Chris Muccio

Derek Jeter Rookie Card: Which to Focus On?

Derek Jeter was voted into the Hall of Fame in January 2020 and it was almost unanimous.  Clearly no need to clarify how special of a player he was.  However, if you want to own a “Derek Jeter Rookie Card,” this needs clarification as one size won’t fit all. 

This post will cover the following questions:

 1993 Topps Derek Jeter #98


How Many Derek Jeter Rookie Cards Are There?


Well, it depends on how you define “rookie card.”  Jeter was drafted 6th in the 1992 amateur draft.  If you define his rookie as his very first card, well then you might consider the cards issued in 1992, his first cards, as his rookie cards.  There were 25 different cards issued in 1992. 

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Digging deeper, if you consider a card highlighting him while he was in high school as his earliest rookie, then you might target the 1992 Little Sun High School prospects. There are 3 Jeter cards issued by Little Sun; card #2, a no-numbered card with Jeter’s high school autograph and a proof card.  It’s been noted that the autographed cards were issued at a rate of one to every 3 factory sets and reportedly, Jeter signed 250 of these although there is no serial numbering. 

To be fair, all of the 1992 issues are considered to be minor league sets and generally, not all collectors are interested in them.   To put this in perspective, there are 25 different 1992 Derek Jeter rookie cards and when combined, there are under 20,000 of those cards graded by PSA.  Perhaps the most mass produced of the 1992 cards is the Upper Deck Minor League with over 3000 graded by PSA and about half of those, graded PSA 10.

1992 Little Sun Derek Jeter #NNO Autographed1992 Little Sun Derek Jeter #NNO Autographed PSA 10

Since most collectors don’t consider minor league cards “true rookies,” let’s focus on Jeter’s first mass marketed cards, cards that were released in pack / box / case form, started appearing in 1993.  Using this definition, there were 28 different variations of cards that may be considered a Derek Jeter rookie card.  While this total (28) is comparable to the amount of Jeter cards from 1992 (25), the total amount produced is significantly higher.  In total, there are just under 90,000 graded for 1993.

Since Topps is the “granddaddy” of sports cards, many people consider 1993 Topps #98 as the Derek Jeter rookie. If you go by sheer numbers of graded cards in 1993, Topps wins hands down again.  There are over 25,000 graded with just over 10% of these being graded as PSA 10s.  This card was certainly mass produced, distributed in wax pack, cello pack, rack pack, vending box, collector box and factory set formats.

1993 Topps Gold drek jeter #981993 Topps Gold Derek Jeter Rookie #98

Yet again though, this doesn’t exactly tell the entire story.  There were multiple parallels of his Topps rookie.  This included 1993 Topps Gold, Rockies Inaugural, and Marlins Inaugural.  There was even a micro card made of Jeter’s rookie and that was only available in factory set form too.   Looking outside of Topps, some of the other mass marketed cards include 1993 Score #’s 189 and 489, 1993 Score Select # 360 1993 Pinnacle #457,  1993 Bowman 511, and 1993 SP #279. 

1993 SP Derek Jeter #279

1993 Upper Deck Derek Jeter Rookie SP

If you view the Derek Jeter rookie card as the most expensive of the mass produced cards, then you would have to focus on the 1993 SP issue.  Now the SPs, well they offer an interesting story too.  This was the first “super-premium brand” issued and while it was produced in more limited quantities than say a brand like Topps, it was still “readily available” but of course cost more.  Did you know that there have been almost 17,000 1993 SP Jeter’s graded… and here’s why it’s so valuable; only 21 have received a PSA 10!  That’s less than 1% of those graded.  As such, the PSA 10 price reflects this having sold for $180,000 in January, 2020.

Could you stop here in your search for Derek Jeter rookie cards?  Possibly, but consider this; he didn’t make his major league debut until 1995.  Thus, you might consider some of his 1995 cards as rookies (although most collectors really don’t).  There were 67 different cards issued. 

One last thought to throw at you in terms of possible Derek Jeter rookie cards… he won the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year award.  Thus, perhaps that is the truest measure of being a rookie.  If one were to take that approach (and it appeared that most companies did), there were 183 Jeter cards issued in 1996.  If we limited our focus to the most expensive card as the rookie card from that year, that would be the 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold #100 of which only 30 were produced and has sold for $202,102 in 2019.

1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold Derek Jeter #1001996 Select Certified Mirror Gold #100

So to answer the question about how many rookie cards there are for Derek Jeter, it really comes down to what you consider his rookie but we’ve highlighted 303 for you to possibly select from.


What are the Most Expensive Derek Jeter Rookie Cards?


Let’s use the above cards as possible cards to focus on and let’s keep the focus only on PSA 10 graded versions of those cards.  Here’s how those cards might stack up:

  • 1993 SP #279 PSA 10 highest sale $180,000
  • 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold #100 PSA 10 highest sale $202,102
  • 1993 Topps #98 PSA 10 highest sale $1,761
  • 1993 Topps Gold #98 PSA 10 highest sale $8,400
  • 1993 Topps Micro #98 PSA 10 highest sale $2,995
  • 1993 Topps Rockies Inaugural #98 PSA 10 highest sale $3,500
  • 1993 Topps Marlins Inaugural #98 PSA 10 highest sale $4,825
  • 1992 Little Sun Derek Jeter #NNO Autographed PSA 10 highest sale $60,000


Derek Jeter Rookie Card – Which Are the Best to Collect?

Ultimately that is up to you as the collector or the investor.  For some, spending a couple of bucks and possibly pulling a 1993 Score Jeter rookie is perfect!  For others, you might want one of his higher dollar or more popular rookies like the 1993 SP although maybe in a lower grade (and much more affordable) than the PSA 10.  Finally for others, you might be looking for potential hidden gem rookies to collect. 

We’ll leave you with a couple of ideas.  In 1992, while these aren’t particularly “cheap” the aren’t “a lot” of the 1992 Little Sun Autographs and less than 10 have been graded as a PSA 10.  Granted this doesn’t have the mass appeal of a 1993 SP, but there are less than half of those graded PSA 10.  Here’s another.  How about the 1993 Topps Micro #98 Jeter rookie?  Less than 50 grade as PSA 10’s and that represents less than 5% of all of those graded.  Study the data and you’ll find more potential “diamonds in the rough.” 

We are going to continue looking too!  In the meantime, feel free to join our mailing list to receive the latest information we have to share.

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