Culture Trading Cards

25 Gifts For Trading Card Collectors To Fit Any Budget

Buying gifts for trading card collectors, but don’t know exactly where to start? You are aware that they love the hobby, but you might not know the first thing about which cards to buy. 

Related: 28 Sweet Gifts For Wrestling Fans

With that in mind, we put together this gift guide that would be great for all collectors, no matter the budget.  Instead of buying actual cards, these accessories would be fantastic additions. Let’s jump right in and highlight the best gifts for trading card collectors this holiday season!

1. Zion Cases— $129.99
The Collection Case

Coming in at the top on our list of gifts for trading card collectors is the Zion Case! This case will protect and hold up to 164 PSA, 112 BGS or 112 SGC slabs. Any collector with graded cards will love this case for safe traveling and storage. 

Buy Now, $129.99
2. Homage x Topps T-Shirt—$38

Homage produces some of the freshest threads for the hobby, including this ‘52 Topps Jackie Robinson tee.  Some other hits include an ‘89 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. tee and an ‘84 Topps Don Mattingly tee. They also revamped old Topps logos in their designs, which will be a hit for any old school collector.

Buy Now, $38
3. Stand Up Displays Customized Card Stand — $54.99

Want to put your collector’s name and logo on a holder? The people at Stand Up Displays have just the solution. This single card holder allows for a full view of the front and back of the card. Collectors will line these up on their shelves, in their office, or in their man-cave, which cleverly shows off their best cards.

Buy Now, $54.99
4. Inked Gaming Custom Breaking Mat —$29.95

Every collector needs a clean surface to open packs and sort cards, so a breaking mat is essential. Inked Gaming allows customers to import a logo or picture onto their mat, which makes for an aesthetically pleasing place to look at collections.

Buy Now, $29.95
5. PSA Card Display Case — $549

This high-end display case will showcase up to 24 PSA graded cards and features a mahogany door with black suede matting. It comes with brackets for easy wall mounting. The UV-filtered conservation glass helps prevent fading. 

Buy Now, $549
6. Collectible Card Bin— $65.99

This stackable collectible card bin holds up to 3200 loose trading cards. The rows are wide enough to hold top loaders and one-touch magnetic cases.

This may not be the most expensive or flashy item on our “top gifts for trading card collectors” list, but it will certainly be appreciated!

Buy Now, $65.99
7. Light Box — $39.99

Any card collector will appreciate this light box, as it will greatly improve the photography of their cards. This will make their social media posts and eBay listings pop and accentuate the artwork on the cards. 

Buy Now, $39.99
8. Reebok Question Low “Panini Rookie Signature Prizm”  — $115

Need some hobby-inspired kicks? How about Allen Iverson’s Reebok Question Low in a Prizm silver colorway? Yeah, we’re sold too. The Panini logo is brandished along the tongue and sole of these stunners, so it’s a subtle tribute to the hobby we all love.

Buy Now, $115
9. Show Your Slabs Display — $189.99
Show Your Slabs

This display fits either 9 or 25 PSA graded cards and flush mounts on the wall. The top can be personalized with the collector’s name and social media handle. 

Buy Now, $189.99
10. Baseball Card: Flipping, Trading & Bubblegum Book — $6.25

Per Amazon: “A look at baseball in the 1950s presents more than two hundred cards, with amusing bios on some of the game’s most colorful characters and observations on the baseball card phenomenon.”

Buy Now, $6.25
11. Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Poster —$26

This pin-up of Jordan’s classic Fleer rookie card would look great in any office or man-cave. The same group also sells prints of the Mickey Mantle and Rickey Henderson rookie.

Buy Now, $26
12. Mint Condition Book — $15.95

Per Amazon: “When award-winning journalist Dave Jamieson rediscovered his childhood baseball card collection he figured that now was the time to cash in on his “investments.” But when he tried the card shops, they were nearly all gone, closed forever. eBay was no help, either. Baseball cards were selling for next to nothing. What had happened?”

Buy Now, $15.95
13. eBay Gift Card 

You can NOT miss with this gift. eBay is the home for all things sports cards, so an eBay gift card is like saying “go get yourself anything you want on me!” and the collector in your life will love you for it!

Buy Now, Price Varies
10. Topps Custom Baseball Cards — $9.99

My own Topps card?! Sign me up!! These would be a really fun stocking stuffer for the entire family. There’s just something cool about seeing your family and friends with the Topps logo and your favorite team’s logo… and I will likely be buying some of these for my next family event!

Buy Now, $9.99 for 20 cards
11. One Month Subscription to Cardladder — $15

Trading card collectors like to look at data that helps them make decisions when buying or purchasing items to help build their collection. For a long time, this data existed in different places — sold/completed eBay listings, hobby group threads, Goldin Co. sold data, etc. 

Cardladder costs $15 per month and allows collectors to add cards to their collection, track sales data, sales volume, sale prices, and estimated card values. 

For just $15, you can give a collector access to Cardladder for an entire month so they can try it out and see if it’s a fit for their hobby needs. 

Buy Now, $15
16. Brothers in Cards Pack Plus Program — $85

Opening boxes and packs of sports cards have gotten expensive, but Brothers in Cards offers a more affordable option for collectors.

Starting at just $85, you can pick a sport and a box level you’d like a gift. Brothers in Cards will include between 3 and 9 packs of cards (based on the selected product level) from different sports card products at an affordable price. Card packs are randomly sorted and distributed into the boxes. It’s one of the best ways for collectors to scratch the itch of opening fresh wax without breaking the bank and makes for a perfect holiday gift.

Buy Now, $85
13. Legends Card Grading Centering Tool with Cleaning Cloth Kit Material — $12.99

If you ever see a trading card collector staring at their cards and holding them at different angles, it’s likely because they are trying to figure out how well centered the card is. Centering is a major factor in how grading companies assign the numeric condition of the card and this centering tool is a life-saver.

You can purchase the Legends Card Grading Centering Tool on Amazon to help your collector better estimate the centering on raw cards before they spend money to submit them for grading.

Buy Now, $12.99
14. Slab Savers — $29.99

Slab Savers are humidity-controlled storage for a single graded card that can preserve the card in its current condition. UV rays, humidity, and cracked slabs can ruin a collector’s day, and for just $29.99, a collector’s most prized possessions can be stored safely and confidently.

Buy Now, $29.99
19. Rally “Ungraded Rookie Cards” Hat — $54.99

This corduroy cap comes from Rally, a platform built for alternative investing. The cursive embroidery pays homage to the Starter NFL caps of the early 90s, and it’s a neat piece to wear at a card show or trade night.

Buy Now, $54.99
20. Portable and Flexible Adjustable Cell Phone Tripod Holder with Remote and Universal Clip — $14.99

Opening fresh packs of sports cards can be a lot of fun. It’s more fun when you live stream it to your followers on Instagram. It’s not as fun if you don’t have a tripod to hold your phone (as you need two hands to open a pack of cards). For just $14.99, you can buy a tripod on Amazon so that your favorite collector can film opening card packs, or can share their PC (personal collection) via video without trying to hold their phone and shuffle through cards. 

Buy Now, $14.99
21. HP — LaserJet Pro M15w Laser Printer — $119.99

Trading card collectors who buy and sell cards to build their collections are constantly printing shipping labels and a printer becomes a necessary part of their operation. Best Buy has a few options, but this HP Laserjet is just $119.99. While it’s a bit pricier than the other gifts on this list, a printer is a must-have for any collector.

Buy Now, $119.99
22. Bubble Mailers — $7.97

There is nothing worse for a trading card collector than running out of bubble mailers to help ship cards they sell to build their collection. This may seem like a plain holiday gift, but its utility is what keeps the hobby moving. It’s the standard way to pack cards and prepare them for shipping to make sure they arrive protected and undamaged.

Buy Now, $7.97×7+bubble+mailers+100+pack&qid=1637594102&sprefix=4×7+bubble%2Caps%2C197&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFWR09JQ1ZZWVhLWUomZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTAwOTQ5NzMxSTRYQzZSUUtaSEw1JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA4ODcxMDYyUFRMTUhCOTlZUVozJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
23. Steel City Collectibles Box Cutter — $1.95

Here’s a hobby essential that will only cost you $2! Custom box cutters are often used for breaks and openings. This Steel City cutter is an inexpensive way to help a collector out.

Buy Now, $1.95
24. Collector Caps — $8.50

Anybody who buys cards online knows that there is nothing more annoying than receiving the card in a top loader with a piece of scotch tape on it. It ruins the top loader, and looks awful.

If you are selling cards, sticking one of these Collector Caps on your top loader instead of tape will go a long way towards making sure that your customer is happy and leaves positive feedback, while also doing an amazing job of protecting the card in shipping.

Buy Now, $8.50
25. Toploaders/Sleeves Bundle  — $29.99

Last but not least, we have the biggest must-have in the hobby: toploaders and sleeves. Having a couple of these handy is always important in card collecting, and you can never go wrong adding more of them.

Buy Now, $29.99

Did we miss something that would make for great gifts for trading card collectors? Shoot us a message on twitter @cardtalkpod and let’s talk about it!

Popular Culture Trading Cards

Yugioh Cards: The 26 Most Expensive of All Time

Before we discuss Yugioh cards, let’s talk about the franchise!

Few media franchises have achieved the level of success that Yu-Gi-Oh! has. After launching, it offered a compelling trading card game and an anime series cards’ monsters come to life. This one-two-punch immediately hooked young fans and began an entire mythos of Yu-Gi-Oh! series, films, video games, and merchandise, to name a few pillars of the empire. And like Pokemon and similar franchises, there are a few select trading cards that have gained prominence for their value and rarity. While some of the higher-valued ones were only distributed as and award status in tournaments, that’s not always the case.

Here are a few standouts Yugioh cards and just how much they have sold for.

1. Tournament Black Luster Soldier – $2,000,000 (reportedly)
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Easily the most valuable card on this list, the Black Luster Soldier was an exclusive prize card awarded at the first-ever Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament in 1999. It is printed on stainless steel and is the only one of its kind, thus its coveted rarity makes it essentially priceless. Those who have listed it for sale (with only rumors confirming amounts trading hands) asked for amounts in the millions. Suffice it to say, anyone who lucks into this card has essentially hit the Yu-Gi-Oh! lottery.

