I'm still building my sets but I thought it would be more interesting to build my favorite team's cards up from the very first sets on up. My team is the Broncos, has been since I watched them win Super Bowl 32. Although somewhat of a bandwagon choice at the time I've since followed them through thick and thin. Luckily we haven't had too many rebuilding years and we usually get rewarded by at least a playoff berth more times than not. I'll only be posting when I can get new Broncos cards for the hoard. I figured it would be easier to start from the beginning. Who can afford or even find all 3,000 + Broncos cards that will be printed this year alone? No one, that's who. Resigned to the fact that I'll never get them all I figure why not start from the beginning; the year 1960 which is the year that Fleer released their AFL (American Football League) only release. The AFL at the time was in direct competition with the NFL. Teams like the New York Titans and the Boston Patriots all got their day in the sun in this release. You can really sense the age and the history of these cards as you hold them in your hand and look at the graphical simplicity of the layout of these cards. It was a different time in terms of printing technology and even the status of the game. Football wasn't really America's past time in those years. Sure football was televised in some areas and for some games but baseball really was king in this era. Football cards wouldn't gain much steam until the mid 1990s (which was when I started collecting) and there were minimal releases and minimal cards to collect. This 132 card set would have been fairly easy to put together within a year's time with a little luck and trading.
All in all there were only 17 Broncos cards to even be collected in 1960. This first one I picked up in a PSA 6 grade. This is the lowest grade card I have in my collection but to me it looks undistinguishable from a PSA 7 or even an 8. My untrained eye just can't tell the difference between grades and to me this looks like a nice example. This is # 6 in the set, Sam Salerno. It is also the only card that's ever been made of him. For comparison; Broncos scrubs like 2003's Cecil Sapp (who looked great at Colorado State but never did very much as a Bronco) has 81 cards. Today's prospects likely get 2-3 times the card counts even if they never play a down. These are just a difference in times and the difference in the industry. At that time cards were mainly a vehicle to sell gum. They were rife with miscuts, gum stains and centering issues. These days (and if you're reading this you are probably all too familiar with this), cards are a huge industry with boxes selling sometimes in the thousands depending on what product you get. Unless you are a true collector who has found your specialty, you probably aren't going to get much enjoyment out of all these new cards though. Sometimes a glimpse into the simpler past like this card is all you need to refocus your efforts and enjoy this hobby for what it is.