23 October 2014

What eBay Hath Wrought 122: Hakeem Olajuwon Precious Metal Gems

I was stuck in class all evening yesterday, but I was able to keep up with the game on my phone, and I'm glad that the Royals have got some fight in them. I'm going that they pull this thing off and bring a Championship home. It was good to see my (probably) favorite Royal, Billy 'Country Breakfast' Butler, get some good press for his performance in the game. He didn't have the greatest regular season, and there's talk that he won't be with Kansas City next year. It would be weird for me to see him in a different uniform. But I guess I won't worry about that for now. Hopefully they can grab at least one in San Francisco.

Yesterday I talked about how searching for Hakeem Olajuwon inserts from the 90's can be an exercise in frustration for someone who doesn't have a million-dollar card budget.

One case in point is the Precious Metal Gems insert from the Metal Universe sets of the late 90's. These cards go for ridiculous sums. An eBay search for sold listings turns up a '97-'98 Tim Duncan going for $1735, an Allen Iverson from the same year selling for $1400, Shaquille O'Neal for $1358, Dennis Rodman for $1200, and on and on. There is even a Hakeem Olajuwon that was graded an 8.5 that sold a couple of weeks ago for $720. You'll find that for most of the harder-to-find inserts from that era. They just don't pop up that often.

I don't have that kind of money, but Upper Deck has been inserting Precious Metal Gems into recent Fleer Retro products, and while they can still be expensive depending on who you collect and which rarity level you choose, deals can be had for those who are patient and/or collect the less-popular guys.

And that's how this Hakeem Olajuwon Precious Metal Gems card from '13-'14 Fleer Retro Basketball found it's way into my collection. It is shiny, bright red, and the only real knock against it in my mind is that it features Olajuwon in his college uniform rather than his pro duds. I can overlook it since the city name is the same and the colors are pretty close. Also, it's just a cool card.

This card back design looks very familiar, so Upper Deck either copied the design from a previous Metal set or did a pretty good job of capturing the essence of the brand. This card is numbered # 100 / 150. I believe there are other rarity levels distinguished by color, like most other parallel sets out there. I don't know that I'll be selling it in 16 years for $720, but it's a nice-looking card and I'm happy to have one in my collection.

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