2. 2002 Blue Eyes White Dragon 1st Edition PSA 10 – $85,100 (10/28/20)

This is arguably the most iconic card associated with the entire Yugioh franchise! Blue-Eyes White Dragon is popular not only for its strength in the trading card game — fusing three of them together will produce Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon — but also its powerful appearances in the original anime and manga. The first of these cards were released in Japan in 1999 and the United States soon after, and mint condition first editions are skyrocketing in value. (One father even went viral for selling a few of his to pay for his daughter’s education!)

3. 2002 Blue Eyes White Dragon 1st Edition PSA 10 PSA 10 – $47,200 (11/25/20)

This is the same card as #2, but I included it on the list to show just how volatile the prices can be of sports/trading cards. It sold less than a month after the previously listed on, but for almost $40,000 less.

4. 2002 LOB 1st Edition Exodia The Forbidden One PSA 10 – $35,000 (08/11/21)

The total PSA 10 population of this card is 82, with 365 of them graded. That’s about a 25% gem rate, making this card fairly difficult to grade and highly sought after whenever a PSA 10 pops up on the market.

Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon was the first expansion of the Yugioh TCG, and this card was one of ten Ultra Rares. This is one of the most popular Yugioh cards in the entire game.

5. 2004 Shonen Jump Championship Cyber-Stein PSA 10 – $30,100 (10/28/20)

Unlike the many commonplace versions of this card inspired by the monster in Frankenstein, the one worth some significant cash is — you guessed it — another tournament award edition. Awarded at the Shonen Jump Championship, and a few thereafter, there are a little over a hundred of these cards in existence. There are only 21 PSA 10’s of this card out there, so they don’t come up for sale often!

6. 1999 Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth No Red DDS Promo PSA 10 – $29,999.99 (8/23/21)

This card had a PSA population of just 1 at the time it was sold but there have been two more PSA 10s added to the population report since the sale.

It will be interesting to see how that affects the price the next time one of these Yugioh cards comes up for sale.

7. 2002 LOB Blue Eyes Black Dragon 1st Edition PSA 10 – $29,000 (8/14/21)

Continuing on the trend of ridiculously low PSA populations, there are only 69 of these graded as a PSA 10. This card comes from the first set of the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game released in English.

8. 2002 Blue-Eyes White Dragon ULTRA 1ST EDITION WAVY BGS 9.5 – $21,111.60 (3/5/22)

This card stands out because it is the “wavy” edition. The term wavy was originally known as 1st edition but was coined when collectors realized that the 1st edition cards from the original LOB expansion were printed on two different card stocks. The wavy version was more dull and had a wavy texture to it.

It was graded by BGS as a gem mint 9.5, with a 10 grade on the centering.

9. 2003 Dark Magician Girl Secret Rare 1st Edition PSA 10 – $20,187 (11/23/21)

Magician’s Force was the 8th expansion of the Yugioh TCG. It was released in October of 2003 and consisted of 108 cards total.

This card is a Secret Rare, one of only 2 in the set. There are only 85 of them graded a PSA 10.

10. 2002 Dark Duel Stories Blue-Eyes White Dragon PSA 10 – $20,000 (2/21/21)

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories promotional cards are a set of Prismatic Secret Rare cards bundled with the North American release of the video game Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories.

The total PSA 10 population on this card is only 131, making this rare gem very difficult to find.

11. 2007 Gold Sarcophagus Ultra Rare Shonen Jump Prize Card PSA 8 – $17,500 (4/17/22)

This card a 2007 Shonen Jump Championship Series prize card. That series was the premiere Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game tournament series that was run from 2004 to 2010, when Konami took over the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game and replaced them with the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series.

Only 4 copies were distributed at each Shonen Jump event when this card ws given out, and the Gold Sarcophagus was one of them.

12. 2002 Morphing Jar Tournament Pack 2 PSA 10 – $15,000 (2/1/21)

There is nothing remarkable about the artwork on this card, but it has become one of the most collectible of all Yugioh cards. When Morphing Jar is activated during a match, both players discard their cards and draw five new cards, in what can be a sneaky good play when your back is up against the wall. 

With a PSA 10 population of only 24, it’s no wonder that this tournament pack 2 promo card is so hot and in demand. There are only 92 of them that have ever been graded by PSA, so good luck finding one!

13. 2002 Tournament Pack 1 MECHANICALCHASER PSA 10 – $14,999 (2/1/21)

Much like the previously mentioned Morphing Jar, the Mechanicalchaser out of the 2002 Tournament Pack 1 is extremely rare, with only 25 PSA 10’s in existence and only 71 total that have been graded.

14. 2003 Dark Magician Girl Magic Force 1st Edition PSA 10 – $14,400 (9/20/21)

With a PSA 10 population of just 85, this Secret Rare Dark Magician Girl was part of the Magician’s Force set, the 8th expansion of the Yugioh TCG.

15. 2004 Black Luster Soldier Envoy of the Beginning IOC 1st Edition PSA10 – $12,100 (4/23/22)

This card came from Invasion of the Chaos booster boxes, which contained powerful “Chaos” monsters. this “Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning”, “Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End” and “Dark Magician of Chaos”. These further promoted the use of the already powerful LIGHT and DARK Attributes.

There are only 52 PSA 10’s in the population.

16. 2003 Magician’s Force 1st Edition Dark Paladin Alternate Art PSA 10 – $12,000 (12/27/20)

The Dark Paladin is one of the most useful cards in the game. When a Spell Card is activated, you can discard 1 card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it. This card must be face-up on the field to activate and to resolve this effect. 

There are only 44 of these cards that have been graded, and only 12 PSA 10’s, making it one of the rarest cards on this list.

17. Cyber-Stein Ultra Rare SHONEN JUMP PRIZE CARD BGS 9 – $11,100 (3/5/22)

This Cyber-Stein is another one of the Shonen Jump Prize Cards, with this one from 2004. They was given to the winners of the main and side events, and those were the only 2 that were distributed.

18. 2017 Dark Magician Girl Ghost World Championship Promo – $11,000 (1/6/21)

Dark Magician Girl first appears as a character in the Battle City arc when Yugi faces the ex-magician Arkana, whom she defeats by drawing power from both Duelists’ Dark Magician cards. 

This card was handed out in an envelope for the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2017 attendants and participants. They were limited to roughly 1000 copies, which makes the card extremely rare. Only 24 of them have been graded by PSA, with just 10 of them receiving PSA 10’s.

19. 1998 Toei Poker Blue/Red-Eyes White Dragon YuGiOh BGS 10 – $10,000 (8/22/21)

According to the eBay listing, the seller pulled these two cards out of extremely rare sealed 1998 Volume 2 Poker Decks and sent them to BGS, getting 10s on both.

Check out the video and the seller’s reaction at the 6:25 mark!

20. 2002 Dark Magician Dark Duel Stories Promo PSA 10 – $9,999.99 (12/2/20)

Dark Magician was created when Mahad fused his ba with “Illusion Magician“, his ka while fighting Thief King Bakura

The Dark Magician fended off the ghosts and battled Diabound. He then continued to serve the Pharaoh in the form of the Dark Magician.

We previously mentioned a Blue Eyes White Dragon from the same promo set at #4 on the list, but this Dark Magician is actually a bit more rare, with only 88 PSA 10’s in population.

21. Shrink Ultra Rare Limited Edition – $9,586.64 (12/10/20)

Shrink was first released at the 2006 Shonen Jump Yu-Gi-Oh! Championships, making first editions of the card very valuable. If you can prove that your Shrink is one of these limited-edition prize cards, you have quite a gem on your hands. I would personally get it graded, rather than sell it raw as this seller did, but the near $10,000 final sale price is quite a haul.

This card was sold raw, but to display the rarity, there are only 3 graded examples of this card on record with PSA, with no PSA 10’s and only 1 PSA 9.

22. 2009 Blue Eyes Shining Dragon Retro Pack 2 PSA 10 – $9,000 (2/15/21)

Packed with all-powerful cards, the Retro Pack series was designed to help Duelists collect hard to get and out of print cards. Pokemon often creates similar sets that are wildly popular amongst collectors.

The total number of PSA graded examples of this card is only 88, with just 27 PSA 10’s in the population.

23. 2009 Stardust Overdrive 1st Majestic Star Dragon Ghost Rare PSA 10 – $8,999.90 (1/14/21)

During either player’s turn, when your opponent activates a card or effect, you can’t tribute this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy all cards your opponent controls. Once per turn, you can target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; negate its effects until the end of this turn, and you can activate 1 of its effects as this card’s effect once this turn. 

There are only 65 total PSA graded examples of this card with just 22 of them getting a PSA 10 grade. Most of the cards that we talked about on this list were from the original 2002 sets, but this Ghost Rare card has become increasingly popular and it’s artwork is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the entire game.

24. 2020 United We Stand Blue Secret Rare Promo PSA 10 – $7,000 (12/24/20)

This card was awarded as a Prize for the October 2020 Yu-Gi-Oh! Remote Duel at Home Sweepstakes.

To say that this card is rare would be an understatement, with only 5 of them on record with PSA and 3 total PSA 10’s on the planet. With a population that low, and the rising popularity of Yugioh cards amongst collectors, the sky is the limit for this card in future sales.

25. 2002 Blue Eyes White Dragon Dark Duel Stories PSA 9 – $5795 (9/21/21)

This is the same card as #7 on our list, except it is a PSA 9 instead of a PSA 10. The total population of PSA 9’s is just 132 (with only 143 10’s).

26. 2004 Chaos Emperor Dragon Invasion of Chaos 1st Edition PSA 10 – $5441 (8/21/21)

The Invasion of Chaos is a booster pack that combined the Japanese sets, “The Controller of Chaos” and “Invader of Darkness”.

This particular card has a PSA 10 population of just 71.

Click here for more on this set!

Which of these Yugioh cards are your favorite? Hit us up on Twitter @137pm and let us know!

Popular Culture Trading Cards

The Most Valuable Trading Cards Ever Sold

These past couple of years has been like nothing else for the most valuable trading cards in the hobby. What mainstream society used to think of as a fun little hobby for children has become big business, with record breaking sales publicized by top media outlets becoming almost a weekly occurrence.

