My Fleer Tradition Collection (Updated December 26th, 2022)
The Fleer title had a face-lift in '98 and they called it "Tradition". The old flagship title "Fleer" changed it's name in '98 to "Fleer: Tradition" and I'd have to say, it was an upgrade, (See the 1998 Fleer Tradition "Neil Smith" #172 top left). The initial "Fleer: Tradition" release was alive with a lot of colors and live game day action. Incidentally, the "Neil Smith" card is one of the few cards that isn't live game action, but I liked the card so I posted it. The '98 set wasn't as packed with as many insert sets as the previous Fleer titles were, but the quality was there.
The 1999 "Fleer: Tradition" set was another colorful, action-packed set, (See the 1999 Fleer Tradition “Joe Johnson” #173 top right). The 1999 set was Fleer's first set that included autograph cards. (Note: the Fleer Skybox title had autographs as early as '96.), But when it comes to the "Fleer" or the new "Fleer: Tradition" titles, autographs finally made an appearance in '99, (See the 1999 Fleer Tradition “Champ Bailey” #1 left). And the first autograph set by "Fleer: Tradition" was a nice one too. A huge area for the signatures, all of them #'d to 200. Nice way to enter the massive autograph arena, Fleer Tradition.
In 2000 Fleer took a year away from the game action shots and brought a more vintage look to their release. I kinda liked it, it was a nice change. And the set was huge too, a 400 card release, (See the 2000 Fleer Tradition "Derrick brooks" #263 below right). But where the "Fleer: Tradition" release really excelled was with its insert sets; a whopping 9 inserts with one of those being a 147-card autograph set, (Note: Although Beckett has the set
1998 Fleer Tradition: “Neil Smith” #172
1999 Fleer Tradition: “Joe Johnson” #173
1999 Fleer Tradition: “Champ Bailey” Fresh Ink #1
1999 Fleer Tradition: “Jeff Christy” Unsung Heroes #16UH
One set that I really liked about the '99 Fleer Tradition release was the Unsung Heroes insert set, (Note: this is not to be confused with the '96 and '97 Playoff insert sets with the same name. For some reason those insert sets by Playoff are very hard to find.) What I liked about the "Fleer: Tradition" insert set was the player choices within the set, (See the 1999 Fleer Tradition “Jeff Christy” Unsung Heroes #16UH right). How many cards do you think Jeff Christy had? If you guessed, none until this release, then you were right. It sure beats another Manning, Elway or Aikman card, in my opinion.
listed as 160 cards, there are 13 Autographs in this set that I have never seen. So until I find them, I have this total set at 147 and NOT 160.) I have always considered the "Fleer: Tradition" autograph set as a continuation of the "Fleer: Skybox" Autographics set which just happened to be discotinued in 2000 after a 3-year run, (See the 2000 Fleer: Tradition "Jimmy Smith" Autographics #137 below left.
2000 Fleer Tradition: “Jimmy Smith” Autographics #137
2000 Fleer Tradition: “Courtney Brown” Genuine Coverage Nostalgic #GC9
The 2000 release also had 4 incredible memorabilia insert sets. One of those being the Genuine Coverage Nostalgic insert set. While, not being as memorable as the 2001 Leaf Rookies & Stars Cross Training memorabilia set, which might be the only memorabilia set worn by 2 NFL players. The Genuine Coverage Nostalgic set offers a replica jersey of an NFL legend worn by one of the newest incoming rookies. Quite unique in its own right, (See the 2000 Fleer Tradition: "Courtney Brown" Genuine Coverage Nostalgic #GC9 left).
I should also point out that the due to the fact that the 2000 Fleer: Tradition set had such a large set of cards in its base set and a large number of insert sets which included autograph and memorabilia sets, the 2000 Fleer Tradition, made my Top 10 Favorite Master Sets list.
The 2001 release was very similar to the 2000 release in that it was a large close-up with a live game action photo in the background. Whereas, in 2000,
the game action photo was in the background and the close-up were in the foreground. The 2001 release also increased their # of cards from the year before to 450, which is never a bad thing for the collector. The "Fleer: Tradition" release kept the same # of inserts in 2001 at 9, but reduced their # of memorabilia insert sets from 4 to 2.
