Derek Jeter’s high-profile struggles as Marlins CEO has apparently not tamped down the market for his baseball cards.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports Friday that a Jeter rookie card has sold for $99,100, the highest price tag ever for a modern-day (post-1986) baseball card.
The buyer, per ESPN, was a man named Adrian Proietti, who has been attempting for a decade to find a mint-condition Jeter rookie card from the 1993 Upper Deck SP set.
Proietti said the purchase rounds out his obsession for the set, a 1993 Upper Deck SP, that began 25 years ago. Back then, Proietti said he was looking for the Don Mattingly card, but when he got back into the game 10 years ago, he started buying boxes of the set to try to get the Derek Jeter rookie card out of the packs.
He got more than 20 Jeters, but could never get the one that would grade out as a perfect 10 from the premiere hobby card grader, PSA/DNA.
Proietti told ESPN he was offered a mint version of the card back in 2008 for $25,000 but declined the offer. Even so, he said he considers the $99,100 cost a reasonable one.
If 100 grand seems like an outlandish amount of money to pay for a baseball card (and not even a particularly old one), well it is — even by the standards of the memorabilia industry. Not only has no modern-day baseball card ever sold for as much as Jeter’s just did, but only three modern-day cards in any sport has fetched a greater price. The record is $312,000 for a LeBron James rookie card in 2016, followed by two Tom Brady rookie cards, including one that sold for $250,000 in February despite falling short of ideal condition.
But if any modern-day baseball card was going to push $100,000, it was going to be the Derek Jeter Upper SP rookie, which are notoriously difficult to find in mint condition (PSA/DNA has graded only 22 of those Jeter cards a perfect 10 out of 10). Here’s how CardboardConnection.com described the card in ranking it the top Jeter card of all-time.
One of the most iconic baseball cards of the 1990s, this is, by far, the most popular Derek Jeter rookie card. It’s also the most valuable. Since its debut in 1989, Upper Deck focused on pushing boundaries for high-end cards. 1993 SP Baseball took things to another level. While it’s not nearly as premium as it was when Jeter was breaking in with the Yankees, this is an extremely important card from an equally important release.
Produced with a foil background, it’s notorious for being a tough card to find in top condition. Most come with a noticeable amount of edge or corner wear. As a result, high-grade PSA and BGS 1993 SP Derek Jeter rookie cards can push close to five figures.
So what will Proietti do with his new card? Per ESPN, he “plans on enjoying the card, but could see putting it into a safety deposit box at some point.”