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The Frank H. Fleer Company had been making bubble gum since the 1920s but only dabbled in card issues occasionally through the 1950s. Sitting on the sidelines as other companies battled it out over exclusive player rights, Fleer kept their focus on profits and the bottom line. Eventually realizing that in order to maintain and grow their market share, they would have to throw their hat in the trading card ring. The company ended up making an aggressive pitch to one of the most popular players of the era. When they successfully negotiated an exclusive contract with the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams, it gave them a big boost.
Despite being well on his way to winding down his career in 1959, Ted Williams was still one of the best and most popular players in the game. The 1959 Fleer Ted Williams Baseball card set chronicles the Splendid Splinter's exploits, both on and off of the field. From being the last hitter to reach the .400 mark, earning two Triple Crown awards and a host of milestone hits and highlight-reel plays, all are included in this cardboard biopic of Williams' life. Many of his activities away from baseball are noteworthy as well. His well-documented years of U.S. military service in the Marines, during two wars are also featured. He is also in the Fishing Hall of Fame, so two cards show him pursuing that passion. He is shown as a youth, and one card even shows him with Babe Ruth, and others feature hitting tips for young players.
One card in the set is one of the, naturally, scarcest cards of the postwar era. Card #68 is titled "Ted Signs for 1959" (in a remarkable NM-MT+ PSA 8.5) and features him signing his player contract for the season. However, it showed him with Red Sox GM Bucky Harris, who was still signed to an exclusive with Topps. As a result, the card had to be pulled from production.
An affordable set for the era, it's relatively small set size makes it attractive to many vintage collectors and is a must for any Boston Red Sox or Ted Williams collector.
Awesome high grade 1959 Fleer Ted Williams Set, #16 on the PSA Set Registry with a 8.45 weighted GPA, is over 1/2 MINT PSA 9 with no card under NM-MT PSA 8. Set breakdown is:
MINT PSA 9 (41) - #3, 18, 20, 22-24, 26, 28-34, 36-38, 39 (Cronin/Collins/Williams), 41, 43-45, 49-51, 53-56, 59-62, 64, 66, 67 (Williams/Snead), 69, 76-78, 79 Where Ted Stands.
NM-MT+ PSA 8.5 (4) - #13, 15, 68 Ted Signs For 1959, 75 (Ruth/Collins/Williams).
NM-MT PSA 8 - (35) - #1 The Early Years, 2 (Ruth/Williams), 4-8, 9 (Collins/Williams), 10, 11 (Foxx/Williams), 12, 14, 16, 17 1941 - How Ted Hit .400, 19, 21, 25, 27, 35, 40, 42, 46-48, 52, 57, 58, 63 Ted's All-Star Record, 65, 70 (Thorpe/Williams), 71-74, 80 Ted's Goals For 1959.
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Individual SMR value over $8,000.