Upper Deck to use Fleer's name, toy car business

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. -- The Upper Deck card company has won an auction to take over rival Fleer's name and its toy car business.

Upper Deck, of Carlsbad, Calif., bid $6.1 million for the intellectual property and die-cast toy business of debt-ridden Fleer, according to the Web site of Warren J. Martin Jr., a lawyer overseeing Thursday's auction.

Saddled with nearly $40 million in debt, Fleer went out of business in May. Lawyers for the Mount Laurel-based company said that the rising costs associated with putting sports memorabilia into packs of cards, coupled with dwindling interest in the hobby, led to the company's demise.

A state Superior Court judge in Mount Holly was to be asked to approve the sale to Upper Deck on Friday.

Fleer's remaining memorabilia -- items ranging from a uniform from Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh to a box of baseballs signed by retired pitcher Sparky Lyle to pingpong balls used in an NBA draft lottery -- are to be auctioned off later.

The proceeds from that auction and the one held Thursday will go to a list of creditors that includes dozens of professional athletes.