Tag Archives: Michael Jordan

Derek Jeter’s Cardboard Gold

With the recent record-breaking sales of Derek Jeter’s 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold “rookie card” for $13,479 and $16,995 in PSA Mint 9 and SGC 96 Mint condition, respectively, I thought it might be fun to dig up and explore some other significant examples of gold-themed Jeter cards.

13636a_lgFrom his traditional rookie card year of 1993, Derek can be found on gold-themed parallels of both his regular Topps and Upper Deck rookie cards. While his regular (non-gold) Topps rookie card fetches between $100 and $140 in PSA 10 Gem Mint condition, his 1993 Topps Gold parallel PSA 10 sells for $300 to $400. Topps Gold parallels were produced between 1992 and 1994, and in 1993 they were seeded 1 per wax pack, 3 per rack pack, 5 per jumbo pack, 10 per factory set, and 1,000 per every 12,000-count vending case. To date, PSA has graded 12,754 examples of Derek’s regular 1993 Topps #98 rookie card versus 3,142 total of his Topps Gold parallel, awarding 1,247 PSA 10 Gem Mints to the regular and just 196 to the Gold, which is about the same number of PSA 10 Gem Mint examples of Michael Jordan’s famous 1986 Fleer rookie card on record at PSA (190).

92 UD Gold HoloJeter’s 1993 Upper Deck rookie card parallel is a little more subtle, as the only difference between the regular version and the parallel is the color of the foil used for the Upper Deck authentic hologram on back. The so-called “Gold Hologram” parallels were distributed exclusively in factory set form. For every set case of 15 92 UD Silver Holofactory sets, one set was struck with the coveted Gold Hologram on back, and PSA 10 Gem Mint examples — there are currently only 26 of them on record, versus 352 of Derek’s regular 1993 Upper Deck rookie card — continue to sell for around $1,000.

15_6876a_lgDerek has precisely 22 different cards from his traditional rookie card year of 1993, and the only other gold-themed issues are the elusive 1993 Front Row Gold Collection (with a supposed print run of 10,000 but only 21 PSA 10s so far) and the far more common 1993 Classic Best Gold. He also has a pair of gold parallels from among his 18 different cards produced during his draft year of 1992: the condition sensitive Front Row Gold parallel (with a print run of 5,000 and just 10 PSA 10s) and the Classic Four Sport Gold (print run 9,500 and 48 PSA 10s). From his nearly 40 different cards in 1994, there are three more gold parallels — again a Classic Best Gold, also the highly coveted Collector’s Choice Gold Signature, shown here, and the Topps SS Prospects Gold parallel — but the real Midas madness for Jeter cards doesn’t fully materialize until 1995 and 1996, at the peak of the late 1990s insert mania that would come to define the period and change the collectibles industry forever.

11279a_lgIn 1995, Derek can be found on seven different gold-themed insert and insert parallel cards, perhaps the most attractive and undervalued of which is the 1995 Bowman Gold Foil parallel, a stunning card to behold in person. Even more stunning, however, is the 1995 Select Certified Mirror Gold. Unlike its famously short-printed 1996 successor, however, the 1995 Mirror Gold is a common insert parallel (or parallel insert, to be more precise) seeded 1 in every 5 packs. Using insertion rates, BaseballCardPedia.com guesstimates that approximately 1,900 copies were produced. The cards boast a combination of gold foil and a prismatic chromium surface similar to Topps’ refractor technology, and they’re so stunning that it’s no wonder the Score/Pinnacle brass decided to limit the follwing year’s 1996 version of its Select Certified Mirror Gold cards to an unprecedented, industry-changing print run of just 30 exalted copies of each card produced.

Other gold-themed Jeter cards from 1995 include a handful of additional Upper Deck parallels from different products plus an Ultra Golden Prospect Gold Medallion parallel produced by Fleer, but by his Rookie of the Year season of 1996, you can find Jeter on nearly 20 different gold-themed insert and insert parallel cards, most of which are short-printed parallel versions of Jeter’s regularly issued cards that have been treated with some sort of gold foil or other gold theme in order to help distinguish them from the regular versions.

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jeter mirror goldThe most famous and valuable of all of Derek Jeter’s cards produced during his Rookie of the Year season of 1996 — or from any year, for that matter — is of course the 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold, a PSA 10 Gem Mint example of which will head to auction in September in Small Traditions’ Exclusive Derek Jeter Farewell event. For more information on this premium event, or to consign your high-end Derek Jeter and other Yankees items, please call 303.832.1975 or write info@smalltraditions.com.