People who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s–who collected as children–remember the last time that sports cards were this hot, but the game has changed. Back then, it was mainly Topps baseball cards that collectors were after. Nowadays, basketball is near top of almost everybody’s list, with Panini currently owning that license. However, Fanatics is set to take that license over and recently acquired Topps along with their baseball license.

It isn’t just basketball that has caught fire, with baseball remaining a major player as well as other sports such as football and even soccer making major moves.

Non-sports cards have also been attracting a lot of attention, with Pokemon and Magic the Gathering creating quite a buzz amongst collectors, and even rare cards of celebrities and major media franchises such as Star Wars, Batman and Marvel Comics cards also bringing in big money.

Gone are the days of the simple, mass produced base cards of the “junk wax era“, as the new chase in the hobby includes trying to acquire rare cards with low serial numbers, autographs and patches of jerseys that players may have worn during a game.

Further, the most valuable cards come graded by an authentication service, giving a score based on the condition of the card from 1-10. The leading authentication service PSA was so inundated with submissions that they were forced froze the hobby’s ability to submit cards for almost an entire year due to an incredible backlog of more than ten million cards that they simply could not catch up on. They have since worked their way through that backlog and have re-opened submissions.

This influx of money and increased interest has created fierce competition for the rarest and highest graded cards at places such as eBay, Goldin Auctions and Heritage Auctions, and the results can be seen below.

This list of the most valuable trading cards shows just how hot this market has been, as people continue to invest in alternative assets like these.

(*This list only includes the highest sale price of any particular card so that no card is on the list twice)

1. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps SGC 9.5 ($12,600,000)
Heritage Auctions

Pictured above is the first trading card to sell for eight figures. Mickey Mantle’s 1952 Topps rookie card has cemented itself as a pivotal piece of Americana.  While dozens of these ‘52 Mantles trade throughout the year, none have ever sold that were graded above a 9.  That was until August 28th, when this SGC 9.5 copy sold at Heritage Auctions.

With any high-end collectible piece, there always seems to be an incredible story that accompanies it.  This card is no exception.  In 1986, Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen received a call that put him in contact with Ted Lodge, a truck driver from Massachusetts.  After a visit to Lodge’s home, Rosen found sealed boxes and untouched cards from the now legendary ‘52 set.  He paid Lodge $125,000 in cash for a lot that contained over 5,500 cards and dozens of #311 Mantles.

One of those mint-condition Mantles was purchased in 1991 for a mere $50,000 by a man named Anthony Giordano.  Recently, it was slabbed up by SGC and hit the auction block in late July.  This is undoubtedly one of the best copies of the hobby’s most iconic card, and it will remain atop the leaderboard for quite some time.

2. Honus Wagner 1909 Sweet Caporal T-206 SGC 2 ($7,250,000)
Goldin Auctions

Before the massive Mantle 9.5, Goldin Auctions facilitated a private sale of one of the hobby’s most iconic cards.  The T-206 Honus Wagner is a mythical piece of American folklore at this point.  People who have never bought a trading card in their life can recognize this card and recognize its value.  

Interestingly enough, higher grades of this card have closed for less than the recent $7.25 million sale.  An SGC 3 copy reached a price of $6.6 million last year, but it would now likely bring around $10 million if it went up at an auction house today.  

Tied 3. LeBron James 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Gold /23 RPA BGS 9 ($5,200,000)

Here we have the King’s best card.  2003-04 Exquisite is perhaps the most recognizable rookie patch autograph set of all time, and it’s packed with the best cards of future hall-of-famers.  Players like LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh all have their best cards coming from this product.

This particular BGS 9 copy is serial numbered to 23 and features a 3-color patch.  It sold from the PWCC Vault in April of 2021, marking the highest price of any basketball card.

Tied 3. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps PSA 9 ($5,200,000)

Simply put, this is the hobby’s most iconic card so we will allow it as the only card on the list mentioned twice.

This particular example was purchased by entrepreneur Rob Gough, who we had a chance to sit down and talk with shortly after the sale. The same card sold two years earlier for $2.8 million.

“Based on our research, this is the nicest looking 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 9 in existence,” Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC Marketplace, said via press release.

5. Luka Doncic 2018-19 Panini National Treasures Logoman 1/1 ($4,600,000)
@shyne150 instagram

NBA Logoman cards from the popular high end Panini National Treasures sets are the most sought after in the hobby. This $4.6 million dollar deal was a private sale, with collectors and business partners Nick Fiorella and Bolillo Lajan San the proud owners of this one-of-a-kind holy grail of Luka Doncic cards.

6. Patrick Mahomes 2017 Panini National Treasures 1/1 RPA BGS 8.5 ($4,300,000)
@ljscardshop / Instagram

Number 6 on our list is quite possibly the best ultra-modern football card in existence.  This holy grail of Patrick Mahomes cards was purchased last year by LJ’s Card Shop, an Ohio-based hobby store.  

The Kansas City gunslinger has been a top 3 quarterback in the league for nearly half a decade, and he has the accolades to prove it.  If Mahomes keeps this career trajectory up, that $4.3 million sale price may not seem that high in a few years.

7. Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey PSA 9 ($4,200,000)
Memory Lane Auctions

The card pictured above is the highest-graded copy of Babe Ruth’s 1933 Goudey card.  It sold last summer for $4.2 million at Memory Lane Auctions, becoming the most expensive card of the Great Bambino.

The 1933 Goudey set wasn’t printed with the standard 3” x 4” dimension we see today, so these cards have become very condition-sensitive.  To see a copy like this one retain its sharp corners and beaming colors 90 years later is astonishing, and this is one of the better baseball cards in existence.

8. Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Superfractor Auto BGS 9/10 ($3,900,000)
Goldin Auctions

This sale, which took place on August 23, 2020, held the record for a short amount of time as the most money ever paid for a single sports card. The one-of-a-kind “Superfractor” was previously purchased in May of 2018 by controversial social media personality “Vegas Dave” Oancea for $400,000.

9. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket /100 BGS 9/10 ($3,800,000)

The 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady will probably go down as the most iconic football card of all time.  This Championship Ticket parallel, which is limited to just 100 copies, has sold for as high as $3.8 million. Here’s what the GOAT had to say about the boom in his card market:

“It’s surreal, and it makes me want to go check all my cards that I have stored — there’s gotta be one in there somewhere!” Brady told Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan in a recent interview.

“You know, when I was coming out I tried to make some money. My agent, Steve, was like, ‘I got a trading card deal for you. Sign a thousand cards and they’re gonna pay you like 20 cents a card.’ And I was like, ‘Twenty cents a card? I’m gonna be rich!’ Unbelievable … you see these cards that are worth that kind of money. I definitely should’ve kept some of them. But whatever — I think it all worked out pretty good.”

10. Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee PSA 10 ($3,750,000)

Some might be surprised to see a hockey card so high on this list, but nobody will be surprised who that player is. There are only two examples of this card receiving a PSA 10 grade, so it comes as no shock that it was highly sought after when one of them came up for auction. The same card sold in August of 2016 for just $465,000, and with the hockey market starting to heat up, it will be very interesting to see how much it sells for the next time it hits the auction block.

There is also a Topps version of “The Great One’s” rookie card that is equally rare in a PSA 10 grade (population also 2) which recently sold for $700,000, but the O-Pee-Chee is THE Gretzky card that will command the most value.

11. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto PSA 10/10 ($2,880,000)

This Tom Brady card is very similar to #9 on the list, but it is just the regular Rookie Ticket parallel and not serial numbered.  However, the PSA 10/AUTO 10 grade this stunner received made it a big chase for Brady collectors.  Given Brady’s humble beginnings in the NFL, many of these cards were neglected and forgotten.  But this copy remained in pristine condition and sold for over $2.8 million in a 2021 PWCC Premier auction.

12. LeBron James 2020-21 Panini Flawless Triple Logoman PSA Authentic ($2,400,000)
Goldin Auctions

Easily the most talked-about card of 2022, this beautiful triple logoman of LeBron was chased by avid collectors and celebrities alike.  This card from 2020-21 Panini Flawless is the first to feature a game-worn logoman patch from every team the King has played for.  It even had A-listers like Drake buying cases to get a hold of this card. 

The 1/1 grail piece ended up selling for $2.4 million at Goldin Auctions, the most for any non-autographed patch card.

13. Michael Jordan 1997-98 UD Game Jersey Autograph /23 PSA 8/9 ($2,052,000)
Goldin Auctions

This card boasts an autograph as well as a large sample of the jersey that Michael Jordan wore in the iconic 1992 NBA All-Star Game.  It’s the first patch autograph of the GOAT and also the most expensive MJ card of all time.

Only 23 of these cards were ever produced, with Jordan hand-numbering all of them.  A true piece of basketball history, it last sold with Goldin Auctions in May 2021.

14. Kobe Bryant 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems (PMG) Emerald /10 BGS 8.5 ($2,000,000)

Since its inception, the Precious Metal Gems (PMG) insert has been a favorite of many modern basketball collectors.  This 1997 Kobe Bryant Emerald is the pinnacle of that PMG fandom.  A BGS 8.5 grade, the copy is numbered /10 and sold for $2,000,000 privately this year.  That marks the highest sale for any Kobe Bryant card or any Precious Metal Gem, and it will be interesting to see how the PMG market grows in the future.

15. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013-14 National Treasures Logoman Patch Auto 1/1 ($1,857,300)
Goldin Auctions

This Giannis Logoman held the record for the most expensive basketball card ever sold for a few short months before the Luka Doncic Logoman that I previously mentioned more than doubled it in a private sale.

The amazing thing about this card is that it was previously sold back in 2014 for just $7000, but the buyer actually returned it because of a small yellow stain on the back. The seller did a little bit better this time around.

16. Lebron James 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Auto BGS 9.5 ($1,800,000)
Goldin Auctions

Another card that held the record for the highest sale of a modern day sports card for just a short time, this Lebron James Exquisite Rookie Parallel is serial numbered to 23 and is King James’ most rare and sought after rookie card.

The buyer was Leore Avidar, CEO of Alt who said, “the purchase is part of a strategy to bring something big to the collectibles and alternative assets business in the coming months.”

17. Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors BGS PRISTINE/Black Label 10 ($1,752,000)
Goldin Auctions

This March 6th, 2021 sale at Goldin Auctions marks the most expensive Kobe Bryant card ever sold. The BGS Black Label 10 grade is the most difficult grade to achieve in the entire hobby, and sets itself apart as quite literally the “perfectly conditioned card”.

