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Date posted: September 07, 2012
Updated: Octeber 23, 2012
By Matt Cassidy
Readers who have read a lot of my posts on this website will know that I am a huge fan of re-releases of classic, awesome insert styles - particularly if the original set did not feature a Michael Jordan card. A great example of this is the awesome 93-94 Upper Deck Die-Cut All Star set which was later re-issued with an almost identical design to include the:
After many months of discussion and Upper Deck Brag Photos, as well as a couple of bumps in the release date due to the sourcing of autographs from players, Upper Deck have finally released the 2011-12 Fleer Retro set this month.
You may be aware that some years back Panini secured an exclusive license with the NBA to become the only manufacturer of NBA basketball cards. This has meant that Upper Deck have been only able to release cards featuring players in their college basketball teams since.
In addition Upper Deck bought out other flailing basketball card companies over the years. This included both Fleer and Skybox.
In a decision of pure genius Upper Deck have been able to turn losing the NBA rights - an event that could have been detrimental to the company - into a major positve position by releasing this unique retro set.
Coupled with owning the rights to some of the world's most awesome inserts by buying Fleer and Skybox - particularly those from the 90's - we have an extremely cool set just released and just starting to flood eBay!
The retro set deliberately takes advantage of the requirement that only college photography may be used by featuring every player in the set in his college team. It uses a retro design, features 'Rookie Sensations' and brings back some of our favorite inserts from the last two decades.
Some cards even feature black and white photography which gives these inserts a real old school feel - a very nice combination given the history of the inserts being re-released.
So not only is this a retro set, as in the previous retro sets Upper Deck have released which were new cards simply made to look retro in design, this set brings back retro card feel, uses retro photography, and finishes it all off with actual retro insert designs.
Although the original inserts will always be the Jordan inserts to own, these re-released cards introduce a unique ability to add college cards in high-end inserts side-by-side with the originals.
A quick run-down of this set:
Personally, I am loving the idea of this set! The inserts above read like a list of the top Michael Jordan inserts of all time - even the top Michael Jordan cards of all time!
Additionally this set features players who retired well before inserts really took off. There are modern styled inserts featuring past greats like Jerry West, Chet Walker and Bill Laimbeer up for grabs for anyone busting these packs.
I can't write a glowing post like this without featuring some scans of the old with the new inserts - you definitely want to see how awesome your collection will look when you can couple unreal classic inserts with Jordan playing for the Bulls with an identical card featuring Jordan playing for North Carolina College!
Check out the scans below for some examples:
The Precious Metal Gems (or PMG) Red is serialled to 150 in the 11-12 Fleer Retro set. Below is the Michael Jordan 97-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Red on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Precious Metal Gems Red on the right.
The PMGs are quite possibly the most coveted of Jordan's inserts and any new version will be very popular with collectors. Hopefully the major chipping issues of the previous Precious Metal Gems releases have been sorted out for these new PMGs.
Purely for your viewing pleasure, here is the all new Michael Jordan Precious Metal Gems Blue - these are completely new in the 11-12 Fleer Retro set and are serial numbered to 50.
Serial numbered to only 10, the Precious Metal Gems Green are very highly sought after and valuable Michael Jordan cards. Below is the Michael Jordan 97-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Green on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Precious Metal Gems Green on the right.
At 20 September 2012 there is a 11-12 Fleer Retro PMG Green available for sale on eBay!
The Flair Showcase is serialled to 150 in the 11-12 Fleer Retro set. Below is the Michael Jordan 96-97 Flair Showcase Row 0 Legacy Collection on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Flair Showcase Row 0 on the right.
Below is the Michael Jordan 06-07 E-X Jambalaya on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Jambalaya on the right.
I particularly like the synergy of the photos chosen for the Jambalaya - two real side-by-side showpieces!
Below is the Michael Jordan 06-07 Fleer Autographics on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Autographics on the right.
They even maintained the on sticker auto for the new version as in the old version - I'm not a fan of on sticker autos but in this case its a nice touch.
Below is the Michael Jordan 97-98 Skybox Golden Touch on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Golden Touch on the right.
The Michael Jordan Golden Touch is an awesome die cut, high gold foil card - definitely one of Jordan's best inserts.
Below is the Michael Jordan 96-97 E-X 2000 A Cut Above on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro A Cut Above on the right.
This card has to be one of the best die cut Jordan cards around - the blade background is just plain cool!
Below is the Michael Jordan 98-99 Skybox Noyz Boyz on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Noyz Boyz on the right.
Another awesome 90's die cut insert released as a Michael Jordan college card!
Below is the Michael Jordan 96-97 Skybox Z-Force Big Men on Court on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Big Men on Court on the right.
Yet another re-release of one of my favorite Michael Jordan die cut cards from the 90's makes an appearence in this set!
Below is the Michael Jordan 97-98 Skybox Competitive Advantage on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Competitive Advantage on the right.
Below is the Michael Jordan 97-98 Metal Championship Hardware on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Metal Championship Hardware on the right.
Below is the Michael Jordan 98-99 Skybox Intimidation Nation on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Intimidation Nation on the right.
This has always been a favorite insert of mine - I like the choice of close-up photography used to look formidable as the players 'battle' on the court. Its very cool to see similar photography coming in for the college release of this insert.
Below is the Michael Jordan 97-98 Ultra Court Masters on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Ultra Court Masters on the right.
Below is the Michael Jordan 97-98 Ultra Stars on the left and the Michael Jordan 11-12 Fleer Retro Ultra Stars on the right.
Also part of this set are Michael Jordan cards taking inspiration from the Fleer Tradition Classic '61 set of 1998-99. There are both standard cards and on-card autograph versions.
Below to the left is the Michael Jordan 98-99 Fleer Tradition Classic '61 card, in the middle is the Michael Jordan standard Fleer Retro Classic card and to the right is the Michael Jordan Fleer Retro Classic Autograph.
The autograph is an on card autograph which is great to see!
Updated 23 October 2012
Also part of this new release are some of the nicest buyback autos to date! Upper Deck have included 23 fantastic Michael Jordan cards bought back on the open market, signed personally on card by Michael Jordan then made available as part of this set.
The checklist of 1/1 buyback autograph cards available in the 2011-12 Fleer Retro set:
That is a spectacular list of cards even without a 1/1 Michael Jordan autograph! The 97-98 E-X2001 Jambalaya 1/1 buyback auto sold recently for almost $30,000!
Check out this post for more information about Michael Jordan Buyback autos.
Boxes and singles cards from the 11-12 Fleer Retro set are showing up on eBay in abundance right now due to so many collectors busting cases right at release - now is a great time to get in to add these unreal cards to your collection.
It will be interesting to see how the sales values start to pan out and what happens with the appearence of graded versions. Will this inserts sell for similar prices as their inspiration?
Check out the links below for plenty of cards for sale:
Feel free to let me know what you think about the 2011-12 Fleer Retro set in the comments below.
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