If September is too long to wait to satisfy your itch for Jeter gold, however, then try searching all the 202 different Jeter cards in Small Traditions’ current Monthly Masterpieces Plus #22 Auction, where you will find a staggering number of gold-themed insert and insert parallels, including strong PSA Mint 9 examples of both the 1997 and 1998 evolved versions (or successors) of Select Certified’s treasured Mirror Gold cards, now in ’97 and ’98 called “Platinum Gold” parallels, also short-printed to infinitesimal print runs of just 30 copies made. Unlike the 1996 version, both examples up for auction this month are serial-numbered on back, and both are stamped 01 out of just 30 printed, making them coveted 1/1s or one-of-ones according to many collectors.

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13866b_lgFinally, I would be remiss not to mention another and more literal class of Jeter gold cards, those that are actually constructed of gold. While 23-24KT gold-leaf cards like the admittedly condition sensitive (Pop 3 PSA 10) 1997 Bleachers card shown below might be more over-produced gimmickry than true scarcity, gold-leaf cards like these, also produced in large quantities of 10,000 to 50,000 over the years by Upper Deck, should not overshadow the much more desirable Precious Metals cards famously produced by Donruss in 1997 and 1998. These immaculate cards are constructed of 1 gram of fine gold, and they were limited to just 100 copies made in 1997 and only 50 in 1998. A BGS 10 Pristine example of the 1997 issue sold for $1,994 in Small Traditions’ inaugural December Premium Holiday auction last year, and the much scarcer 1998 BGS 10 example shown here will hopefully find its way into Small Traditions’ Exclusive Derek Jeter Farewell Auction in September. They are, quite literally, Jeter gold, and they remain among the most coveted Jeter cards in existence.

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2000 Skybox E-X E-Xceptional Red, Green & Blue

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The 2000 Skybox E-X E-Xceptional insert set is one of the most popular insert sets from the insert-crazed era of the late 1990s. Judging by their availability on eBay, or the lack thereof, the E-X E-Xceptional cards are also among the most coveted and hoarded of all inserts, despite the fact that they were not nearly as short-printed as other popular inserts from the period. The set is comprised of 15 cards, including Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken Jr., Chipper Jones, and Frank Thomas, among others, and they are available in three different tiers, or parallels, of varying print runs. An example from the base Red set could be pulled one in every 14 packs and was produced to a print run of 1,999 serial-numbered sets, the Green to a print run of 999, and the Blue to just 250, the latter of which could be pulled at a rate of one in every 288 packs. Based on these numbers, some quick math proves that there exist precisely 29,985 of the Red cards, 14,985 of the Green, and 3,750 of the Blue. And yet, a quick search on eBay reveals just thirty available examples—yeah, just thirty—which begs the question: where the heck have they all gone?

$T2eC16R,!w0E9szNYh(pBRQ-w1c,!Q~~60_3Produced by Skybox, a brand of Fleer/Skybox International, the E-X E-Xceptional cards are remarkably similar to the mega popular Skybox E-X Jambalaya basketball insert cards of the late 90s, arguably the most popular insert cards ever produced, with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant examples from 1997 and 1998 generating sales in excess of $10,000. John at oldschoolbreaks.wordpress.com writes that the E-X E-Xceptional is his personal favorite insert set, and he notes that the cards “feature the same technology used in the Jambalaya inserts in basketball.” That is to say, the cards are die-cut in an oval shape, and they feature an almost cloth-like front surface that creates a 3-D appearance similar to the old-school Sportflix cards of the 1980s. The cards are exceptionally attractive in person, no pun intended, but their die-cut perimeters and black backs often show excessive chipping on the reverse, creating a challenge for high-grade collectors seeking PSA 10 Gem Mint or BGS 10 Pristine perfection.

3883b_lgThe 2000 E-X E-Xceptional baseball insert cards are rare but not impossible, and there are just enough still kicking around to make collecting the set a challenge, in any condition, but especially in top grades. The cards are intensely appealing in person, and they share an affinity with one of the most popular basketball insert sets ever produced. In short, the E-Xceptional cards are exactly that, exceptional, on every level, Red, Green, and Blue.

* Please note that the Green and Blue PSA 10 examples above are available in the Small Traditions web store, and the Red PSA 10 is currently up for auction in our Monthly Masterpieces Plus #9 auction, ending tomorrow night, Saturday 6/1.