Some Circa Rave inserts seem to be all the rage


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

It takes a lot these days to satisfy some collectors, but sometimes some card sales just flat-out surprise.

Rave and Super Rave inserts from the family of Skybox brands in the late 1990s are doing just that.

The 1998 Circa Thunder Super Rave Dan Wilson card seen here? Sold for $202.48 recently on eBay. Asking price for a David Ortiz from the same set? A mere $449.99 on eBay right now — same for a Manny Ramirez.

While each of these cards is limited to just 25 copies, there are no autographs or game-used memorabilia swatches to be found. Yet they — and others — are commanding cold, hard cash. Why? Perhaps many of them are tucked away in collections — or others are still in wax not yet found. (In need of a complete Circa Rave checklist or OPG? Click here.)

And when they do surface? It’s apparent that somebody — be it player collectors or set collectors — is wanting them and they know how much longer the odds are now, some 15 years later, of finding another.

But the Wilson is not an anomaly among recently completed eBay auctions, either. This Greg Maddux card from the set? Sold for $237.06. A Neifi Perez from the set? $70. A 1996 Circa Rave Ken Griffey Jr. numbered to 150? Sold for $199.99. A Randy Johnson 1999 Skybox Thunder Circa Super Rave? Sold for $79.95.

A look through data gathered by Beckett Media through the years shows that the trend really isn’t all that new — though Wilson seems a tad high considering his 88 career homers and a .262 average. Here are some sample sales of Rave cards:

1996 Circa Rave #65, Derek Jeter, /150 sold for $200 in July 2011.

1998 Circa Thunder Super Rave #25 Mark McGwire, /25 sold for $150 in July 2010.

1998 Circa Thunder Super Rave #241 Tony Saunders /25 sold for $140.49 in April 2007.

1998 Circa Thunder Super Rave #46 Jose Canseco /25 sold for $134.49 in April 2007.

1998 Circa Thunder Super Rave #220 Jim Edmonds /25 sold for $129 in December 2008.


While the 1998 Super Rave set seems to get a lot of attention, it’s not the only one generating cash for collectors — again, without autograph ink or memorabilia. Three more examples:

1997 Circa Rave #23 Ryne Sandberg /150 sold for $87.35 in May 2007.

1998 Circa Thunder Rave #2 Derek Jeter /150 sold for $86.35 in August 2011.

1996 Circa Rave #73 Mark McGwire /150 sold for $60.79 in December 2008.


And you may think it’s just star power selling these, right? Dan Wilson is not alone.

— 1998 Circa Thunder Super Rave #244 Chili Davis /25 sold for $83 in June 2011.

— 1998 Circa Thunder Super Rave #34 Henry Rodriguez /25 sold for $59 in December 2008.

— 1998 Circa Thunder Super Rave #66 Kevin Young /25 sold for $59 in December 2008.

And the same $59 amount also was spent on Randy Myers, Eli Marrero and Derek Bell, while a Magglio Ordonez dipped to $58.80.

And there are countless more examples of cards from the various Rave sets showing sales of $20 or more through the years.

Who knows, one (or more) of these might be tucked away in your junk boxes right now.

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

(In need of a complete Circa Rave checklist or OPG? Click here.)


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  1. Michael Chase 3 April, 2012 at 18:42

    As a big fan of non jersey or autograph cards, seeing stuff like this makes me happy. To know that a great card is a great card whether it has an auto/jersey or not makes my collection feel a little more justified as I very rarely go after an auto or a jersey card.

  2. Keith 3 April, 2012 at 20:54

    It is nice to see an article about hot cards that are not a rookie, auto, or relic. Keep up the good work and i do happen to have a 1996 rave card of Frank Thomas #’ed 100/150.

  3. Rob B 4 April, 2012 at 09:32

    There may finally be hope for the 1997 Rave Jay Bell/ 150 I have been hanging onto all these years…LOL

  4. Richard 4 April, 2012 at 11:09

    I guess nostalgia is finally hitting for some of the 90’s issues.
    I wonder when this will hit things like 1996 Select Certified with it’s unnumbered issues.

    The reality is, it just takes 2 well heeled collectors fighting each other over the same card
    to make something jump up like crazy. The problem is, once one of them gets “his” card, the
    next one sells for a fraction of what the first one did unless the seller has the forethought to
    list it with a buy-it-now instead of straight auction.

    Wake me up once they catch up to 2001 with Donruss Signature Proof cards.
    The stars were numbered to 175, the rookies just 25. I saw an Ichiro sell for $900
    and a guy asking $5000 for the Pujols.

    Part of the problem is, is that Beckett lists many of the rare cards at quite low levels,
    which in turn discourages sellers from putting something on Ebay and discourages buyers
    from completing a set that is “dropping” in “value”. The moment you get a collector that
    does not care about previous “trends” is when suddenly see a resurgence of interest.

    Sometimes its just a matter of collectors becoming aware that something exists.
    How many people remember the starting 9 cards #’d to 9?
    Or the 1998 Bowman Chrome Golden Anniversary cards #’d to 5?

    If I remember correctly, there was once a set of the Raves that sold for a bit more than $15,000.

  5. David Johnson 4 April, 2012 at 12:18

    It’s nice to see that the collecting world is starting to notice these and other truly rare cards.

  6. steve-o 4 April, 2012 at 16:45

    Its great that “certain cards” are jumping in value from the 90’s (only have read/seen basketball and baseball though….no football yet)……but to me, and thats JUST TO ME, its sad when everything is about value & dont get me wrong- I love when my cards increase in value….but, why not just make it about ‘collecting’ and I know that word is lost today. How many true hobbyists are there out there ( 5% ?, 10% ?, 20% ? )??

    I do understand the business side of it……but I dont think “value” was in mind when kids opened up packs in the 50’s……or 60’s…..or 70’s….I remember buying packs in 1981-for $0.25 a pack….and opening it up for FUN, nothing to do with “value”

  7. Richard 9 April, 2012 at 13:56

    Steve-o, the purpose of cards were because it was good for business

    It was like getting a prize in a cereal box. Now how many kids do you know
    that went and chose their cereal based on the toy? With cards, you have
    the additional factor of the need of the collector to complete the set, thus
    selling more product. Originally it was just tobacco, later on it was other
    things like candy and (believe it or not) clothing like garters for men.

    By the time you were a kid in the 80’s cards were sold for their own sake.
    Topps still did the gum thing, but others added stickers and puzzle pieces.
    In theory the cards were a bonus insert, but the reality is no one bought
    Topps for the gum anymore.

    Since cards are the thing, of course people are concerned about “value”.
    If nothing else, they want to get something at the “best” price.

  8. mike 8 August, 2012 at 12:45

    i got the 98 circa thunder rave manny ramirez card. I did not realize it had much value. I used to collect circa thunders alot

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