If there is one type of card that has always missed my type of collecting, it’s the rare gaudy insert cards from the late 1990s. People freaking love them, the more ridiculous looking, the better. These cards are usually so crazy in the way they look, that I often wonder if the people who collect them, do so because they are the equivalent of owning a Houston Astros’ Tequila Sunrise jersey.
All of that being taken into consideration, the one type of card that everyone agrees is the cream of the crop is the 1997 Fleer Metal Universe Basketball precious metal gems. Because of the overproduction of the set, and the serial numbered inserts, these cards were INCREDIBLY tough to pull. The lower the number, the more impossible they are to get in a pack. High graded examples can sell for THOUSANDS of dollars for good players, and even hundreds of dollars for commons.
Fast forward to this year, where every card has the potential to be serially numbered, and every single insert is pretty much a worthless filler to complete the pack outs. Upper Deck decides to produce Fleer Retro, a set that is an homage to all of these crazy ridiculous looking cards. Obviously the nostalgia factor was going to be huge, even with NCAA jerseys instead of pro. I don’t think even they expected it to blow up the way they have.
Check out these prices:
2012 Fleer Retro Michael Jordan Precious Metal Gems Blue / 50 – This is just nuts.
2012 Fleer Retro Michael Jordan Precious Metal Gems Blue / 50 #2 – Auction style!
2012 Fleer Retro Bill Russell Precious Metal Gems Green /10 – Auction style!
2012 Fleer Retro LeBron James Precious Metal Gems Blue / 50 – More auction style!
The re-release of the PMG cards has generated unspeakable amounts of crazy collectors looking to reclaim their youth, driving prices on these pulls to unheard of levels. I mean, you can buy a Michael Jordan AUTOGRAPH numbered to 50 for much less than the PMG from retro, and yet, these cards are making that look like child’s play.
Im going to be honest here in saying that I am in shock. I don’t know how these cards can be worth what they are. Fleer retro, by all accounts, is not the same level of product that 1997 Metal was. There weren’t a crap load of boxes out there to drive up the price of scarce cards. That being said, Upper Deck should have done this years ago, if they can make a non-autographed card, numbered to 150 or 50, worth hundreds of dollars. Here is another Jordan insert numbered to 50 from 2000. Not even close.
I get it, Basketball collectors are a different breed. That much is clear. But there is a time to chalk it up to rabid collectability, and another time to be completely dumfounded by ending prices (Grant Hill? Cmon man!). These prices are so nuts, that box prices have gone through the roof. Its almost like this was some evil master plan from day one.
Well played Upper Deck, well played.