2011-12 Fleer Retro: Cashing In On Nostalgia

I know this product was released last year but forgive me for I’ve been away from the hobby for a while. Anyway I only recently came across this product while watching box breaks on youtube. Now, I admit I was one of many who were overcome with giddiness and flashbacks of the NBA trading cards of the nineties because I share this sentiment with many collectors; 90’s card designs kick butt!

After watching a few youtube videos, I found the excitement waning slowly. I realized after every PMG or Big Men On Court hit that Upper Deck just pulled a fast one on the hobby world. Instead of coming up with fresh, new card designs – ones that would and should put Panini to shame – we get nothing but rehashes. UD basically opened up their design library and pulled out the best selling, most popular ones they had and reprinted them with new player photographs and an extended checklist. On top of that, they had the audacity to charge hundreds of dollars per box for this “retro” product, something that they probably whipped up on Photoshop & Illustrator in just a few days.

Imagine if a company like Ford produces a 2012 Model-T with no new features like GPS, air-conditioning, automatic transmission, etc. Sure it’s gonna turn some heads while you drive one down the road but when folks realize it’s not the original 1908 automobile, expect their enthusiasm to disappear as quickly as Michael Olowakandi did from the NBA.

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If you’re going to cash in on nostalgia, put some effort into it at least. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Panini is doing a better job in this regard with their Prizm product which (to me at least) does not copy but emulates Topps’ Finest products with their Refractor technology. It’s a modern design with a nod to the cards we loved from 2 decades ago.

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