In March of 2016, the exact same card sold on eBay for $58,100.

18. Michael Jordan/LeBron James/Kobe Bryant 2006 UD Exquisite All NBA Access Triple Logoman PSA Authentic ($1,680,000)
Goldin Auctions

The triple logoman is quickly becoming a theme on this list.  However, this one features three patches of the best to ever lace them up, and they’re all game worn.

This is a one-of-a-kind piece for game-worn patch collectors, and it reached a final price of $1.6 million in a Goldin auction.

19. Babe Ruth 1916 M101-4 Sporting News PSA 6 ($1,500,000)
Goldin Auctions

#19 on our list of most valuable trading cards ois what many consider to be Babe Ruth’s rookie card.  The 1916 M101-4 features a portrait of Ruth from his Red Sox days.  4 years later, Ruth was famously traded to the Yankees, marking the start of the Curse of the Bambino.  In turn, items like this PSA 6 Sporting News rookie have become even more heralded in baseball culture, which is supported by its $1.5 million sale price.  

20. Pele 1958 Alifabolaget PSA 9 ($1,330,000)

We finally have our first soccer card on the list, which is a sport that has grown tremendously within the hobby recently. And what better way to showcase the soccer card market than with a PSA 9 rookie of one of the greats? This 1958 Alifabolaget Pele is an extremely rare find, and it shows an 18-year-old Pele at the start of his glorious career. It sold this year for $1.3 million, marking the highest sale of any soccer card.

21. Lebron James 2004-05 Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures Logoman Patch Auto 1/1 PSA/DNA 10 ($1,291,500)
Goldin Auctions

This $1.291 million dollar sale on March 7th, 2021 marks the most money ever spent on a Lebron James card outside of his rookie year. This is the third example of an NBA Logoman cracking the top 10.

Goldin’s description of this card reads, “… The superb card constitutes an eloquent, visual reminder of LeBron’s NBA Rookie of the Year Award victory of the previous year, which was among the first of what has become a lengthy list of trophies and records.”

22. LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor /50 PSA 10 ($1,200,000)

2003 Topps Chrome does not include a superfractor 1/1 in the checklist, so this gold refractor /50 is the lowest-numbered LeBron card in the set.  And as we’ve seen gold parallels become more prominent in the hobby, this card has steadily increased in value as well.  That increase culminated with an August 2022 sale of $1.2 million for this POP 9 stunner.

23. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013-14 Panini Prizm Black Mosaic 1/1 BGS 9.5 ($1,140,000)
Goldin Auctios

“The Greek Freak” is undoubtedly one of the best basketball players in the world right now, so it’s no surprise that his best Prizm card sold for over $1.1 million in December 2020.  Antetokounmpo would go on to win his first title with Bucks the following summer. Even still, Giannis is only 27, so it will be interesting to see where his career (and this card) goes from here.  

24. Roberto Clemente 1955 Topps PSA 9 ($1,107,000)
Goldin Auctions

There are only 12 examples of this card graded as high as a PSA 9, with only one of them being a PSA 10. When you combine that sort of rarity with the fact that Clemente is one of the most beloved players in the history of baseball, it comes as no surprise that this card found itself in the “million dollar club” when it sold in early March of 2021.

T-24. Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph Holo Gold /10 BGS 9.5 ($1,080,000)

This BGS 9.5 Patrick Mahomes National Treasures RPA is a recent addition to the Million Dollar Club, and it’s an impressive one at that.  The patch contains a large portion of the old AFL logo, and the card itself is limited to only 10 copies. Besides his aforementioned NFL Shield RPA, you won’t find many better-looking cards of the Chiefs QB than this one.

T-24. Stephen Curry 2009-10 National Treasures Century Platinum RPA /5 PSA 9 AUTO 10 ($1,080,000)
Goldin Auctions

Stephen Curry is now a four-time champion and the greatest shooter in NBA history, so it makes sense to find him on a list like this.  Curry’s market grew significantly during the Warriors’ 2021 championship campaign, which can be shown by the $1.08 million sale of his true National Treasures RPA.

26. Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps PSA 10 ($1,005,600)
Heritage Auctions

The PSA 10 population on this card is 1, meaning that this is the finest conditioned example of Reggie Jackson’s rookie card on the planet. The last time it sold was back in 2012 when it closed for $115,000.

This card was once a part of the famed “Dmitri Young Collection“, named after the former Major League Baseball All-Star who had assembled one of the greatest sports card collections in existence.

27. Michael Jordan 2006-07 Fleer Buyback Rookie Autograph BGS 8.5/9 ($1,008,000)

In 2006, Fleer had Michael Jordan sign 23 of his 1986 Fleer rookie cards, and they randomly inserted these buyback autographs into their products. Since Jordan didn’t have any pack-issued autographs until 1997, this card has become quite popular for collectors.  It’s one of the few instances where MJ signed his true RC, and it’s a card that just does not pop up in auction houses very often.

T-28. Anthony Davis 2012-13 National Treasures Logoman 1/1 BGS 9 ($1,000,000)
Goldin Auctions

The final member (for now) of the “million dollar club” is Lakers star Anthony Davis, whose Logoman reached the seven-figure selling price in February of 2021.

Before you act surprised seeing his card sell for so much, consider the fact that the underrated star has an NCAA championship, Olympic Gold medal, NBA All-Star MVP and NBA Championship to his name.

T-28. Luka Doncic 2018-19 National Treausres RPA Emerald /5 BGS 9/10 ($1,000,000)

As Luka Doncic’s international stardom continues to rise, many high-end hobbyists continue to pick up his rarest cards.  Take, for example, this 2018-19 National Treasures Emerald RPA, which sold for $1 million last year.  Doncic is one of the brightest stars in the game, and he is only a few rings away from becoming a legend in both the hobby and NBA lore.

30. Jackie Robinson 1952 Topps PSA 9 ($960,000)
Goldin Auctions

This card is just one of the eleven PSA 9’s in the population, with not one single PSA 10, meaning that there is no better conditioned example of the iconic Jackie Robinson’s 1952 Topps card in the market.

The fact that I am writing this article on “Jackie Robinson Day” (April 15th), bears mentioning, as he broke MLB’s 80+ year color barrier on this date in 1947. I can thin of no better athlete to collect.

T-31. Kobe Bryant 2002-03 Upper Deck NBA Logo Mania BGS 9/10 ($922,500)
Goldin Auctions

Tied at 31, we have the first Kobe Bryant logoman card ever produced.  It features Bryant back when he donned the #8 jersey, and it also has a strong signature of one of the game’s greatest.  This card was way ahead of its time, and it sold for $922,500 last year.

T-31. Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome 1st Autograph Red Refractor /5 BGS 9.5/10 ($922,500)
Goldin Auctions

Trout has consistently been one of the best in the game for over a decade now, and he is a shoo-in for Cooperstown.  So, when you see sales like this 2009 Bowman Chrome Red Refractor Auto for $922,500, you just have to tip your cap to one of the best outfielders to play the game.

33. Michael Jordan 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Green PSA Authentic 9/100 ($915,000)
Heritage Auctions

To explain the extreme rarity of this card, the 1997-98 Metal Universe were the first of the Precious Metal Gems cards. Only one hundred were produced for each player in the set. Ninety of the one hundred cards boasted red foil, with the remaining ten sporting the green seen on this example. Only six of the green ones have been graded by PSA, and the only sale of one of them on record took place earlier in 2020, closing for $350,000.

34. Lewis Hamilton 2020 Topps Chrome F1 Superfractor 1/1 PSA 7 ($900,000)
Goldin Auctions

At #34, we finally have our first Formula 1 card on this list, and it’s a beauty.  2020 Topps Chrome F1 has been one of the most collected sets internationally in recent years, and few cards were more desired than this Lewis Hamilton 1/1 superfractor.  A seven-time champion, Hamilton is considered by many to be the greatest driver in F1 history. It was incredible for the hobby to see some of his prices realized when this 1/1 sold for $900,000 in May.

T-35. Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures Black RPA 1/5 BGS 9/10 ($840,000)
Goldin Auctions

There are none of these cards graded by PSA, and none graded higher by BGS, making this the best conditioned example, of the most collectible set, of the NFL’s biggest and brightest young star, numbered to just 5. Wow.

Will the football card market ever catch up to the basketball card market in terms of value? If it even gets close, the upside on this card could be huge. If Mahomes continues to win MVP’s and Super Bowls, the $840,000 paid for this card could one day look like a bargain.

T-35. Larry Bird/Magic Johnson 1980-81 Topps Scoring Leaders PSA 10 ($840,000)

If you were to make a list of the most iconic basketball cards ever, this card would be on it.  The 1980-81 Topps Scoring Leaders features three HOFers and is regarded as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson’s true rookie card.  The set also utilized perforated edges to tear away the individual players, so finding a perfect PSA 10 is nearly impossible.  But when it happens, it is big money, as noted by this $840,000 sale in 2021

37. George Mikan 1948 Bowman PSA 9 ($800,000)
Probstein Auctions

George Mikan was a pioneer for the game and one of the NBA’s first stars.  While he may not be the hottest name in the hobby today, his 1948 Bowman RC remains one of the most heralded basketball cards of all time.  The ‘48 set is also very condition-sensitive, which makes this $800,000 PSA 9 copy even more impressive.

38. Lou Gehrig 1925 Exhibits PSA 6 (MK) ($782,400)
Goldin Auctions

This oversized card is considered to be Lou Gehrig’s rookie card, however, there are only three dozen of these TOTAL in the PSA population. These cards were only distributed through amusement park vending machines in 1925, and could be had for a penny. It would take 78,240,000 pennies to buy one nowadays!

T-39. Luka Doncic 2018 Panini Gold Prizm 3/10 PSA 10 ($780,000)
Goldin Auctions

This gold Prizm is numbered to 10, with only 3 of them currently graded by PSA and this particular one receiving a PSA 10. Luka’s Logoman (#2 on this list) selling for over $4 million dollars just goes to show how highly regarded he is in the hobby, but to see a modern non-auto card crack the top 20 on the list is definitely eye-opening.

