Exclusive Derek Jeter September 2014 Farewell Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/27/2014

As one of just two examples graded PSA 10 Gem Mint from a mere 30 copies produced, the offered 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold Derek Jeter might just be the single most valuable modern sports card in existence.

For several years, collectors have identified the card as a "Holy Grail" of modern baseball cards, but only recently have its similarities to the hobby's holiest of Holy Grails, namely the T206 Honus Wagner, propelled its value into uncharted territory. Most importantly, only 30 copies of the 1996 Mirror Gold card exist, making it almost three times as scarce as the T206 Wagner (with allowance for a handful of Wagners yet to be discovered). It may be a coincidence that both cards are gold, but it's no coincidence that the players featured on both cards are remarkably similar as well.

Like Wagner, Jeter has played his entire career for one team, and both players have been considered the most admired, respected and beloved players of their generations. They both served as team captains--though only one will forever be remembered as The Captain--and they both of course played shortstop. In fact, Wagner is considered the greatest shortstop of all-time--at least, that's what his Hall of Fame plaque says. But what will Jeter's say? Is he really even in the "greatest ever" conversation?

Honus Wagner might have better career power numbers than Derek Jeter--indeed, his rare combination of incredible strength and surprising speed certainly helped to revolutionize the game--but his postseason stats aren't remotely comparable to The Captain's. Granted, in Wagner's time there was only one round of playoffs, whereas today there are three, but Jeter has more than twice as many doubles in the postseason (32, the all-time record) as Wagner had total hits (14), and Jeter's 200 total postseason hits and 302 total bases--almost twice as many as the next highest totals--will be records for generations to come. Jeter has 111 postseason runs, also the all-time record, while Wagner crossed the plate in October just six times, and of course only Jeter has ever scored in November. In all, the 11th Yankee Captain holds a whopping ten different postseason batting records. As for career hits, Jeter recently passed Wagner and also Cap Anson--yeah, Cap Anson--and will end his career in the #6 spot on MLB's All-Time Hits Leaders list, behind Tris Speaker, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, and Pete Rose. Moreover, Derek is one of just two players to ever accumulate 3,000 hits, 250 home runs, 300 stolen bases, and 1,200 RBI in the history of the game. The other player? Willie Mays. Indeed, Derek is in this conversation, and he'll forever be listed, named, and remembered among baseball's all-time greats.

These are numbers and comparisons for the ages. So, too, is the offered 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold card. A century from now, both Wagner and Jeter will still be listed among baseball's top 10 most prolific hitters, along with Rose, Cobb, Aaron, Musial, Speaker, and perhaps a couple of new guys we haven't seen yet (or all of yet). A century from now, both Wagner and Jeter will still be revered and celebrated throughout all of baseball and American culture, with the important difference that Jeter's entire career has been preserved on film and will be looped on replay for eternity. A century from now, Wagner's famous T206 card will still be the most valuable baseball card of its period--and almost certainly of any period--and Jeter's Mirror Gold card will still be the most valuable of its period. A century from now, however, the link between these Midas-inspired cards will perhaps be even more compelling than the linked legacies of the revered players they depict, and it would not be a stretch of the imagination to one day see them sitting side-by-side.

Some important additional notes about the offered 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold Derek Jeter (rookie card):

1.  Number 7 from "10 Important Things To Know About Collecting Derek Jeter" at JeterCards.com: " Jeter’s rookie years of 1992 to 1996 correspond to the hobby development of insert or “chase” cards--special, limited edition cards randomly inserted into packs, many of which were super-short-printed variations, or parallel versions, of a player’s regular or base card. Importantly, his rookie season of 1996 would be the first year that saw products with significantly more than the two basic tiers of print runs that had so far characterized the insert card development of the early to mid 1990s. With its infinitesimal print run of just 30 copies made, the 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold was the hobby's first-ever super-DUPER-short-print, and it is perhaps better known within hobby circles for this reason than for its classification as a Derek Jeter rookie card, which is debatable, despite its production during Jeter's rookie season.

2.  All of Select Certified's 1996 Mirror parallel insert cards are well known to be some of the most beautiful cards ever produced, but they are very challenging to accurately depict online. Their sheer beauty is perhaps the most significant reason for their unprecedented popularity, just like the T206 set, and who knows if it wasn't also the reason for their unprecedented scarcity.

3.  So popular were these cards, in fact, that Select Certified made five separate print runs of the following year's 1997 issue. The first print run contained Mirror parallel cards with the same groundbreaking print run as the 1996 edition--30 Golds, 45 Blues, and 90 Reds--but Select Certified's Pinnacle Brands had bills to pay, so they made two more print runs before the product even went live, and then another two print runs before all was said and done. Pinnacle would be out of business within a year, and rumors and doubts about the total print runs of the 1997 Mirror cards persist to this day, but they were rumors and doubts about the 1997 cards, and also about some of the next year's designs in-process from 1998, but not about the groundbreaking 1996 cards, only 30 of which exist, period. 

4.  What few sales of the card that have occurred ove the last several years have reflected the same meteoric rise in prices paid for the 1993 SP Foil PSA 10, which sold several times in the $5,000 to $10,000 range three to four years ago, a fraction of its now $30,000 to perhaps even $50,000 price tag. To the best of our knowledge, only three public sales of the Mirror Gold have occurred over this same time period, and, oddly enough, they were for Mint 9 examples from each one of the hobby's three lead grading firms: BGS, PSA, and SGC, which sold for $6,000 then $13,500 and then $17,400, respectively, the highest prices ever paid for both a PSA Mint 9 and an SGC Mint 9 modern card, ever, a clear indication of the offered card's potential.

What this PSA 10 is worth is truly anybody's guess, as only one other PSA 10 like it exists from just 30 made, but we do know a few things for certain. With 19 of the the 30 total produced already graded by the combined three firms, the odds of there existing any additional Gem Mint 10s of this card are virtually non-existent compared to the odds of there existing additional 1993 SP Foils in PSA 10. Indeed, if we recognize scarcity as the most important measure of a collectible's value, the cards are not even comparable, which is probably the way some traditional collectors would prefer it! Don't wait another three to four years to purchase an example that will probably cost three to four times as much. This same exponential rise in value has been repeated time and time again for the hobby's very best collectibles over the last few years, and the 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold Derek Jeter is definitely one of them.     

Important note about the images below: The first and last images are un-edited photographs of what this card actually looks like in person. We shot the first one in ambient light and the last one in direct sunlight. Also showing are images of the only other examples of this card to publicly sell dating back several years, at $6,000 for the BGS 9 and t$13,500 for the PSA 9 and then, most recently this spring, a stupendous $17,400 for the SGC 9.  

Keep up with the conversation about this card on our Facebook page now.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1
Final prices include buyers premium: $33,988
Number Bids: 30
Auction closed on Saturday, September 27, 2014.
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