If the term, ‘rare’ could be classified as an animal, it would be a teddy bear compared to the monster that would classify the scarcity of this parallel set. With a print run of just 30 copies, an insertion ratio of 1:300, and an absorption interval that lasted likely just a few brief months after initial release date, with respect to superstar and even star power, the market has all but dried up completely. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about the famous 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold parallels. These are cards everyone wants but nobody has.
When you do see them, it’s an all out bloodbath. While this is the obvious case with stars and even sometimes minor stars, commons also hold a high degree of desirability.
Depending on who you collect, you may have to shell out big bucks for your guy’s Mirror Gold parallel… if you can find one. These parallels are less of a search and more of a mythical treasure hunt. It’s really quite difficult to describe how incredibly tough these cards are to locate. I believe that a lot of this has to do with the fact that many of these were hoarded by collectors, investors, and set builders when the product was released. I can’t think of any other reason why anyone would have to search for literally decades to find their guy’s Mirror Gold parallel. Aside from a few common players here and there, stars just don’t surface often and in all of the years I’ve searched, I’ve seen very few superstars surface. Believe it folks, this is one of the most desirable, respected, and scarcest parallel sets in all of baseball cards that’s printed in a quantity above 1.
It was actually Upper Deck that produced the first pack issued card with a print run of less than 50. Reggie Jackson signed just 25 copies of his 1990 Upper Deck Heroes card with the inscription, “Mr. October.” (Search the site to find articles about that card.)
My first encounter with a card from this set was at the 2015 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, IL. I stood in awe as I appreciated the design of this one gorgeous example of the Rey Ordonez. I have always wanted to see one of these 1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold parallels in person, no matter the player, and they are absolutely stunning. I’ve since added the Mo Vaughn depicted here so I can continue to enjoy the in-hand experience.
To view the current eBay auctions for 1996 Select Certified Mirror Golds, click here.
1996 Select Certified is a hobby-only, 144-card set issued in 6-card packs with an SRP of $4.99. Cards are printed on 24pt silver mirror mylar card stock with color photos, and gray and black backgrounds. The base set includes two versions of card #105 (Sal Fasano): error with Livan Hernandez’ name printed on the card, and the corrected version. All parallel sets include just the error version of this card. Coincidentally, this is the only time the name, Livan Hernandez, appears in the 1996 Select Certified set; he never got a card of his own.
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It all started with a weekly visit to grandmas house with the family. My son knows I have a ton of hotwheels that I have collected before I got married and when we are there I usually give him a couple. Well on this trip he made his way to my baseball cards and asked if he can take two cards , I said go ahead and he picks a generic football card and Frank Thomas Mirror Gold..What would you value this card at. Feel free to contact me
If that Mirror Gold was in fact the 1996 example, the current market appears to be very strong. As with anything, however, it’s only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. For me, I’d pay handsomely for one.
Hey, would you have any idea on a raw Mark Grace 1996 Certified gold mirror? Someone locally is selling but have no idea what a fair offer would be. Looks to be in great condition. Thanks
The best advice I can give you is to look at the prices of eBay Completed Sold listings for comparable players. I’ve found this information to be helpful in my interactions with sellers of rare cards where sale records are difficult to find.
Great article, Patrick! I had so much fun collecting these cards back in the day (and still do!) I’d bought a box in ‘97 or ‘98 and pulled a Jason Kendall mirror blue from it. It’s always exciting when you open a pack and see the edge of something special.
Thanks, Jerod! Opening packs and seeing a sign of something special is always exciting. Thanks for reading. 🙂
That’s a fun story about that Frank Thomas card! I’m interested in buying or trading for it, or hearing more about how you acquired it. Please get in touch with me. Kansasguy1 at yahoo com
What are the opinions about these cards in their peeled/unpeeled form? They have a clear protective coating on them, but there doesn’t seem to be consistency on what to do with it.
Here’s a reply to another comment on another post about this set:
Regarding the film, I’ve heard some collectors say that peeling a card helps improve its overall look and associated final grade. Personally, I cringe whenever I hear about someone peeling their cards. As a collector, I prefer to keep my cards as representative of their original manufactured state as possible. The decision to peel or not to peel is yours. Just remember – once that peel has been removed, there’s no going back. Thanks for the comment.
Thanks. I’ve seen them both ways. I have a few in a few different series. In this day and age though, transferring cards that have been graded over the internet to buyers unseen, and the film coating influencing the grade, it’s hard to see a path forward where the unpeeled have the same value. As far as individual collector’s preferences, that I understand. But an unpeeled probably has no real shot at a PSA 10 grade. Wouldn’t it then be difficult to argue that an unpeeled PSA 8 is more valuable than a peeled PSA 10? Especially to a buyer unseen. Haven’t seen a PSA 8 generate any large values really.
And with all this discussion about the Select Certified ones that have been sold in the last year or two, no real discussion about their peeled status. No one really seems to ask or care Just ask instead about the grades.
Thanks again – I appreciate you being a forum for these different vintage sets and responding to the comments! Very enjoyable site.
Thanks! Yea, it all just depends on the intentions one has with their cards – to sell or to keep.
I know this article is on baseball, but can someone please tell me (if you know with 100 accuracy) what the print run on the Mirror Gold’s are in hockey? Are they also to only 30?
While it’s not confirmed, it’s estimated that 24 copies of each of the Mirror Gold’s exist in the hockey line.