Being born in the 1970s, I never had the opportunity to open packs of AFL football cards. By the time I began collecting 1960s football cards, their values had risen, and there was some difficulty in finding the cards that I needed. As a result, my sets were slowly built with purchases on eBay and trades with other collectors. Bob Swick, publisher of Gridiron Greats Magazine and general ambassador of football & memorabilia, has collected for decades. In this neat little remembrance, Swick takes football card collecting back to a time before the internet, when sets really were built one card at a time, over the course of many years. Enjoy!!
I was too young in 1962 to buy packs of 1962 Fleer AFL football cards. Thus as I got older and set upon my collecting journey, the Fleer run of AFL football cards from 1960-1963 was needed. I took a quick liking to the 1962 set, which had unique player picture backgrounds along with an aqua blue back at the top of the back of the card. I also enjoyed reading the classic write-ups on the players on the back of the cards. I picked up my first 1962 Fleer AFL cards when I started putting together my run of football card sets in the mid 70’s. Since I wrote down my purchases of football cards over the years, my first 1962 Fleer’s were bought back in 1977 along with a handful of other AFL cards in a 100 card lot for $3! I picked up five 1962’s in that purchase.
Fast forward to the red hot early 1990’s when football cards started to come out of closets and attics, more and more vintage football cards hit the market. And I started to pursue the 1962 Fleer set with greater urgency. I would pick up one or two cards along the way at shows or in lots that I bought. Locally a private collector back in 1991 sold me thirty cards to the set.
This was the toughest eighty eight card set that I had put together at that time as I was stuck on having eighty four of the eighty eight cards to the set. It ended up taking me until 1996 to finish the set with two years actively looking for cards of the Dallas Texans which for some reason were nowhere to be found at card shows here in New England. I ended up buying the last four cards that I needed from a small dealer in Pennsylvania in 1996. Those four cards were from the Texans #23-Jack Spikes, #26 Jimmy Saxton, #28 Bill Miller and #31 Jerry Mays. I paid a whopping $6 plus a self addressed stamped envelope for those cards to finish my set.
This set represents to me several classic characteristics of football sets from the 1960’s. First, it was relatively easy to collect in that it was only eighty-eight cards. Second, it was a crisp set uncluttered in its appearance (as was the 1963 Fleer set). And lastly it was a pure American Football League set. It is truly one of my favorites in my football card set run.