T-39. Kevin Durant 2007-08 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Parallel #94 RPA 23/35 BGS 9/10 ($780,000)
Goldin Auctions

The Kevin Durant market got white hot as the Brooklyn Nets entered the season as one of the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference before coming back down a bit in the last month or so.

After a year away due to injury, Durant has not disappointed in his return to the hardwood (although he has been battling injuries of late). How much of a run will his cards have if the Nets go on to win the NBA Championship? It remains to be seen. This particular card is serial numbered to /35 and graded a BGS 9, which is a very high grade for an RPA like this which are notorious for condition issues.

T-39. Michael Jordan 2003-04 UD Exquisite Limited Logos Patch Auto /75 PSA 9/10 ($780,000)

While this card may be tied for 38th on the list, its eye appeal is unparalleled in comparison to the rest of the list.  The Limited Logos autograph set from 2003 Exquisite features some of the greatest game-worn patches in hobby history, including this three-color jersey of His Airness.  Couple that with a PSA 9/AUTO 10 grade, and you’ve got one incredible basketball card.

The Rest of the List:
T-42. Mickey Mantle 1951 Bowman PSA 9 ($750,000)
Heritage Auctions

T-42. Joe DiMaggio 1941 Play Ball PSA 10 ($750,000)
Heritage Auctions

T-44. LeBron James 2004 Topps Chrome Superfractor 1/1 PSA 10 ($720,000)
Heritage Auctions

T-44. Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer PSA 10 ($720,000)
Goldin Auctions

T-44. Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures Stars and Stripes RPA PSA 10 ($720,000)

47. Pete Rose 1963 Topps Rookie Stars PSA 10 ($717,000)
Heritage Auctions

48. Babe Ruth 1916 M101-5 Blank Back Sporting News PSA 7 ($717,000)
Heritage Auctions

49. Hank Aaron 1954 Topps PSA 9 ($715,000)

50. LeBron James 2006-07 UD Ultimate Collection Logoman Autograph 1/1 BGS 9 ($707,250)

51. Eddie Plank 1909-11 T206 Sweet Caporal PSA 7 ($690,000)
Heritage Auctions

52. Patrick Mahomes 2017 Panini Prizm Gold Vinyl /5 PSA 10 ($676,500)

53. Lou Gehrig 1933 Goudey PSA 9 ($672,000)
Memory Lane Auctions

54. Babe Ruth 1917 Collins-McCarthy SGC 8 ($660,000)
Heritage Auctions

55. Nolan Ryan 1968 Topps Mets Rookie Stars PSA 10 ($612,359)
Heritage Auctions

56. Stephen Curry 2009-10 National Treasures “Century Gold” RPA 10/25 BGS 9.5/10 ($601,200)
Goldin Auctions

57. Joe Jackson 1910 Old Mill Series 8 PSA 3.5 ($600,000)
Heritage Auctions

58. Lou Gehrig 1933 Goudey PSA 9 ($576,000)
Heritage Auctions

59. Luka Doncic 2018-19 National Treasures RPA 83/99 PSA 10 ($570,000)
Goldin Auctions

60. 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #144 PSA Mint 9 ($528,000)
Heritage Auctions

61. Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors BGS 10 ($516,000)
Heritage Auctions

62. Ty Cobb 1915 Cracker Jack PSA 9 ($504,000)
Heritage Auctions

63. Lew Alcindor 1969 Topps PSA 10 ($501,900)
Heritage Auctions

64. LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome Black Refractor PSA 10 ($480,000)
Heritage Auctions

65. Joe Jackson 1914 Boston Garter SGC 70 EX+ 5.5 ($480,000)
Heritage Auctions

66. 1995 Pokémon Japanese Topsun No Number Blue Back Charizard PSA 10 ($480,000)

67. Willie Mays 1952 Topps PSA 9 ($478,000)
Heritage Auctions

68. 1999 Pokémon Base 1st Edition Holo Charizard #4 SGC 10 ($369,000)
Goldin Auctions

Culture Trading Cards

Pokemon Card Value: How Much Are Your Cards Worth?

The explosive recent rise in the Pokemon card value has opened the eyes of investors and former collectors looking to get back in the game. The original Pokemon base set (1999 1st Edition Shadowless) is the most collectible, with record breaking single card sales happening frequently across all of the auction houses.

“Every generation defines what is nostalgic to them,” says former Collectors Universe President Joe Orlando. “Pokémon started its rise in the U.S. during the late 1990s. Today, the young people who were playing the classic game then are now well into adulthood. As a result, the game has enjoyed a kind of rebirth in the hobby.”      

This list of 16 cards from the iconic original set breaks down the total population of each card graded by PSA, as well as their most recent sales to illustrate their current value.

What Makes a Pokemon Card Valuable?
Identify type and assess rarity

The first step to identify Pokemon card value is to check its type and rarity. In other words, how likely the card is to come across from any given booster pack or special event, and if it has any special characteristics, such as card material or Pokemon types.

There are a few indicators of rarity on any given card, though they’re quite subject to change depending on when said card was printed. A marker near the bottom of the card or near its name will indicate rarity: a circle means the card is common, a diamond means it’s less common, and stars mean it’s rare. More stars or with combinations of letters or symbols mean extra rare, including if those symbols are in the name or elsewhere on the card. Other characteristics that can up the rarity include: a higher printed number than there should be in a given printed set (e.g., 66/65); holographic artwork or reverse holographic, in which everything but the artwork is holographic; artwork that takes up the full card; artwork wherein the creature doesn’t cast a shadow; and any shining characteristics, not to be confused with holographic.

There are also special types of cards, like the aforementioned special events that sometimes award cards to tournament winners. For example, one of the most coveted cards, the Trophy Pikachu Trainer Card, was only given out to competition winners in Japan and is so rare that it is considered priceless due to the lack of sellers. And a Pikachu Illustrator card, awarded for a Pokemon award competition, allegedly sold for a cool $90,000 USD.

While rarity isn’t the only factor in appraising value, it’s certainly a major factor: Some of the highest-selling cards worth tens of thousands of dollars, or considered “priceless” from lack of supply, are only so because of small rarities like misprints or typos.

As for the more common cards that don’t match any of these characteristics, the consensus advice online is to sell those in bulk. Though the individual cards may only be worth a few dollars at most, a complete collection of them can likely fetch a little higher of a price. That’s not a terrible idea for someone wanting to get rid of a bunch of common cards and turn a profit.

How to Find Out Pokemon Card Value
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Taking your old cards out of the closet and researching to find their current value is the most common way people are getting back into Pokémon.

When trying to figure out your Pokemon card value, make sure to follow these steps:

Step 1. Find the year your Pokemon card was made
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Look at the bottom of the card and find the year it was printed. That’s the first key indicator when identifying your card.

For example, the Base Set Pokémon Cards have 4 different print runs while looking almost identical each time. Of those sets, the UK 4th Print Base Set identifies as 1999-2000, which is the key indicator to separate those cards from the rest. 

Step 2. Find the set the card belongs to
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

If there is no logo on the right side, it’s Base. Every other set has an indicator. 

When looking into what set a card belongs to, make sure to see if there is any logo on the right side, just underneath and to the right of the illustration. If there is no symbol, the likelihood is that it’s a Base set card.

There have been error cards that do not have a symbol, so make sure the year matches with the set.

Step 3. Identify the card with the name and number in the set

Finally, identify the card by looking up its name and card number on eBay.

The name will be located above the illustration of the card and the number is on the bottom right of the card. After checking all three of these steps, you should easily be able to identify every card, even if you don’t know exactly what set it is in.  

1. 1st Edition Base
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The 1st Edition base set is the grail set of the Pokemon world, with 1st Edition Charizard becoming a mainstream status symbol of sorts. The card has become so iconic that Logan Paul sported his on a necklace to the ring of his mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather.

With the recent sale of a PSA 10 Charizard at Heritage Auctions for $192,000, the market remains as hot as the fire he is breathing, even if it is down a bit from its peak.

The graded population on this set is low, and the demand is astronomical, making any sealed packs and boxes extremely valuable. The last confirmed sealed box auction ended at $408,000.00.

2. Shadowless Base Set
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These cards are identical to the 1st Edition cards, except they don’t have the 1st Edition Stamp. The Shadowless set is just as rare, or even more rare than the 1st Edition set.

Gem mint Charizards in the Shadowless set have a much lower population than the 1st Edition set, and the price hovers around $80,000.00. Also of note, Shadowless is the only other set with the Red Cheeks Pikachu Error card.

Finding sealed box of the Shadowless set is near impossible to guarantee unless you open a case, and open one of the boxes in a case. There is a chance you can pull 1st Edition cards in Shadowless boxes because they threw the extras in to those boxes, but you can not find 1st Edition Shadowless holos. These boxes can be confusing due to uncertainty, but a guaranteed Shadowless box is worth over $70,000.

3. Base Unlimited
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These boxes were mass produced in 1999. The Unlimited Set boxes are over $15,000. For perspective, these boxes were around $3,000 in 2019, and have 5x’d in value since. This set had 6-8 times the print runs compared to 1 print run each for 1st Edition and Shadowless.

Gem Mint Charizards in this set sell for around $8,500.00, so while they are down in value from their peak earlier in 2021, they are over 8x in the last 3 years, selling for just over $1000 at the start of 2019.

4. Jungle Set
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This is the second expansion set with 1st edition boxes selling for around $13,000. Each holographic card has a non-holo version. These boxes seem to be undervalued due to low graded populations and potential to pull rare error cards.

You can pull a 1st Edition Black Star Pikachu in these boxes, with a PSA 10 value of over $10,000, making it the ultimate Easter egg in the Pokemon space.

5. Fossil Set
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Fossil is the third expansion set. 1st Edition Boxes sell for over $10,700.00 currently. Fossil holograms, in my opinion, are edgier than the Jungle set. This set has gotten extremely hot in recent months.

Each holographic card has a non-holographic version. Dragonite and Gengar are two of the most valuable cards in this set, with PSA 10 prices hovering between $2000-4500.

6. Base Set 2
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Base Set 2 is a combination of the Base and Jungle sets. It is the fourth main expansion. You can pull up to 20 different holograms in a set of 130 different cards. Having the original Charizard artwork will always keep this set in demand. 

Sealed boxes of this set sell for over $8,000. PSA 10 Charizards are currently valued over $6,500.

