Take a look at this gaudy, gimmicky card below featuring one of Wax Heaven’s favorites, Jose Cruz Jr. It comes from Fleer’s 1998 Ultra brand and odds that you’re reading this AND pulled one of these bad boys is slim to none. These cards, which featured 15 of the game’s best players at the time were inserted into packs at a 1:288 ratio and even if you busted enough of these packs (I proudly did two full boxes during it’s release), these were extremely rare pulls.
Despite those improbable odds, what really makes these cards special is the gimmick which featured wood, foil, and felt. What makes these cards so sought-after on the secondary market by player collectors is that almost all of them came out of the pack damaged in one some way, shape, or form. Essentially, it’s biggest gimmick, which was put together to make collectors buzz and chase after it was also its Achilles heel. Want to know just how rare we are talking here? SGC has just one, single graded copy in their population report of Ken Griffey Jr. (96 score). That’s just one card of easily one of the most popular player of that era.
Those low numbers, mixed with how old the product is (17 years of age), plus the extremely tough odds of pulling one makes boxes of 1998 Ultra a very wise investment if you can find them for cheap and have amazing luck. Pulling a Ken Griffey Jr. that’s in great shape with just one other graded copy is the equivalent of winning the hobby lottery. In case you’re wondering, three sealed boxes sold for $52 on eBay just a month ago. What are you waiting for?
Of course, you could end up pulling the “other” Jose.