Fleer 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
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.
The 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
I 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
4 1994-95 inserts
4 Metal Universe inserts
4 Flair Showcase Row 2
Wait, 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
2 EX inserts
And 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
1 Intimidation Nation insert
1 Thunder Noyz Boyz insert
Ugh! 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
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
Ah-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.
Sure, 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. ■