7. Team Rocket
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Team Rocket is the 5th set and pays homage to the villains of Pokémon: Jesse, James & Meowth.

1st Edition Boxes currently sell for over $10,500. This is the first expansion set to have Charizard in it. Team Rocket is amongst the hottest Generation 1 set to collect. 

8. Gym Heroes
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The Gym Heroes set focuses on 1st four Gym Leaders: Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge & Erika. 1st Edition Boxes are currently valued at around $8,000.00.

The PSA 10 1st Edition Moltres from this set is currently valued over $800.

9. Gym Challenge
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Gym Challenge focuses on the final four gym leaders: Sabrina, Koga, Blaine & Giovanni. 1st Edition boxes are currently valued over $11,869.

The PSA 10 Charizard from this set is valued around $5,000. 

10. Promo Cards
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Pokémon had numerous promo cards: E3 promos, Black Star Promos and Prerelease promos. They were available at events, in magazines, by mail request and one was available with a VHS film. Due to scarcity, some have skyrocketed and the demand is increasing rapidly. 

You can read more about Black Star Promos in this article.

What Are My Pokemon 1st Edition Base Set Cards Worth?
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If you own any of the cards listed below, condition is the biggest factor in figuring out your Pokemon card value. The prices below illustrate what these cards are worth after grading in mint condition as PSA 9’s & 10’s.

Important to note: It is very unlikely that your cards will grade this high if they have been played with. If you have these cards laying around in less than mint condition, it still may be worth getting them graded as long as they are in pretty good shape. 

1. Squirtle First Edition $222 – $1225
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Squirtle is the first evolution of Blastoise and carries the 2nd most Pokemon card value of any of the big three pre-evolutions. Although grading has slowed down drastically, prices have dipped in the Pokemon market. That said, Squirtle is one of the essential characters of the show and is a must have for any collector.  Be sure to assemble your Squirtle-Squad by acquiring his English Rookie card.

PSA Pop: (10) 822 – (9) 1386

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $1225 PSA 9 $222

2. Charmander 1st Edition $300 – $979
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Charmander’s value has been all over the place in the last 12 months. After the 2020 summer of record sale after record sale, baby Zard’s value has taken a dip recently, but don’t be surprised if Charmander rebounds due to the power Charizard yields on the market. 

PSA Pop: (10) 652 – (9) 661

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $979 PSA 9 $300

3. Bulbasaur 1st Edition $258.80 – $1800
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One of the most popular Pokemon, Bulbasaur delivers long term. Previously third in the pecking order for PSA 9’s, Bulbasaur is currently higher than Squirtle and Charmander. With low populations, be sure to make Bulbasaur a top priority. 

PSA Pop: (10) 309 – (9) 814

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $1800 PSA 9 $258.80

4. Pikachu

Pikachu is the most well known Pokemon out there and considered to be a mascot of sorts. There are two versions of Pikachu in this set – with a red cheeked and a yellow cheeked variant. The red cheek is the more rare and valuable of the two, while both have similar population reports. Pikachu prices have dropped drastically, which is great for collectors looking to acquire the grail non holo. 

Pikachu Red Cheeks $565.55 – $4150
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PSA Pop: (10) 241 – (9) 864

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $4150 PSA 9 $565.55

Pikachu Yellow Cheeks $294.73 – $1478.23
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PSA Pop: (10) 460 – (9) 783

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $1478.23 PSA 9 $294.73

5. Onix 1st Edition $60 – $230.50
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Onix was introduced in the TV show as Brock’s main Pokemon when Battling Ash. The massive Rock Snake, Onix, is deserving of more attention due to this, and with card prices steadily climbing, Onix’s english Rookie card is a solid addition to any collection.

PSA Pop: (10) 511 – (9) 828

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $230.50 PSA 9 $60

6. Blastoise Holo 1st Edition $4150 – $31,334
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Blastoise is the final evolution of Squirtle. The 2nd most valuable card in the set, Blastoise is also the most powerful card in the game. When looking at the price difference between Charizard and Blastoise, and knowing they are both going to be 1 & 2 moving forward, Blastoise will be undervalued until investors decide the 2nd most valuable card is worth much more than 10-15% of the top card, while having a lower graded population.

PSA Pop: (10) 100 – (9) 622

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $31,334 PSA 9 $4150

7. Charizard Holo 1st Edition $20,000 – $192,000
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

This card is the pinnacle of Pokemon collecting. The 1st Edition Charizard has been setting massive records for close to a year. The rarest card in the set, Charizard is also the most graded hologram of any 1st Edition Shadowless holo. Even non-collectors know that the Charizard holo will make you the king of the playground, in any condition. 

PSA Pop: (10) 121 – (9) 704

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $192,000 PSA 9 $20,000

8. Venusaur Holo 1st Edition $2595.37 – $12,299
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Venusaur is the final evolution of Bulbasaur, and has consistently been the 3rd most valuable card in the set. When the prices rise again, Venusaur will be very difficult to obtain. This is a must have card for all Pokemon collectors.

PSA Pop: (10) 142 – (9) 603

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $12,299 PSA 9 $2595.37

9. Mewtwo Holo 1st Edition $1841 – $13,100
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Mewtwo is by far the most underrated hologram in the set. The most powerful original Pokemon, Mewtwo is also the smartest. Evolved from the Ancient Mew, Mewtwo was engineered in a lab. Mewtwo is currently the 4th most Valuable card in the set, which is a no brainer considering abilities and being the 1st major Poke-villain in the Pokemon Movie Mewtwo Strikes Back.

PSA Pop: 990 – (10) 81 – (9) 476

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $13,100 PSA 9 $2226

10. Lass $147.50 – $1690
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The first female Pokemon card, Lass, is also one of the rarest trainer cards to pull. On top of that, the graded population is very low. Lass has been in demand for years, with sales for PSA 10’s being tops of any trainer cards in the set for over 5 years. Lass is also a must have card for collectors. 

PSA Pop: (10) 111 – (9) 366

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $1690 PSA 9 $147.50

11. Raichu $982.41 – $9,577
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The evolution of Pikachu, Raichu is mighty undervalued. First introduced in the show as a top Pokemon for Lt. Surge, Raichu was dominant until Ash’s Pikachu had the last laugh. The only way for Raichu to evolve from Pikachu is with the Thunder Stone. Also, Raichu is capable of storing 100,000 plus volts of electricity.      

PSA Pop: (10) 88 – (9) 438

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $9577 PSA 9 $982.41

12. Chansey $1905 – $27,412
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Originally known as Lucky, Chansey is known for assisting nurse Joy in the Pokemon Centers in the show and video games. A very popular card amongst gamers, combined with issues during production, Chansey is one of the toughest cards to receive PSA 10 grades, with only 47 current examples.

PSA Pop: (10) 48 – (9) 417

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $27,412 PSA 9 $1905

13. Dugtrio $107.50 – $250
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The evolution of Diglett, Dugtrio is the triple headed angry Mole. Dugtrio is also one of the most valuable non holo cards in the set. With only 137 PSA 10 examples, Dugtrio is a relative bargain, considering it’s the rookie card to own. This mole Pokemon is capable of creating tunnels at 60 MPH, which sometimes can cause earthquakes.   

PSA Pop: (10) 155 – (9) 416

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $250 PSA 9 $107.50

14. Dratini $102.50 – $631
Jason Koeppel

This adorable dragon Pokemon is highly desirable in the card community, topping $4,000 in PSA 10 early in 2020. Although that was a hefty overpay given the current market, Dratini will rebound over time. Low population PSA 10 rookie cards will always rise over time. Dratini is the original form of Dragonair & later Dragonite.

PSA Pop: (10) 170 – (9) 561

Current Pokemon Card Value: PSA 10 $631 PSA 9 $102.50

15. Machamp $422 – $7500
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

This is where things get hairy. Although Machamp is finally being properly labeled, most listed as 1st Edition are really the Unlimited version. Make sure to check the font, year(s) listed on the card or just check out our Ultimate Pokemon Guide for more information.  

Also, check out where Machamp lands in our Most Powerful Pokemon.

1st Edition: PSA Pop: (10) 373 – (9) 4054

1st Edition Shadowless: PSA Pop: 181 – (10) 8 – (9) 191

Current Shadowless Value: PSA 10 $7500 PSA 9 $422

Pokemon Just Had Their 25th Anniversary!

February 27th, 2021 marked the 25th Anniversary of the launch of the Pokémon franchise. With that milestone in mind, Pokemon had major new releases including Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, which launched in late 2021, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which launched in early 2022. All three games are available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch™ system. 

New Pokemon Snap launched on April 30, 2021, also on Nintendo Switch, in which players act as Pokemon photographers in the Lental region, working with Professor Mirror on an ecological survey. These photos receive a score of one to four stars based on how rare the behavior displayed in the photo is. Players are able to share the photos with others around the world and compete through ranking systems.

What’s Ahead for Pokemon?
Pokemon / NetFlix

The current Pokémon sets available at your local stores are Sword & Shield Brilliant Stars and The Pokémon Go Set. The Brilliant stars set boasts top VStar Holos Arceus and Charizard. The Pokémon Go set has Radiant Charizard, Venusaur & Blastoise along with Dragonite VStar and Mewtwo VStar.  

Coming mid September is Pokémon Sword & Shield – Lost Origin. The Pokémon Center Elite trainer boxes contain 10 booster packs plus 10 booster packs, 65 card sleeves with Giratina on the back, 45 energy cards, players guide, dice and more. The top pulls are VSTAR Giratina & Aerodactyl.

The next Trading card set to be released is Sword & Shield – Silver Tempest. The Elite trainer boxes will be available in mid-November for around $50.00. You will able to pull VStar holograms such as Lugia, Alolan Vulpix and many more. Each Trainer Box comes with 10 booster packs, 130 card sleeves with Lugia or Alolan Vulpix on the back, 45 energy cards, players guide, dice and much more. 

For the avid gamer, Pokémon Scarlett & Violet hits shelves on November 18th, 2022. Both games are available on Nintendo Switch for $60 each.  

There is also a new Netflix show coming out on September 23rd, Pokémon: The Arceus Chronicles. It is set to premier at the 2022 Pokemon World Championships in London, and will be available to stream shortly afterwards.

