Skybox Football set.

1 Thunder Noyz Boyz insert

noiz_boyzUgh! And Noyz Boyz first appeared in 1998-99 SkyBox Thunder Basketball, and yet somehow found its way into a hockey set. That explains the “Thunder” logo above Henrik Lundqvist’s glove hand. Noyz Boys fall 1 in every 132 packs. I’ll consider myself blessed.

5 Autographics Cards

auto_sheppardauto_martin auto_lewis

auto_halischuk auto_atkinson

Oh man, I love me the autographs.The five that I pulled were (from top) James Sheppard, Matt Martin, Trevor Lewis, Matthew Halischuk and Cam Atkinson. However, I have a big gripe about these too–and it isn’t that the autographs are on a sticker.

Autographics was an insert set in 1996-97 Skybox Basketball cards, and later in Skybox Football and Baseball card sets too. So, “Autographics” may seem retro to card collectors of other sports, but mean absolutely nothing to a hockey card collector — especially one from the 1990s.

1 Rookie Sensation autograph

auto_silfverbergAh-hah! Now we’re talking. This Rookie Sensation autograph borrows the design from the 1994-95 Fleer Rookie Sensation insert set. I approve. I also like the fact that the “sticker auto” cleverly fits into the design.

What I like about Fleer Retro: Six autographed cards per box. No stupid jersey cards. An easy-to-complete base set (100 cards) with no SPs. Challenging to collect, yet worthwhile retro sets based on the 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95 and Metal Universe sets.

What I dislike about Fleer Retro: All of the other insert sets are based on football or basketball cards.I find that insulting to hockey fans. I don’t understand why Upper Deck didn’t use insert sets that oldschool hockey fans would feel nostalgic about, like Red Light Specials, Speed Merchants, Premier Pivots or Ultra Imports. Cards of those old inserts would have put this over the top, instead of Noyz Boys or Intimidation Nation (et al), which have no nostalgic value to me.

Rating 4 out of 5Sure, I’m complaining hardcore about some of the insert sets. But the inserts that I like I really like. I also think six autographs for $115 is a great price, especially when you compare it to other products that cost more and include less autos. After purchasing a few additional boxes, I was easily able to finish of the base set without any collation problems. If you liked the Fleer cards from the 1990s and autographed cards, then Fleer Retro is worth your while. 

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

9 thoughts on “2012-13 Fleer Retro Hockey Box Break”

  1. I was going to buy a box of this when it first came out. I saw the 92-93 Ultra inserts and I was going to chase them. But once I saw the price of a box, $115 a mini box, $225 a box, and then how crappy the autographs looked, I bailed. There seems to be a lot of scrubs in autographics checklist, I also don’t like how they look. They left way too much space to put the sticker and then you have cards like the Frolov were they didn’t even put the sticker on straight.
    My two most anticipated sets, Panini Classics and Fleer Retro, were overpriced duds. Which is obvious when you look at release day price to the price today.

    1. Jason, you are right about the price. It initially was $225 a box. I am not sure why the price dropped so dramatically. I think this product is pretty sweet for $115, but I don’t think I’d feel the same at twice the price.

  2. I agree with Jason, I can’t believe the initial sticker price of both retro sets. I am sure there is obviously a chunk of money that goes into making these sets but really when you compare them with similar products I think nostalgia can only go so far in the case of Ultra and sure retired players are amazing but a Daryl “Razor” Reaugh auto isn’t a 30 dollar a pack hit and unfortunately Panini Classics has many Reaugh calibre hits.

    With that being said, obviously Upper Deck and Panini are trying to make up some financial ground with few sets so it is easier for them to lower their prices slowly rather than raise them.

  3. I agree with Jason, I can’t believe the initial sticker price of both retro sets. I am sure there is obviously a chunk of money that goes into making these sets but really when you compare them with similar products I think nostalgia can only go so far in the case of Ultra and sure retired players are amazing but a Daryl “Razor” Reaugh auto isn’t a 30 dollar a pack hit and unfortunately Panini Classics has many Reaugh calibre hits.

    With that being said, obviously Upper Deck and Panini are trying to make up some financial ground with fewer sets because of the lockout so it is easier for them to lower their prices slowly rather than raise them.

  4. All I know is that they should hire a guy like me or you to help with these sets, to really bring back the passion of hockey cards. It is an utter, unacceptable total FAIL that they have basketball and football cards in this “retro” set.

    I guarantee you whoever made this set did not collect hockey cards in the 90’s and that is just WRONG.

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