Tag Archives: PSA 9 Mint

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.

13625a_lg 13634a_lg

5_966a_lg 12010a_lg 7_2007a_lg

9_2973a_lg  10291a_lg  10299a_lg

10266a_lg  12494a_lg  15_8011a_lg

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.

13859a_lg  13866a_lg  14040a_lg

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.

9_2763a_lg 18_8956a_lg NewJeter10

ST_PSA_Full_Page_r3

 

Refractory Refractor: The 1995 Bowman’s Best Blue

jeter 95 b best refThe word Refractor comes to us from the noun refraction, a physics term which refers to the change of direction of a ray of light, but when it comes to the 1995 Bowman’s Best Blue Refractor, the term comes awfully close to the definition for another similar sounding word, the adjective refractory, which means hard or impossible to manage, obstinate, or stubbornly disobedient. Coincidence? Maybe. To date, however, the 1995 Bowman’s Best Blue Refractor #1 Derek Jeter RC Rookie Card does not exist in Gem Mint condition, as neither PSA nor BGS have ever graded a single example above the grade of Mint 9. It is without question one of the most exquisite Derek Jeter cards ever produced, not just from his 350 different rookie cards produced between 1992 and 1996, but from among all of The Captain’s cards ever made. It is also his most condition sensitive.

95 bowmans best boxThe 1995 Bowman’s Best Blue Refactor #1 Derek Jeter is a parallel version of the regular 1995 Bowman’s Best Blue issue. It is about 50 times scarcer than the regular version and about 1,000 times more challenging to find in decent condition. The 1995 Bowman’s Best issue is a 195-card premium, all-foil (or, some call it chromium) set in its second year of production. Also called chase cards, the refractors were seeded one per every 6 packs of the high-end product. One pack contained seven cards, and one box contained 24 packs, so each wax box contained an average of 4 refractors and 164 regular cards. In other words, it would take about 1.2 wax boxes to yield a standard non-refractor Jeter, and it would take nearly 49 boxes to yield a single Jeter refractor. The problem with finding a decent Jeter refractor, however, isn’t that boxes cost anywhere from $200 to $300 on eBay. The problem is that most of the refractor cards are notoriously off-centered, either from top-to-bottom, like the card graded PSA 9 (OC) pictured above, or from left-to-right, which collectors can easily determine by counting the vertical lines to the left and to the right of the “Derek Jeter Yankees” text at the card’s top.

For several years, in fact, the refractor parallels of the Vladimir Guerrero and Andrew Jones rookie cards from this set were some of the most coveted and expensive cards in the hobby, with raw examples selling for as much as $500 to $1,000, depending on their centering, and what few PSA 10s that exist fetching over $2,000. Even to this day, PSA has graded just four examples of the Guerrero and five examples of the Jones in PSA 10 Gem Mint condition, from 294 and 244 submissions, respectively, and most collectors of the set agree that less than 500 examples of each were produced. For its part, Beckett Grading Services has never awarded its Gem Mint grade to either key rookie card, and it has only given the coveted Gem grade to just two cards from the entire set from over 1,300 submissions on record. Now that’s tough!

jeter 95 psa 9 errorjeter 95 psa 9 error backWhat’s even tougher? While even novice collectors can quickly discern the difference between the regular issue and the refractor parallel, there exists a third Jeter version that has eluded even the most advanced of collectors for years. Most price guides are quick to note that card numbers 72 (Carlos Perez) and 84 (Orlando Miller) can be found in the refractor variation both with and without the word “REFRACTOR” printed in the lower left of the reverse, but no price guides make any mention of cards that say “REFRACTOR” on the lower reverse but that do not actually show the refractor finish on front. A Derek Jeter example of this uncatalogued variation is currently up for auction in Small Traditions Monthly Masterpieces #7, along with 221 other premium Derek Jeter cards graded by PSA or BGS. We’re not sure whether the card is a bona fide error or simply an unfinished printer’s proof, and we’re also not sure if it’s the only example in existence. We are sure, however, that it’s the only example we’ve ever encountered, and we’re almost just as sure that it’s the only example you’ll ever encounter as well. It was printed almost 20 years ago, and after another 20 years, it may just prove to be the rarest Derek Jeter rookie card in the hobby.