Brand: Fleer Circa
Card number: 117
The 1996 Circa set(according to Baseballcardpedia) was originally conceived as a high end set. However, low initial orders forced Fleer to reduce the cost of the packs (which in turn made Circa a low-to-mid range set when all was said and done). As it stands, the card design looks and feels like a low end set...and so it's fitting that the set flopped as a high-end release.
The card design itself is quite busy - but I would actually say this is 1995 Fleer done right! The front (while busy) is also both interesting and easy-to-see the team. I don't normally like vertical text either but Fleer made it work with the Larkin card at least. I happen to love the three Reds logos in the card's background (plus the Cincinnati script logo at the bottom).
The back of the card is almost an afterthought...it's plain (with a single action image and a single row of statistics). That said, I think if Fleer had made the back as busy as the front this set would have been a migraine induce headache of a set. As it stands, the Circa set ended up being everything that Fleer's previous year's flagship should have been (rather than what it ended up being).
Final verdict? I like it. I don't love it, but I like it. If I ever get super bored with collecting sets chock full of short prints and other annoying aspects, I could see picking up a box of Circa just for fun!
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