1986 Fleer Classic Miniatures: Mini? Sure. Classic? Well…….

The other day I was in the mood for some new cards, but there’s not really anything in the stores that I’m that interested in buying… so I thought about the stuff I had in reserve, the “save it for a rainy day” stuff…. and I remembered that I had this 1986 Fleer Classic Miniatures box set that I bought at a show for $1.    This is the top of the box:

1986-fleer-classic-minatures-box-top

I’m not even sure when I bought it, maybe in 2015.  Maybe 2014.  It’s been a while.

Before it sat around my house, it sat around somewhere else for years.  There’s no doubt that this box has not been tampered with… Not that anyone’s going to tamper with a set like this, but many of the cards were stuck together after spending 30 years being adjacent to each other.  I’d pull a literal block of 30 or so cards out of the box, and I’d have to somewhat carefully peel cards off of the block.  The cards were, for the most part, not damaged from this, but it made the process a slow one.

As you can tell from the box top, this is a 120 card factory set and the first of a three-year run for Classic Miniatures.  On the surface they appear to be mini versions of the regular 1986 Fleer, but that’s not completely the case.  Here are the Keith Hernandez cards from both the regular 1986 Fleer set and from the Classic Miniatures set.

1986-fleer-classic-minatures-and-fleer-keith-hernandez

As you can see, they have generally the same card design as the regular 1986 Fleer set but the photos are different.  One thing I should note, because it threw me at first, is that Keith Hernandez’ name is stacked first-over-last on the Classic Mini card only because his name is too long to otherwise fit on the smaller card.

Here’s the back, same deal;  Very similar, but not exactly a miniature version.

1986-fleer-classic-minatures-and-fleer-keith-hernandez-backs

What surprised me the most about the box set was that the enclosed logo stickers seemed to have a unique design.
1986-fleer-classic-minatures-orioles-logo-sticker

I know it’s different from the standard-sized 1986 Fleer stickers, anyway.  The backs are blank, BTW.

After going through the set, it turns out to be very much the mixed bag.  A lot of cards have overly dark photos, like this Paul Molitor (which looks worse in person than in this scan);
1986-fleer-classic-minatures-paul-molitor

…As well as plenty of generic batting and pitching shots which (in my eyes) are even less interesting in a smaller size.  However, there were a bunch of good cards which I’ll feature here.  I’ll make a couple of comments here or there, but otherwise the following cards are the best of the set and stand on their own.

1986-fleer-classic-minatures-cal-ripken

1986-fleer-classic-minatures-carlton-fisk

I just like the dramatic angle on this Damaso Garcia card.
1986-fleer-classic-minatures-damaso-garcia

The Old Comiskey scoreboard in the background makes this one.
1986-fleer-classic-minatures-don-sutton

OK, Red Sox fans… Who’s that in the upper left corner? Al Nipper?
1986-fleer-classic-minatures-jim-rice

This Reggie is the one card from this set I remembered having seen before, I don’t know if that means anything…
1986-fleer-classic-minatures-reggie-jackson

1986-fleer-classic-minatures-steve-garvey
On the whole, it’s far from a great set, but at less than a cent per card, I certainly have no complaints.


For those who hadn’t heard… Bob Lemke, a man who had tremendous influence in the hobby, passed away earlier this week. I’d been reading Mr. Lemke’s work for over 30 years, through the magazines he’d edited/published and later through his blog. I can’t say anything that wasn’t said better in a comment by regular Shlabotnik Report reader and commenter COLONEL77 yesterday, or by Night Owl on his blog Wednesday, but I’ll just say that I was saddened at the news, will miss his blog, and his family and friends are in my thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “1986 Fleer Classic Miniatures: Mini? Sure. Classic? Well…….

  1. Rest in Peace Mr. Lemke. I remember writing to him once (mid-80’s) and was thrilled that he answered back in his magazine. He was an early pioneer in the early days of collecting long before Dr Beckett, the Internet or ebay.

    Also, the 86F minis are pretty neat but the dark blue border makes it one of my least favorites of the 1980’s Fleers. Just a little too overwhelming for me. Also I wasn’t aware that they had alternate photos on some of the cards. I do think that it pretty cool.

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