I remember back in the beginning of my collecting days, before the hype of the 89 Upper Deck set, about mid-1987, the 1984 Fleer Update set broke the 200.00 mark. This set was the one that made me wish I started collecting a few years earlier. What an awesome set of 132 cards. I never saw a set behave, price-wise as this set did. A player in baseball would get hot and when you looked for his rookie/first card it would come from this set.
The set took off first because of Dwight Gooden, when he fell, it was Clemens, then Saberhagen then Puckett. It seemed the set was destined to continue going up and up and up. I was envious of anyone who had the set. But always in the back of my mind I thought, this set has to be over-priced, it cant continue to increase. And in a way, I was right. I had a friend who bought the set for 500.00 in late 1988, he was very happy because the sets were always hard to find, there was no ebay at that time. I thought he was crazy but as long as he was happy who was I to judge.
I was right that the set would implode, but it didn’t as much as I thought it would. Everyone was buying the set as if Saberhagen, Darling, Puckett, Clemens, Gooden, Key, and Langston were all going to the Hall at the end of their careers. I knew that, of all the hot stars out there, only 5-10% of them ever reach the Hall. So the set must be overpriced. If I remember correctly the set reached a peak of around 800.00. Now it can be had for half that on ebay.
But at 300-400 dollars, isn’t this set still overpriced?
The only card in it, that I find worth a high value is the Puckett card. Clemens was a great pitcher but he is as tainted as Rose is although for him its steroids rather than gambling. Saberhagen, Langston, Gooden, Darling, all failed in their chances to reach the Hall, as Clemens and all the other Roids users in the 80s and 90s did.
So what makes this set worth 400.00? Nothing really, its just that the hobby has been so used to seeing it at a high price tag that to see it sell for 100.00 would seem foreign and strange. Clemens still grabs collectors as much as Rose does, but he shouldn’t. Rose’s play was genuine, it was his gambling on games that cost him. Clemens play will always be tainted, he enhanced his performances illegally and his rookie from this set should be worth at most a semi-star price. But supply and demand are the ultimate indicators most of the time. Although this set might be the exception. Personally I think this set should sell in the 100.00 range, but when owners of this set, who spent 300-800 dollars to buy it back in the 80s, see it should be priced in the range I stated, they refuse. It sells for 300-500 or they prefer to keep it. It’s hard to buy something for a price you think its worth if sellers would rather keep a set than take a big loss on it sale,
This set will drop in price as time passes and collectors who remember watching the players and buying the set start to die. The only problem is that I am one of them lol.
An Update to this article:
I recently did see an auction on Ebay for the boxed set. I actually bid on it myself but was away from my phone and computer at the auction’s end so I didn’t have a chance to up my bid before it sold. The price? It sold for $122.50. If more sales like this occur, the set will move down in price to a more appropriate level.