New Orleans Pelicans: Most valuable Zion Williamson rookie cards

New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson (Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)
New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson (Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) /

Zion Williamson rookie basketball cards hold a tremendous amount of value

New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has played just 24 NBA games to this point, but has already made his mark on the NBA and become one of its most recognizable stars.

Featured on the next-gen version of NBA 2K21 that was released this fall, Williamson was one of the most anticipated No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft in some time.

Williamson’s star power has allowed the Pelicans to profit already through merchandise and jersey sales. In the first five days after the draft, he sold more jerseys and t-shirts than any rookie in NBA history. New Orleans is one of the best young teams to watch in the NBA, a credit to Williamson but also his great teammates.

One other market that has ballooned in part due to Zion’s star nature — the basketball cards market. Trading cards have been popular for some time now, helped in part by the seismic interest in LeBron James when he came into the league, and we are seeing similar growth in the hobby now.

Zion Williamson rookie card: Here’s what’s available on eBay right now

There is a tremendous amount of value in some of these cards. Let’s take a look at some of Zion Williamson’s most valuable cards from his rookie season.

Note: Card values fluctuate wildly on the secondhand market, and this is a loose guide that shouldn’t be considered set in stone in terms of what your card is valued at. Various facts (PSA grading, card quality and condition, rarity, parallel type, etc.) can wildly impact the value of any individual card’s secondhand market value. In addition, a player’s current playing level, star factor, and other fluid uncertainties can impact the value as well. Card values can be considered to be extremely volatile. This post was originally written in the fall of 2020. 

Zion Williamson rookie card value: Jersey patch cards

Jersey patch cards are some of the most valuable basketball cards in general, so when they’re of a major young star like Zion Williamson, they shoot through the roof in price on the secondary market. That said, they fluctuate wildly in value based on the factors mentioned earlier in this post as well as what part of the jersey was patched.

Some patch cards went for over $1,000 this past year, including this unique one that went for $3,000. Many go for $50-$100 as well, though.

More collectible and valuable are Duke jersey patch cards. This patch including the Duke logo went for $1,250.

Speaking of Duke cards, some autographs floating out there that feature Zion and some of his collegiate teammates that were drafted with him (Cam Reddish, RJ Barret) tend to sell for $1,000 or more.

Zion Williamson rookie card value: Panini Mosaic rookie

This is the most basic card out there and is frequently included in both retail and hobby boxes. The base version of this card isn’t very valuable, going for under $50 in some cases. Some of these parallels are a little more interesting and have some range as far as what the market takes for them and whether or not they’re graded (higher ends of these ranges are almost always PSA graded).

Here are some of the most notable parallels:

  • Green: $60-150
  • Pink camo: $60-400
  • Fast break silver: $180-300
  • Reactive orange: $44-400
  • Black: 1 of 1
  • Choice Nebula: 1 of 1
  • Blue Fluorescent: 15 total
  • Choice Black Gold: 8 total
  • Chocie Fusion Red: 88 total
  • Blue: 99 total

Entire checklist can be found on Panini’s website.

Zion Williamson rookie card value: Panini Prizm

The base version of this card will frequently sell for $100 or more on the secondhand market, with certain graded versions of the card selling for $500 or more.

Certain parallels do sell for higher. A Panini Prizm Silver Refractor went for just under $3,500 on October 2, 2020.

Zion Williamson rookie card value: Contenders

This is one of the interesting ones. Two specific valuable card from the Contenders box will be discussed below, but in general the Contenders vary quite a bit in value.

The typical Lottery Ticket card for Zion looks sweet and is very unique, but only goes for about $50. Parallels of that card might sell for a few hundred. In general, if it’s not a numbered/auto Rookie Ticket or special card, Contenders come in very low in value for Zion.

Zion Williamson rookie card value: DonRuss Optic Rated Rookie

The base version of this card is extremely clean and simple, and is valued at a good rate. PSA rated versions of this card (at 9 or 10) have sold for a few hundred dollars fairly consistently on eBay.

Where you get into the real value is with exciting parallels. This silver hologram colorway sold for just under $2,000, and other parallels can sell in the higher hundreds as well.

Zion Williamson rookie card value: Contenders Optic Historic Picks LeBron James/Zion Williamson Red Cracked

This card is a pretty rare one that features LeBron James and Zion Williamson, nodding to the general feel around their drafting and the hype that surrounded their rookie seasons in the NBA. Even ungraded this card in the sought after red cracked parallel can go for around $1,000 on eBay.

Zion Williamson rookie card value: Panini Optic Contenders Orange Auto Rookie Ticket

This card is highly sought after, and with only 25 of them out there, good luck. Base versions of this auto card have gone for $3,000 and above, and a recent Orange was bidding for higher than $4,000.

Zion Williamson rookie card value: Prizm autograph

The rookie iteration of a Prizm Zion Williamson is one of the most valuable cards one can have in 2020. As far as how valuable each auto card will be, it depends a lot on the color and how many there are in circulation.

For instance, a one-of-one like this guy got is going to hold a lot more value than a card with more colors in circulation.

An Optic Contenders Rookie Ticket (mentioned earlier) autographed recently auctioned for above $4,000, with the asking price on another at nearly $12,000 on eBay. With 25 of those, one can assume the price of a rare one-of-one is multiplied by a major factor. Some speculate a card like the one above could auction for six figures, maybe even more depending on Williamson’s career trajectory.

Which Zion Williamson basketball cards are the most valuable?

Generally, of course, Zion’s rookie cards are the most valuable and will continue to be even once further iterations come out throughout the years. Within his rookie cards, the most valuable cards are numbered cards and rare parallels. Even base rookie cards now are selling for high prices, but some of the parallels have consistently resold for thousands of dollars depending on the quality of the card and whether or not it includes something like a jersey patch or autograph.

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