The Golden Ticket during the Junk Wax Era: 1993 Upper Deck Gold Hologram Derek Jeter #449

There is one year in the prime Junk Wax Era that sticks out compared to any other in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s: 1993.  The year contains at least 13 high-value Derek Jeter cards taken from the PWCC 2500 Market Index (https://www.pwccmarketplace.com/market-indices) shown below.

TitleMarket Value
1993 Bowman Derek Jeter #511 PSA 10$466.66 
1993 Classic Best Derek Jeter #1 PSA 10$809.00 
1993 Classic Best Greensboro Hornets Derek Jeter #1 PSA 10$970.74 
1993 Classic C3 Derek Jeter #4 PSA 10$478.33 
1993 Fleer Procards South Atlantic League All-Star Derek Jeter #21 PSA 10$526.67 
1993 Pinnacle Derek Jeter #457 PSA 10$469.00 
1993 SP Derek Jeter (FOIL) #279 PSA 10$82,835.00 
1993 Staduim Club Murphy Derek Jeter #117 PSA 10$661.35 
1993 Topps Colorado Rockies Inaugural Year Derek Jeter #98 PSA 10$1,311.67 
1993 Topps Florida Marlins Inaugural Year Derek Jeter #98 PSA 10$1,057.51 
1993 Topps Gold Derek Jeter #98 PSA 10$852.03 
1993 Topps Micro Derek Jeter #98 PSA 10$1,680.56 
1993 Upper Deck Gold Hologram Derek Jeter #449 PSA 10$2,115.15 

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Derek Jeter’s SP 1993 has become the quintessential 90’s card.  The PSA 10 has reached $99,000, before settling back at $76,105 most recently on 8/11/18.  Here is a line chart for the 6 sales going back to 2012 

Since the PSA 10 is so rare, a sample size of 6 makes it difficult to see the appreciation in price.  Therefore, if you take the PSA 9 and graph it, it will show a more liquid rise of value with 155 sales since 2012 on a quarterly basis.

Without going into the charts for packs and boxes of 1993 SP, current prices reach into around $100 a pack and $2,500 for a sealed box.  In other words, if you wanted a 93 Jeter Foil at a bargain price the train has left the station.  

So what are your other options?  You want a Jeter rookie that is scarce and at a reasonable price.  

Let’s look into the 2nd most valuable PSA 10 in the same year: 1993 Upper Deck Gold Hologram Derek Jeter #449 card.  The important part of this card is the “Gold” part of the description. Back in 1993 when the printing presses were working around the clock, Upper Deck was ahead of its time by creating scarcity with the gold hologram.  The gold hologram set was only available at the rate of 1 out of every 15-set case. The regular or silver hologram was available in packs and in the other 14 factory sets in a case.  

To put things into perspective, let’s compare the pop reports from PSA.

The most striking thing you will notice is that there is almost twice as many graded SP Foils versus the Upper Deck cards combined.  It does make sense when you think of the raw value of the SP Foil being at least $200 and the Upper Deck card raw value being less than $5. People are more likely to grade higher value cards.

The other striking observation is the gem mint rate:  SP Foil 0.14%, regular hologram 9.2%, and gold hologram 20.8%.  As the rate shows, the perfect foil card is extremely difficult to find.  However, the gold hologram has a relatively high rate of perfection. This may be due to the fact it was only released in factory sets.  While sealed and packed tightly with 800+ other cards, it may have been insulated from the handling and other pitfalls that conventional cards in packs were exposed to.

Let’s do a basic probability breakdown of how we can manually go about getting the perfect gold hologram, in other words what are the pack odds?  If the gold holograms are 1 in 15 sets, you would have a 6.667% chance. If you are lucky enough to find a gold hologram set, we can use the 20.8% gem mint rate to reach our final probability of 1.39% or 1 in every 72.1 sets.   

The other side of this bet is the cost. At what point does it cost too much to make it not worth a bet?  Taking the market value of $2,115, and carrying over the 1/72.1 odds, you can back into a cost of $29.33 as a fair bet.  Please note this does not include other results including a gold hologram PSA 9 or regular hologram PSA 10.  It’s not hard to find a sealed set under $30 on eBay excluding shipping.  Unfortunately, the shipping is usually high which will decrease the risk/reward.

Jeter comes up for Hall of Fame nomination in 2020.  There are many reasons why he should be there along with his former teammates Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina.  However, above all that, he was the captain of the team that brought 5 World Series Championships to the most popular team in the nation.  Therefore, there is a huge fan base that spans many decades that will always be Mr. November fans.

There are plenty of sealed sets available online, at local card shops, and probably at card shows.  It’s important to be patient and have a price in mind that you are willing to pay. Chances are the guy who is selling these sets does not distinguish this from any other junk wax era set.   

 By: Casey A.

Contact: walters.casey@googlemail.com

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