We at Just Collect certainly love the Three Stooges and we recently purchased a 1959 Fleer Three Stooges Set. We were happy to buy this set, but unfortunately, the set did not include any of the three extremely scarce and very valuable checklist back variations. Regardless, this vintage set, like so many of the non-sport cards issued prior to 1980, is near the top of our WANTED list.
The 1959 Fleer Three Stooges Set is also one of the most popular trading card sets of all-time. The "Stooges" act began as part of a 1920s Vaudeville comedy group, billed as "Ted Healy and his Stooges", consisting of Healy, Moe Howard (Horowitz), his brother Shemp Howard (Horowitz) and Larry Fine (Feinberg). Eventually, the Stooges left on their own creating the "Three Stooges."
Non-Sports Are Nothing New!
Non-Sports cards have a unique place in collectibles history. Issued even before sports cards made their appearance in the 1880s, non-sports cards have had images of actors and actresses, political figures, military leaders, animals and most anything else that you can fathom. Whether issued for promotional advertising or as product premiums, these pasteboards have a an incredible track record and have been the fancy of collectors for nearly 150 years. A few of the most popular have been actors and actresses produced in the 1880s, World Leaders & Places produced at the turn of the 20th century and several of the pre-World War II issues from Gum, Inc. that included Superman, Lone Ranger and Horrors of War.
After World War II, Gum, Inc. became Bowman in 1948, and along with fledgeling competitor Topps, produced a series of cards that promoted radio and TV serials in the early 1950s. As Bowman left the card manufacturing scene after being purchased by Topps in 1956, Topps took over the reigns, producing several TV and radio-centric sets until Fleer immortalized the Three Stooges in 1959! The Fleer Three Stooges Set features colorized still shots of Larry Fine and brothers Moe and Curly Howard in various shenanigans from their wide array of short films. Despite the end of the trio in 1970, the Stooges, Stooges memorabilia and specifically the 1959 Fleer set continues to draw tremendous attention on the secondary market almost five decades later.
Just Collect is ALWAYS interested in buying non-sports cards, especially those from the 1930s-1970s, so contact us for a FREE appraisal if you have any of these cards.
The Beginning Cards of the Three Stooges Set
The first three cards in the set are the most desirable as they depict Curly, Larry and Moe individually. The most popular card is Curly, who graces the #1 card. As is the norm on vintage sets, the #1 Curly card is extremely difficult to locate in high grade. The second card in the set is #2 Moe, followed by the #3 Larry. Another tough card is the last card in the set, #96 "The Squeeze Play," that is subject to the wear and tear of being the last card in the set.
Curly, who passed away in 1952, had been replaced by Shemp Howard (who had been an original prior to leaving the troupe in 1932) after a debilitating stroke in 1946. After Shemp passed in 1955, Joe Besser joined the trio for a short while before Joe De Rita became the final addition as "Curly Joe." While Moe and Larry were the two constants in the Stooges and were with the trio from beginning to end, the younger Curly may have been the most popular.
The 1959 Fleer Three Stooges checklist includes a total of 96 cards highlighting some combination or the entire trio, typically in the midst of some sort of gag with a punch line or joke at the bottom. The non-sport cards were printed on several different stocks, with the most common being the white and grey stock. While the white stock tends to present much nicer, the grey stock seems to be harder to find in top condition. There really hasn't been a significant premium paid for either, however.
The reverse of the cards are colorful with artwork and a cartoon of the trio. The card number is within the red Fleer crown logo and the text body contains short gags or jokes depicted in the form of scripts. Three cards have extremely rare back variations that feature checklists on the reverse instead of the jokes and gag narrations. These very scarce cards are #16, #63 and #64. The Stooges are considered to be some of the most desirable post-war entertainment trading cards.
Our Buying Philosophy
We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the past decade. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards, we are also extremley interested in buying non-sports cards, too!
Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.
We Are Always Buying!
Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace.