December 2013 Premium Holiday Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/4/2014

Not to be overlooked among our many high-end Derek Jeter pieces this month, the offered 1996 Leaf Signature Century Marks Autograph is one of only 100 examples produced, and it is one of only four ever graded PSA 10 Gem Mint. The card was issued during Derek's 1996 Rookie of the Year campaign, and at Small Traditions we think that qualifies for rookie card status. For whatever reasons, a number of traditional collectors and dealers hold tight to the arbitrary notion that Derek's rookie cards are from 1993, and 1993 only, but what did Jeter do in 1993 to distinguish his cards as such? Perhaps the older-school thinking is that 1993 was the first year that Derek saw widespread inclusion in standard baseball card issues -- from Topps, Bowman, Score, Pinnacle, Upper Deck, SP, etc. -- or perhaps it is because printed price guide pages, which haven't changed much since 1993, put that little "RC" designation next to his 1993 cards. Whatever the reason, the MLBPA recently clarified the issue, requiring card manufacturers to place the "RC" logo on players' actual rookie cards, that is, those produced during the players' official rookie seasons, like this masterpiece Derek Jeter autograph from 1996. The issue is not a new one to the hobby -- what, for example, is a Ty Cobb RC or a Joe DiMaggio RC? -- but opinions will probably always remain divided. A majority of Jeter collectors, however, have fully embraced the idea that all of Derek's cards produced between 1992, when he was drafted, and 1996, when he was the AL ROY, can and should be counted as rookie cards. Their reasons? First and foremost, because it's fun. From a collector's perspective, it is more enjoyable to pursue over 330 different rookie cards from Derek's master rookie card checklist rather than just a couple of dozen from 1993. Of course, their is also money at stake, as collector's are almost always willing to pay extra dollars for items perceived as rookie cards or rookie year memorabilia. So, maybe the answer is that we simply call cards like these "RY" for rookie year instead of RC. Or maybe we just let the market speak. The offered card is not only one of Derek's most attractive and limited autographs produced during his rookie period, but it is also one of his most condition sensitive, and it routinely sells for multiple thousands in raw and in less-than-Gem condition. Graded by our consignor, who pulled this card from a pack back in 1996, this PSA 10 Gem Mint copy might be the finest of all 100 produced, and apart from Jeter's 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold card, it might just be his best ever, not only from 1996, but from all years, rookie or not, so don't be surprised to see examples in any grade selling above the five-figure level when Derek eventually retires and enters Cooperstown.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1
Final prices include buyers premium: $2,814
Number Bids: 14
Auction closed on Sunday, January 5, 2014.
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