by Bob Krause
It may seem like not that long ago when his face was popping up on rookie cards but truth is, it's going on 20 years now since "the franchise" was drafted by a Yankee franchise in need of a boost. His rookie cards and memorabilia have always been in demand but as he closes in on 3,000 hits, Derek Jeter collectibles are picking up steam.
No matter if it's a rookie card, piece of game-used memorabilia or an autographed item, fans are looking for a piece of the future Hall of Fame shortstop set to become the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits. He stands just 14 away as of this writing.
Three BGS 9.5 1993 Upper Deck SP Foil Jeter rookie cards have sold in the last two weeks, ranging in price from $1845 to $2125. The condition-sensitive card is one of the few from the early 1990s to increase significantly in value in the years since they were issued. The collector who sold the card that obtained the highest price scored a huge windfall. He had just received the grade in early May.
A 209 SP autographed rookie buy back card fared pretty well too. One of just 93 issued by Upper Deck, it realized $1281 when sold online.
There's little doubt the Hall of Fame will wind up with a sampling of Jeter memorabilia from the game in which he reaches the 3,000 hit plateau. Jeter himelf is likely to keep something and you can bank on Steiner Sports to try to score what it can. The company that marketed dirt from the old Yankee Stadium will likely do the same again through its relationship with the team and the player, putting together some sort of photo/dirt collage similar to those that proved inexplicably popular with fans.
A deal to have Jeter use the 3,000 hits inscription is no doubt in the works, although Jeter prefers not to autograph items noting individual accomplishments.
Steiner says the Yankees have agreed to swap out the stadium bases from the 3,000 hit game several times so their value can be maximized although that could get dicey if the big hit comes on the road.
Steiner will also create commemorative ticket stubs and other Jeter collectibles once the milestone is attained.
eBay is already hopping with Jeter items; more than 21,000 were available at last count including over 15,000 cards from various years and over 600 autographs. A game-used Jeter bat sold last week for $1283, but most items sell for much less.
Whether any Derek Jeter collectibles increase in value after the big hit could be tied to his ability to help the Yankees to another World Series title. At age 36, his chances are running low. Still, his place in history is secure and that's one of the few sure things in a hobby full of guessing games.