2012 Fleer Retro Box Break Review and Print Runs

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Had a fun little box break yesterday. Wasn’t planning on picking up a box but the LCS offered me the first box out of their last case for only $270, so I decided to gamble. I had just been discussing with a friend the idea of busting a box of this expensive product just to see if I could make my money back. The first 2-3 days after a product launches are typically the days you can expect the highest sales. This is especially true for a collegiate-licensed product like those from Upper Deck.

Here’s the box break video:

So How did I do?

Well, my initial guess was right: I’ll probably be saved by the Warren Moon. So far my Russell Wilson Flair Showcase sold for $65, my Reuben Randle PMGs sold for $38 (I guess I set the BIN too low since these were purchased within seconds,) and I’ve received a couple of decent offers on the Warren Moon. But you may be wondering, how do I know what the print runs are?

Well, a member of the BlowoutCards forums by the name of jdhaugh11 did some serious math for us and came up with what looks to be a really good estimate of the overall print runs. Based on the pack-odds listed on the box, jdaugh concluded that approximately 1,667 cases of this product were made (10,000 boxes.)

He then went on to estimate the overall print-runs for each insert set. Turns out the 1960s autographs (like my Warren Moon) are by far the most difficult to pull in the entire set. Would I trade my Moon for a rookie Jambalaya? Most likely, because I’m a sucker for rookies. But I am still extremely pumped to pull a beautiful on-card auto of such a wonderful player.

Print-Run Estimates, Courtesy of Jdhaugh11

Insert In Set Odds Per Case Print Run
1960 Variation 20 100 1.20 100
1961 Variation 25 20 6.00 400
1962 Variation 35 15 8.00 381
1963 Variation 40 12 10.00 417
PMG Red 100 20 6.00 100
PMG Blue 100 40 3.00 50
PMG Green 100 200 0.60 10
Playmakers Theatre 20 100 1.20 100
Flair Legacy Row 0 100 20 6.00 100
Golden Touch 25 144 0.83 56
A Cut Above 25 144 0.83 56
Noyz Boyz 15 240 0.50 56
Flair Hot Hands 35 120 1.00 48
Intimidation Nation 30 180 0.67 37
Metal Championship Hardware 30 180 0.67 37
Ultra Stars 40 180 0.67 28
Jambalaya 21 360 0.33 26
Fleer Ultra Base 50 1 120.00 4,000
Fleer Metal RC 60 1 240.00 6,667
Fleer Metal Retired 40 1 120.00 5,000
Rookie Sensations 100 3 36.04 601
Rookie Sensations Autos 99 15 8.00 135
1960 Autos 20 667 0.18 15
1961 Autos 24 556 0.22 15
1962 Autos 35 381 0.32 15
1963 Autos 40 333 0.36 15
1997 Autos 50 18 6.70 223
1998 Autos 50 18 6.70 223
1999 Autos 50 18 6.70 223
2000 Autos 49 18 6.52 222

As you can see, the Jambalayas and the 1960 autos are the toughest pulls. Although these numbers are not official from Upper Deck, I believe they are probably pretty darn close to the actual numbers. I don’t expect UD to verify them anytime soon, though.

Final Thoughts on the Product

I love the idea of bringing value back to inserts and serial numbered cards. It makes me nostalgic for my first days of collecting back in the early nineties. However, I think UD diluted the product by trying too hard to fulfill the silly collector demand for more autographs. Trying to stuff six autographs into each box might sound like a good, value-adding idea, but i only works in theory. In actuality, having six autos per box forces you to include too many scrub autos that will sell for five bucks a piece, thus decreasing the value of all autos in the product.

I love the Precious Metal Gems, despite the chipping issues on the reds, and I absolutely love the nostalgia-inspiring inserts and base sets like Flair Showcase, Metal, and Fleer Ultra. However, I think UD is missing the boat by combining all of these fantastic brands into a hodge-podge of a product. Imagine how beautiful it would be to buy a box of “Fleer Ultra 2012” for only 85 bucks. You get just one autograph per box, but each box will also contain 2-3 inserts including [potentially] Precious Metal Gems. A few months later release Flair Showcase or Metal under a similar format.

It takes a special product to work in this format, but I think these brands would fit the mold perfectly. The end result would be a product whose inserts are extremely valuable, autographs are hot commodities, and long-term value remains strong, and more collectors are able to participate in busting the boxes. Can you guess which other popular product sells this way? Yup…Topps Chrome. And that one does pretty well. (click the image below for SueprSize)

Fleer Retro Hits

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