2003 Fleer Genuine baseball cards were released during a time when parallels were sometimes so subtle that they presented identification challenges. When I completed the depicted run, I had to look closely at what was what to understand what was what. We'll get into this in a minute but for now, just know that these are likely often easily overlooked.
I'm a big fan of the Fleer brand and can appreciate any design that incorporates the theme of the baseball field. I've always liked that kind of thinking. This release features what appears to be dirt from the baseball diamond. Upper Deck's inaugural 1989 release feature something similar in terms of design theme.
So anyway, let's get down to the subtle differences among the parallels. Take a look at the 3-card parallel run shown here. At first glance, they almost all appear to look identical. Upon closer review, however, minor differences are shown. If you're looking to build a 3-card run of a player in the set, here's what to know:
- Base: This is the standard card in the set. It features flat silver text in the name plate.
- Reflection Descending: This parallel features flat bronze text in the name plate and the word, "Descending" in the header. From print runs of 130 to 1, serial numbers are exact opposite of the card numbers. I.e., card #1 has a print run of 130, and card #130 has a print run of 1.
- Reflection Ascending: This parallel features flat gold text in the name plate and the word, "Ascending" in the header. From print runs of 130 to 1, serial numbers are identical to the card numbers. I.e., card #1 has a print run of 1, and card #130 has a print run of 130.
The print run strategy used on 2003 Fleer Genuine parallels is the same one used on 1998 E-X2001 Essential Credentials Future and Now parallels. I think this is an interesting set but I do think parallel identification could have been more distinguishable. Common effective strategies include changing the background colors, borders, or font styles. Any of which make parallel differentiation a snap. 2003 Fleer Genuine isn't as easy to identify and requires a greater deal of attention to detail, which may not always be simple to some. Aside from that gripe, this is actually another excellent release by the Fleer brand.
This set receives minimal hobby interest and continues to fly well under the radar. If you're looking to dive into something somewhat obscure but with a familiar concept, try a box of 2003 Fleer Genuine baseball cards.