2000 Fleer Tradition: “Derrick Brooks” #263
2001 Fleer Tradition: “Daunte Culpepper” Grass Roots #9
One of those being the very cool Rookie Retro Threads, (See the 2001 Rookie Retro Threads "Rod Gardner / Freddie Mitchell" Rookie Retro Threads #48 below). These cards show the latest incoming rookies in throwback jerseys and leather helmets. There are also game ball cards included, as well. And with a whopping 59 card set, this one will keep the collector going for a while. I thought so much of this set when I first started collecting it, that it made my "My Top 10 Memorabilia Sets" list.
2001 Fleer Tradition: “Rod Gardner / Freddie Mitchell” Rookie Retro Threads #48
The 2001 release also had 5 insert sets that weren't autographs or memorabilia and those sets were put together very well and had a very good selection of players, (See the 2001 Fleer tradition "Daunte Culpepper" Grass Roots #9 above right). However, gone was the 160 autograph card monstrosity that "Fleer: Tradition" included in its 2000 release. This time a more attainable 34, (Or if you go by my #, it's 38), size set. I really liked the 2001 autographics much more than the 2000 release, (See the 2001 Fleer Tradition "Koren Robinson" Autographics #26 below). What I did not like was the almost identical look that the 2001 Fleer Tradition Autgraphics set had with the 2001 Fleer Authority Autograph set, (See the 2001 Fleer Authority "Koren Robinson" Unlisted Autograph below). Not good. This is something that Collector's Edge did with reckless abandon.
In conclusion, I thought that the "Fleer: Tradition" title release was amazing. It offered me everything I wanted with quality to boot. The title went up until 2004, (I'm still putting the 2001 set together and have barely scratched the surface in 2002 and 2003.), but I look forward to continuing my completion of many more "Fleer: Tradition" sets.
I have complete sets:
Fleer Tradition Series:
1) 1998 Fleer Tradition Set
A) Rookie Sensations Insert
B) Big Numbers Prizes Insert
C) Red Zone Rockers Insert
2) 1999 Fleer Tradition Set
A) Aerial Assault Insert
B) Under Pressure Insert
C) Unsung Heroes Insert
D) Rookie Sensations Insert
E) Fresh Ink Insert
3) 2000 Fleer Tradition Set
A) Throwbacks Insert
B) Rookie Retro Insert
C) Patchworks Insert
D) Feel the Game Insert
E) Whole Ten Yards Insert
F) Tradition of Excellence Insert
G) Genuine Coverage Nostalgic Insert
H) Patchworks Insert *
I) Autographics Insert - Incomplete ( 143 / 149 ) **
4) 2001 Fleer Tradition Set - Do Not Have
A) Throwbacks Insert
B) Keeping Pace Insert
C) Grass Roots Insert
D) Conference Clash Insert
E) Rookie Retro Threads Insert
F) Autographics Insert - Incomplete ( 39 / 44 ) ***
5) 2002 Fleer Tradition Set - Do Not Have
A) School Colors Memorabilia Insert
B) School Colors Duals Memorabilia Insert
6) 2003 Fleer Tradition Set
A) Rookie Sensations Insert - Incomplete ( 2 / 20 )
B) Classics Combinations Insert - Incomplete ( 2 / 29 )
*Note: I had this set complete until I noticed that Beckett had added a Peyton Manning Patchworks card.
**Note: There are 13 Autographs in this set that I have never seen. So until I find them, I have this total set at 147 and NOT 160.
***Note: I added 10 to the total set. The 10 cards I added were 1) a Stephen Davis "Blue Ink" autograph, 2) The Travis Minor Exchange, 3) The Michael Vick Autograph, 4) A Reggie Wayne Autograph, 5) A Duece McAlister Exchange, 6) A Drew Brees Exchange and 7) A Reggie Wayne Unsigned card 8) A LaMont Jordan Exchange 9) An Eddie George Exchange, 10) A Ken Yon-Rambo Exchange.
2001 Fleer Tradition: “Koren Robinson” Autographics #26
2001 Fleer Authority: “Koren Robinson” Autograph #Unlisted