Culture Trading Cards

Your Ultimate Guide to Selling and Investing in Sports and Trading Cards

This guide to investing and selling trading cards was written by Gary Vaynerchuk, Jason Koeppel, Raghav Haran, Tyler Schmitt, and Lou Geneux.

So… you’re thinking about investing in sports and trading cards. This guide will cover everything you need to know to get started – from figuring out what your old cards are worth to finding what new cards to buy, and more.

Also be sure to bookmark this post and listen to the Card Talk podcast for more tips and tricks on the go.

Why Invest in Sports Cards?

Sports card prices have spiked in recent years for a few reasons:

  • Kids who flipped sneakers are getting into the game. The big difference with sports cards is that people can get them in much higher volume than they can with sneakers – with sneakers you might only be able to get one pair online, but with sports cards, you can get as many as your budget allows.
  • Nostalgia is a huge driver. Men and women from the 80s who grew up with sports cards now have young kids and love seeing their kids get into the same hobbies they loved. You see toys like GI Joe “reboot” every 30 years or so for the same reason.
  • Buying sports card packs also ties into the rise of sports betting – buying a pack of cards and hoping you pull out a $50,000 card is similar to the excitement of betting on games. 

It all creates a perfect storm for cards to rise in value today. 

The other more fascinating element, especially for you as you’re reading this article, is the concept of trading cards being the current generation’s “art.” 

As attitudes and values shift, a lot of people are into displaying – say – a Michael Jordan rookie card in their house that they can show to their friends instead of a Jackson Pollock painting. It’s like how Justin Bieber showed off his insane Pokemon card collection hanging on his wall. 

Similarly, the scarcity and supply-and-demand elements of certain sports cards makes them an interesting long term investment that could increase in value – similar to something like fine art. 

Here’s how closely fine art has tracked the stock market over time: 

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And here’s how the trading card market compares to the stock market over a 10-year period (according to PWCC).

Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

Not to say that trading cards will always go up or that they’ll always beat the stock market—but it’s an interesting conversation to have, especially for those who can afford a small, fun, alternative investment. 

Being successful with sports card investing is all about education. Unfortunately, many people will get caught up in FOMO, gambling-like behavior, or buy in areas where they’re not educated – and that’s where they’ll lose over time. Education comes in the form of figuring out what sports to invest in, what players to buy, understanding the supply of the card you’re buying, and more. 

In this guide, we’ll break down the specifics of everything you need to know when it comes to trading cards, such as:

  • Setting goals
  • Different card buying strategies
  • Card values
  • Rookie cards
  • Types of cards to collect
  • What to know about card grading
  • The 4 most popular grading companies
  • Card value variables
  • Considering options outside of sports
  • Places to buy
  • How to sell
  • Research tools
  • Future of the hobby
  • Risks involved
Set your goals
1. Set a budget

Without a budget, it’s easy to spend a lot more than you’re comfortable with! Before you get started, make sure to set a budget for the amount that you’re willing to spend on cards. 

2. Decide your financial goals with the hobby

What are you looking to accomplish, financially? Are you just looking to collect, or are you looking for a return? 

Different financial goals might require different strategies. If you have some cash and you’re looking for a long term investment, you’ll have a different strategy than if you’re looking to make money in the next few months, for example.

Understand different card buying strategies
1. Long term investing

Cards that are long term investments require a different thought process and strategy than cards that are short term investments. 

If you’re looking for long term growth (and less risk), you should be thinking generationally. When you’re thinking generationally, you’re not focused on a player having a good game today or tomorrow, you’re focused on accumulating cards of generational icons like Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle and Tom Brady. You’ll be thinking more along the lines of what players will have the best legacies, as opposed to the short term implications of one game or even one season. 

These cards generally cost more, but also typically carry less risk.

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2. Flipping

Flipping is for people who want to buy a card for a lower price today and flip it in a few days or weeks or months – or some would even consider a year short term – based on a player’s future performance or overall value.

If you’re going to flip and try to make short term money, you need to have a deep understanding of the game and the sport you’re trading in while also understanding the inherent risks. Don’t forget, at one point Derrick Rose was an MVP and the face of the NBA.  

For example, if you don’t really know basketball outside of LeBron James, Michael Jordan, or Kobe Bryant, you should not be thinking about flipping cards in the short term. If you do know the sport, you can start to think about which players’ cards are based on the current status of where they’re at. Which prospects could have an incredible game and surprise everyone? Which teams could go deep into the playoffs? Are there any incredible players right now that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve because they’re on a bad team? What if they get traded to a better team over the course of their career and get more awareness as a result of that? How fast can you move if something changes? 

We’ll cover some of these different variables later in this post, but those are just some of the things to be thinking about. If you don’t know a sport deeply enough to be able to form opinions or hypotheses about those questions, then you probably shouldn’t be flipping yet. GET EDUCATED FIRST!

3. Collecting

Let’s not forget that sports cards are a hobby! 

That means a number of people should be into this just for that purpose. If you want to collect cards of a certain player because you like that player, then that’s amazing. Just enjoying collecting makes investing and flipping more fun too, if you go down those routes.​​​

4. Sports betting & gambling

If you’re into sports betting, flipping sports cards could be another potentially lower-risk way of playing. If you’re betting on the New Orleans Pelicans winning a game, or Zion Williamson scoring more than X amount of points in a game, then sports cards might be a safer angle to go (since you won’t necessarily lose all your money if it doesn’t work out). Or if you’re betting on someone to win Rookie of the Year, buying their card and flipping it after they win would be another way to do it. 

If you can bet on a game, you can bet on a player as well in the same form or fashion by buying up their cards.

How to find the value of your cards

A lot of people are getting back into the hobby by first researching and figuring out the value of their old cards in their closet from when they were younger. If you have a card that you’re trying to find the value of, make sure you have the following info: 

Step 1. Find the year of the card. You can find this by checking the copyright date or the final year of the stats that are included. 

Step 2. Find the card company name.

Step 3. Find the player’s name. 

Step 4. Find the card number.

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For example, in the case of this Michael Jordan card: The date is 1986, the card company is Fleer, and the card number is 57/132 (this means that there were 132 cards in the set this card was in, this is the 57th card). 

Step 5: Head to eBay

You can enter all of those things into eBay, and scroll down and hit “sold items.” Make sure “completed items” is unchecked.

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From there, you can see all the sold listings for that card and get a feel for how much it’s going for. You’ll see a variety of listings – some cards will be “raw”, some will be “graded”, and others will be similar cards from different years or sets. 

You’ll learn all the terminology later in this guide, but this is a great starting point! 

After you go through your existing cards and see what you have, you can start the process of exploring new players that you’re interested in. You can explore new cards and get a feel for the market – starting with that player’s “rookie card.”

Figuring out what player’s card to buy: Starting with the rookie card

First, go to a site like eBay, and start by picking a player you like. Let’s say you like Ja Morant. Type in “Ja Morant rookie.”

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We’ll talk about this more later, but the most desirable version of a player’s card is typically their rookie card. The rookie card is the first version of their card to be printed. If you don’t know what set their rookie card is from, a good way of figuring it out is by typing in “[player name] rookie” and seeing what comes up. 

Once you type it in and press enter, look at what graded cards come up. Graded cards are cards that are enclosed in a case like this one and given a rating from 1-10 (which reflects the card’s condition) by a grading company.

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Here’s some context on what the different words on the case mean:

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In Ja Morant’s case, a good chunk of the graded card listings were 2019 Panini Prizm – which indicates that that’s his main rookie card. “Panini Prizm” or “Topps Chrome” will typically be the main rookie card sets for some of the more recent players. Panini acquired the exclusive NBA license for trading cards in the 2009 – 2010 season. 

For LeBron James, his rookie card is the 2003 Topps Chrome. For Giannis Antetokounpo, his rookie card is from the 2013 Panini Prizm Basketball set. 

From there, we can start searching for recent prices and sold listings. Type in “2019 Panini Prizm Ja Morant PSA” into eBay, and click on the “sold” listings on the left-hand side filter:

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That search term will give you a list of all rookie cards that have been graded by PSA (which usually hold the most value).  

You can scroll through and start to get a sense for what the prices are, and what you can expect to pay. The rookie card is usually the most desirable and will usually be the first card to go up in value in correlation with the performance & future outlook on the player, if that fits within your budget. The general rule of thumb is to take the average of the last five sales, and consider that as a fair price to pay. One thing to note, is that when selling on ebay or stockX, there is a ~13% fee for the seller. This means when purchasing from a human off platform, prices could be anywhere from 10-15% less than comparison on an online marketplace. 

From there, you can consider the other variables that play into whether the card is a good short or long term investment – things like what team the player is on, the grade of the card, the population report, the cultural awareness around the player, the artwork on the card, and more. 

In the rest of this post, we’ll cover the different aspects of card collecting, and the different variables that can affect a card’s value.

Types of Sports Cards you can collect
1. Rookie cards

A player’s rookie card holds more value than their other cards, historically. The reason is because it can’t be manipulated – even as new product is released, the rookie card remains the rookie card. People in the hobby typically want to get the first card that was ever printed of that player, which happens to be the rookie card. 

At the time of writing this article, the LeBron James Topps Chrome rookie card is selling for around $8000-10,000 in PSA 10 (we’ll talk more about PSA grading later in this post).

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LeBron’s 2006-2007 Topps Chrome card on the other hand, is selling for around $400-500. It’s not the rookie card, so it’s not as highly desired. But keep in mind that LeBron is one of the greatest therefore you see other cards going up. 

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That being said, as the rookie card of a player gets too pricey, people begin to collect other cards of that player, such as second-year cards or first-year cards with a specific team. For example, LeBron’s first Prizm card sells for about $500 now. 

2. Inserts

Card companies put inserts into packs to spread out the regular cards. Inserts are typically more artistic, or hold a different kind of design from the rest of the cards in the set. For example, Panini did a fun design with Zion as a superhero for one of their inserts.

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Inserts have started to hold more value over time as of late. As people start to look for different ways to invest in cards, there are lower populations of inserts. 

Zion’s 2019 Panini Prizm rookie card has 20,949 PSA 10s right now – an insert of his would definitely be printed less, which means that the inserts might be more valuable depending on what it is and what it signifies.

