Just like past, new Precious Metal Gems defy logic

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor | Commentary

Some brands just command the devotion and attention of collectors and it’s pretty apparent that after all these years the Precious Metal Gems still do that.

They’re back in the new 2011-12 Fleer Retro from Upper Deck and they’re found in three shades: Red (numbered to 150), Blue (numbered to 50) and Green (numbered to 10).

All of the shades are seemingly generating one color, though. Green.

The Bill Russell card above, No. 6/10 matching his uniform number? It apparently sold for $4,050 after 55 bids — and it’s not alone.

A LeBron James Blue? Apparently sold for $2,500 even though there are 49 others out there just like it. A second sold for $1,999.99.

A Michael Jordan Red? Although there are 150 of those bad boys, we all know Jordan and Red have meant green many times over. This one sold for $2,023, while another went for $3,111 and another for $1,899.99.

And all of that’s happened just since Friday. And it’s not just these guys — how does $999 for Larry “Grandmama” Johnson sound?

Now, sure, the natural thoughts might be “shenanigans” or “it’s early” but the key players’ cards in the past sets just like these have commanded some of the most-outrageous dollar amounts in recent years for single-card sales.

It’s possible these auctions had help — but it’s also entirely possible they didn’t.

A 1997-98 Kobe Bryant — No. 8 of 100 — sold for $37,665 in April, a sale confirmed by Beckett Media. Meanwhile, in May, a BGS 9.5 copy of a 1997-98 Jordan went for $41,825 through Heritage Auctions in May.

It only takes a couple of deep-pocketed, winner-take-all-minded collectors to corner the market on certain cards — whether they are old or new — so these cards should be fascinating to watch in the coming weeks.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Basketball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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  1. lambeau legend4 9 September, 2012 at 23:15

    I absolutely LOVE those precious metal gems cards!! This years and the old school ones! To bad I wont be able to afford any of my favorites, but OOOHHHH what I would give to have a Michael Jordan PMG Blue for my UNC pc!!!!

  2. Kingbudd 10 September, 2012 at 03:21

    I think it’s funny that with Upper Decks limited money and lack of official license with the NBA, they released a superior product to anything Panini has released since 2010-11 National Treasure. Collectors want quality products and this proves that Panini hasn’t lived up to their contract with the NBA. The collectors have voiced their approval for Fleer Retro, will Panini listen, or continue to release mediocre products.

  3. Richard 10 September, 2012 at 17:02

    I have to wonder how long this will last.
    Given that there are scarcer cards out there that are licensed with the players in uniform, it
    does not make sense. But then again, it does not have to.

    We pay more for rookie cards now. Why? Because in the past people threw away the “nobodies”
    in favor of keeping the “stars”. In time this created a relative shortage and supply and demand
    forces kick in.

    Most of the reasons why we price cards are arbitrary anyways. So, for now, people will go a bit nuts
    over these, but in time the demand will fade for most of them. Eventually as new “stars” appear
    those cards will jump and if a couple of well heeled collectors end up fighting again in the future
    over the cards ala the super-raves then it will get interesting again.

    I’m still waiting for people to go nuts over the 2001 Donruss Signature proof cards with the rookies
    all #’d to 25 including Pujols (autographed) and Ichiro (not). Maybe because the keys come up so
    infrequently that it can’t get “legs” like some other issues.

  4. chris hoffner 10 September, 2012 at 17:46

    i wonder if this will take off in the football world? i am waiting for it to happen to the 1998 metal universe precious metal gems set. i have the peyton manning rookie and wanna see it take off. i paid $1000 for it and i think that was a steal.

  5. Joe 10 September, 2012 at 17:52

    WHAT THE #%#&*!! $3,000.00 for Fleer Red? No RC, No autograph or patch!! No NBA license & numbered to 150!! I bought a Mint UD Premium Black Dual Autograph of Lebron and Jordan with 12 color breaks Jersey Patch Serial#ed 1/15 for $1,300.00 & A MINT UPPER DECK EXQUISITE ENSHRINEMENTS MICHAEL JORDAN & LEBRON JAMES DUAL AUTOGRAPH for $1,200.00 2 month ago on eBay. Real Sick Cards, No Comparison!!

  6. Joshua (jpleazme805) 18 September, 2012 at 01:08

    I want to know how RETRO boxes skyrocketed… they were around $300-350…. now they sell for $500-600+
    Dealers say they have ran out of product, only a few days later, they double the price per box… saying they had to pay more… even though they got the product form the same initial distributor…. are distributors rationing boxes off.. letting out a little at a time… manipulating the market?

    PMG cards are cool… & I love this years products… I am an average collector & can not afford any boxes of Fleer Retro or any of the singles…

    I do not get why people are paying big bucks for college jersey cards… I think it is all hype..

    I wonder how many of these PMG cards were leaked from UD… to one of the friends of some UD Exec.. only to be thrown on ebay & sell for big bucks.. then that UD Exec gets a kickback…… It will not be the first time that has happen with a card company….

    I hate the fact that Beckett screens comments when written in response to one of the articles… when the same comments can be posted on the Basketball Forums, without being reviewed by Beckett Staff…

    What happen to Free Speech?

  7. card opinionator 18 September, 2012 at 09:15

    I agree with Kingbudd. Upper Deck has done it again. Pure and simple, they continue to manufacture products that people like. Who thought Bugs would sell? Who thought patches of a mascott would bring in the hundreds of dollars (not numbered no less!) They just seem to have a nack for new ideas that the other companies don’t.

  8. KING 21 December, 2018 at 17:56

    Well I’m a small collector and just recently got a 2013/14 PMG,Julius Erving,it my very 1st,but im proud to own it,how i wish for a 1997 PMG.

  9. JordanK 21 September, 2020 at 10:04

    Fleet Retro PMG for MJ and LBJ are rising up as 2012 release period! A single box of retro sold for usd2k highest than ever!

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