Since the days of overproduction, the baseball-card industry has definitely seen its share of highs and lows. However, the same could be said for the New York Yankees. Since the market for this team is so huge and the Yankees have such a rich history and a tradition of winning, cards boasting ballplayers on this team, in particular, can go for the finest of prices.
Let's take shortstop Derek Jeter for example. Jeter has lived out a wonderful career that many current players will only have the pleasure of dreaming about. Five World Series titles, more than 3,000 hits, countless memorable defensive plays and leadership qualities have him on the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore.
The interest in Jeter's stuff isn't new, but it really picked up steam as he approached his 3,000th hit in 2011.
Jeter has been an icon in the baseball-card industry. His rookie cards are now 20 years old, and while few were discarded, those lucky enough to have perfect cards that are graded professionally at a high level have enjoyed a nice increase in value over the years.
There are few players from the 1990s for whom that can be said. Collectors and investors make a living finding even overproduced cards from that era, having them graded and—with luck—getting an investment-type grade that others are willing to pay big money for.
The 1993 Upper Deck SP (No. 279), is Jeter's most sought-after rookie card, but it’s condition-sensitive because of the silver foil card stock. However, if you can get one graded at a PSA 9 or BGS 9.5 level, you’re looking at a card worth four figures.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and if Jeter can return to the form he’s shown for so many years and help push the Yankees deep into the postseason, his legend will grow. If you get the impression that this card is nowhere near its peak, then you just may be right.
The cheapest and easiest to find are Jeter’s Topps rookie cards. There is no shortage of ungraded cards online, and you can usually find them for well under $20.
Underrated, perhaps, is Jeter’s 1993 Pinnacle rookie card, picturing a very young shortstop in a head-and-shoulders shot.
Jeter’s certified autograph cards have always been strong sellers. On June 9, a 1996 Leaf Signature Autograph Gold sold for $4,750 and ended with a total of 25 bids. The smaller the print run of any autograph card, the more valuable it becomes.