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You can find inserts on eBay by searching something like “Dwyane Wade PSA” and looking for cards that seem a little “off the beaten path.” From there, enter the set that card is from into the “PSA Pop Report” tab to find the supply of the card. 

Check out the “population report” section below for more on this.

3. Complete sets

Hardcore collectors love the “chase” of trying to assemble complete sets – they love the challenge of trying to get every card in – say – the 2019 Panini Prizm Basketball set.

It can be fun as a hobby, but a full set doesn’t necessarily sell for more than individual cards by themselves.

4. Boxes

There are different types of card boxes you can find. There are retail boxes that you can find in stores like Target. There are also what’s called “hobby boxes” and “jumbo hobby boxes” – those are the ones that have autographed cards in them, guaranteed. 

You can approach this in a couple of ways: 

For one, you could buy the boxes, keep them sealed, and hold onto them as they rise in value. Sealed boxes typically hold the most value because you don’t know what’s inside – it gives people a “thrill of the hunt” and a sense of excitement as they buy the box and open up. The value of sealed boxes really depends on the type of boxes you’re buying – like this 1986 Fleer Basketball Box for example sells for a ton of money because people could potentially pull a Michael Jordan rookie card out of it (among others).

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You could also just open up the packs for fun as soon as you buy them from the store, in hopes that there’s a valuable card inside. This ties in a bit more to the gambling or sports betting aspects, but it can be a ton of fun, especially if you really enjoy collecting.

5. Unopened packs

Boxes are made up of a number of individual card packs, which can be sold by themselves too. 

Packs can also go for a lot of money, depending on the set they’re from.

6. Autographs

Autographed cards are printed less than regular cards because the card company has to pay to get player autographs – and the more popular the player is, the more expensive the autograph is. 

The supply of autographed cards are typically a small fraction of the total number of rookie cards a player has.

7. Jersey patch cards

There are some cards that come out with a patch of a player’s jersey on it. 

Just because a card is a patch card doesn’t necessarily make it the most valuable thing – the most valuable patch cards are typically game-used jerseys (as opposed to event-used jerseys). The game-used jersey patches are usually reserved for premium products, like Panini National Treasures basketball sets.

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To find jersey patch cards, you can search things like “[player name] patch”, “[player name] RPA” (which means rookie patch auto), or “[player name] rpa psa” (which will give you graded cards). Rookie patch auto cards are autographed cards with a jersey patch from the player’s rookie season. 

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From there, you can take into account all the other variables – things like population reports (more details below), your general intuition about the player, recent sale prices, amount of recent sales, and more.

8. Error cards

Error cards are cards that have some kind of misprint on them, which can be valuable. They don’t happen as much anymore because there’s usually much more quality control these days when it comes to that, but with vintage sets, you can find some error cards with wrong names or images. 

They’re definitely flippable, but it doesn’t happen as often with newer stuff.

What to know about sports card grading

Grading companies evaluate the condition of the card and assign a grade from 1-10 based on that condition – with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest). Below are the four major grading companies. For more detailed information on grading, check out this article.

The Grading Companies
1. PSA
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PSA is currently the top grading company in the hobby. PSA was recently purchased for $700 million dollars by a group of investors including entrepreneur and collector Nat Turner and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen.

Outside of the BGS Black Label 10 (more on that below), PSA 10s will almost always increase the value of your card more than any other grading company. Their recognizable red and white labels are simply the slabs that the industry wants, and after working their way through an astronomical backlog of cards, they seem to be back to churning out huge numbers monthly.

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2. BGS (Beckett)

BGS (Beckett Grading Services) is probably the next biggest, but they grade on a bit of a different scale than PSA. A BGS 9.5 is considered Gem Mint by their standards, as they include “sub-grades”, which are grades for each aspect of the grading process.

BGS black labels cards that earn a 10/10 on centering, edges, corners, and surface quality are the toughest grade to achieve, but if you do end up with one it will very likely command a hefty premium over a PSA 10.

3. SGC

SGC has really come on strong in the hobby over the last two years, with relatively inexpensive pricing (about $25/card) and fast turnaround (less than a month) at their basic level.

Their “tuxedo slabs” are unique in comparison to the other grading companies as they have a black background inserted which really make the colors of the cards pop.

4. CSG

CSG is an interesting company to look out for. Their slabs are crystal clear and they recently updated their labels after facing some backlash over the look of their previous clunky green ones. They are relatively new to card grading, but are the biggest names in the comic book and coin grading space.

One of the biggest reasons for optimism with CSG is the fact that Michael Rubin, the founder and executive chairman of Fanatics, is an investor in the company.

Which grading company should I use?
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Newer companies such as HGA and ISA offer their own approach to sports and trading card grading, but sticking with one of the top four will likely return you the most value.

If you’re a newer investor or collector getting into graded cards, start with PSA for your more valuable cards (worth $1000 or more), then look into BGS. For cards that are under $1000, SGC is certainly a very attractive option. 

The “premier” grading company might be something that changes over time. A different brand might be “number 1”, meaning their graded cards might be more desired in the future compared to a PSA graded card. 

That’s something to think about especially if you’re really in this for the long haul. But for now, graded cards are the absolute currency of the industry on the premium end.

Variables that can affect a card’s value
1. Modern vs vintage

Cards of current players like Luka Doncic or Patrick Mahomes could go up and down based on injuries, how well they play, and a number of other factors.  

On the other hand, the argument for buying modern cards is that new people entering the hobby are more excited about – say – Giannis than they are about someone like Julius Erving. There could also be more opportunity for short term gains with modern cards, since a lot of the recent excitement around the hobby is based around current players.

Some people feel that vintage cards are a better investment compared to modern cards because there are less variables. Meaning, players like Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have been cemented as icons of basketball, so their price might not fluctuate as much in the day-to-day. The supply of those cards also won’t rise as demand goes up, so some people view them as a safer investment. 

2. Supply of the card (Population reports)

The number of cards in circulation can affect the value in a big way. Supply & Demand is a tried and true principle and is at the core of this hobby!

You can check population reports for PSA-graded cards on their website

Just enter the set your card is in… 

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And you can find the population of all cards within that set. For example, Ja Morant’s main card within that set currently has 20,047 PSA 10’s in circulation. 

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Zion Williamson’s 2019 Prizm PSA 10 also has a population over 20,000.

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You can also search by player name, and get a list of all the cards they have in circulation, along with the population numbers of those cards. 

Just because a card is lower in supply doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s more valuable. There are a lot of other factors to consider too – like the overall awareness around that player, the team they’re on, future potential, and more. Ask yourself, is the card low in supply because it’s truly rare? Or because it’s irrelevant and so no one’s sent it in for grading? 

Population reports are one important tool you can use to compare cards and find the rarest cards of a player you like.

3. Buying raw vs graded

You can buy cards that are graded by companies like PSA or Beckett, or you can buy cards “raw.” Meaning, cards that haven’t been submitted to a grading company. 

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The barrier to entry is often lower for raw cards because of the lower price. Since they haven’t been officially graded for quality, they don’t carry as much of a premium. 

Raw cards are generally better for beginners who are just getting into the hobby because they allow more room for mistakes and for learning. You could spend $100 and get – say – seven raw cards, or spend $100 and get maybe one PSA-graded card. There’s more room for error with the seven. 

Early on, it can be safer to start with raw cards, then move into graded cards as you learn the nuances.

4. Surface, corners, edges, creases, and centering

When a grading company grades cards, they pay attention to the surface, corners, edges, creases, and centering of the card. 

Does the surface have any scratches? Are the corners and edges frayed? Does the card have any creases? How well is the player centered on the card?  

Grading is a subjective process with a human element to it. People at these companies will grade cards based on the condition, and these are some of the things they look for. 

Assessing a card’s condition is a deep skill that takes time to develop, but if you’re buying raw cards and sending them into a grading company to get them graded, or digging cards out of your closet to get them graded, these are some of the factors you can look at.  

5. The card company

There are different companies that create cards – you’ll hear of these names as you get into the hobby. 

Panini is the company that predominantly is known for basketball and football cards, the reason being that they currently hold the licenses with the professional leagues to distribute player cards with team logos. 

Topps currently holds the licenses for baseball cards. The MLB player’s association has a deal with Panini which allows Panini to print baseball cards with player names (but not team logos), but Topps has the full deal where they’re able to print both player names and team logos. For that reason, Topps baseball cards hold more value. 

Upper deck holds licenses for hockey.

Recently, Fanatics purchased the licenses for the NBA, NBAPA, MLB, MLBPA and NFLPA, as well as the Topps brand in a major shift in the collectibles market. This consolidation means that Fanatics will also produce Formula 1, MLS, UEFA, and Bundesliga cards in the near future, as well as WWE.

6. Cultural relevance of the athlete

Cultural relevance plays an important role in overall demand because it shows how much awareness people have about the player. 

For example, with all the things that LeBron James does off the court, what does that mean for his cards? Which players – like Shaq, Dwyane Wade, or Charles Barkley – will stay culturally relevant even after they retire? 

The player’s life off the field or off the court could potentially also play a role in whether they make a good long term investment – even after they leave the game.

7. Player performance in a game

Player performance can play a role in the short term fluctuations of their card’s value. This is more relevant for flippers than long term investors, but the dynamics are similar to sports betting. If a player has an incredible game or series of games, their card price will probably go up.​​​​​

8. Your negotiation tactics

Negotiation is part of the hobby! 

It’s something people do a lot at card shows, but also something you can do on sites like eBay when you’re buying. 

You can look for listings that “accept offers”, and message the buyer with a price you think is reasonable based off of recent sales.

Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

Because information on recent sales is so readily available, there’s typically not a ton of flexibility on recent prices. The wiggle room comes when you buy from a particular seller more than once – if you’re a repeat buyer or you buy multiple cards from one person, you can ask for lower prices. Also, put yourself into the seller’s shoes, why not list at a higher price point than the market at the chance lazy buyers are perusing the market and willing to pay over market value in exchange for the time saved from doing the research? If there is an option to make a “best offer” or “OBO”, do so! But don’t be upset if while you’re waiting for a response, someone comes along and buys at full price.

9. Retirements and Hall of fame potential

Getting into the Hall of Fame is one variable that can really spike a card’s value. For example, Vince Carter’s rookie card saw a lot of demand as he became eligible for the Hall of Fame.   

10. The player’s team: Major markets

The team the player’s on matters. