The Best 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Cards: Guide & Advice

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The 1997-98 Fleer Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Basketball subset is one of the most popular from the decade, featuring some of the biggest NBA stars from the era. 

Platinum Portrait inserts use a series of holes to form an image of the player on a silver card.

We’ve put together a list with 10 of the best 1997-98 Platinum Portraits, including lots of information about the players and the insert subset itself. 

The Best 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Cards

Produced as part of 1997-98 Fleer Metal Universe, there were only 15 Platinum Portraits to be found in packs. 

The perforated design causes the player’s face to appear against the grey background, making for one of the more recognisable collections overall. 

There’s no team logos, and their name can be found in chrome along the side. They can be found at a rate of 1:288 Hobby packs, so they’re reasonably rare.

Here’s a rundown with 10 of the very best Platinum Portrait cards ever. 

10. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Shareef Abdur-Rahim #9 (eBay)

Current president of the NBA G League Shareef Abdur-Rahim is first up, with one of the more affordable inserts to make the list. 

(For example, recent sales for ungraded copies have it priced at under $100, which is far cheaper than the others below.)

It’s not the most prestigious Platinum Portraits card, but it’s a good entry point if you’d like to add a copy to your personal collection. 

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Shareef Abdur-Rahim on eBay

9. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Scottie Pippen #15 (eBay)

Six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen is seen as one of the greatest small forwards of all time. He played an important role in transforming the Chicago Bulls into a championship team and in popularizing the NBA around the world during the 1990s.

The Hall of Famer is a distinct step up in terms of card values, even if you’re not looking at graded copies.

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Scottie Pippen on eBay

8. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Ray Allen #11 (eBay)

Ray Allen is widely considered to be one of the greatest three-point shooters of all-time, and he held the record for most career three-pointers before the record was broken by Steph Curry in 2021.

His card from the subset is numbered #11, while his face is found on the left side of the card. Allen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Ray Allen on eBay

7. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Marcus Camby #6 (eBay)

Next up is Marcus Camby, with another affordable option for Platinum Portrait collectors. 

The NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2007, Camby was included in this set as he was selected second overall in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft by the Toronto Raptors.

However, he doesn’t have a ring, MVP, or All-Star selection, and looks unlikely to enter the Hall of Fame. 

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Marcus Camby on eBay

6. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Anfernee Hardaway #7 (eBay

Anfernee Hardaway was a two-time All-NBA First Team selection (1995 and 1996) and a third-team selection in 1997. He made four All-Star game appearances while playing with the Magic from 1995-98. 

To Magic fans, he is clearly one of the top four players in the franchise’s history and one of the first members of the team’s Hall of Fame.

However, Hardaway has yet to get his due in Springfield. This is one explanation as to why his Platinum Portraits insert is cheaper than most. 

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Anfernee Hardaway on eBay

5. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Kevin Garnett #8 (eBay)

What about a player whose Hall of Fame status was never in doubt? Kevin Garnett was the first person in 20 years to be drafted by an NBA team directly from high school, and was eventually traded to the Boston Celtics for a record seven players in 2006-07.

KG’s card is one of the more valuable options, with a PSA 9 graded copy selling for a flat $1,675 in March 2022. 

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Kevin Garnett on eBay

4. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Allen Iverson #2 (eBay)

The star power continues to increase as we move down the list. Allen Iverson is seen as one of the greatest scorers and as one of the most influential players in NBA history, and the Hall of Famer was the subject of the second card in the subset. 

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portrait Allen Iverson on eBay

3. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Shaquille O’Neal #4 (eBay)

Shaquille O’Neal needs no introduction, as one of the most popular players in recent NBA history. (From here on in, expect to pay top dollar for gem mint copies, of which there aren’t many.) 

Of course, the many holes are especially prone to flaws and issues, so the card needs to have been sleeved or slabbed for the past 20 years to retain any serious value. The PSA pop report shows that it’s one of the rarest options overall.

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portrait Shaquille O’Neal on eBay

2. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Kobe Bryant #3 (eBay)

Kobe Bryant is another massive hit, and was one of the best loved players in the history of basketball before his untimely death in 2020. 

A shooting guard, he spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he was a five-time NBA champion and two-time Finals MVP.

His Platinum Portraits card is the third from the set, and is only eclipsed by one other in terms of values.  

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Kobe Bryant on eBay

1. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Michael Jordan #1 (eBay)

Michael Jordan is firmly planted in the top spot on this list. There’s no better player or card if you’re looking at interest or values over the past decade. For example, a PSA 9 copy sold for over $25,000 in 2021. Even ungraded copies are likely to set you back by at least four figures. 

MJ was seen as the best player from the subset at the time, which is one of the reasons why more copies have made it into the present day unscathed. 

As a unique Jordan collectible, there’s always going to be a market for the best graded Platinum Portraits.

Check Prices of 1997-98 Platinum Portraits Michael Jordan on eBay

Buyers Guide 

We’ve put together a brief buyer’s guide for the best 1997-98 Platinum Portrait cards.

We’ve listed a couple of the more affordable options above, including the likes of Abdur-Rahim and Carnby. On the whole, ungraded copies come up at auction every so often. They’re not especially expensive, so long as you stay away from the top five. 

Either the MJ or Kobe Platinum Portrait would be the one we’d choose, especially given the potential for high sales prices over the next decade or so. 

If in doubt, it’s best to stick with one of the GOATs. There’s no better way to ensure profit over a long period of time.

Final Thoughts

The Platinum Portraits are a unique subset with great appeal. This is thanks to a strong selection of players and a timeless design. 

We’re big fans of the inserts, and we think they’re one of the most iconic NBA collectibles from the late 1990’s. 

That’s without accounting for the Jordan card which will easily sell for five figures if it’s in perfect condition.

Published by James Milin-Ashmore

Journalism gradate, freelance writer. Sports, tech, online security, collectibles.

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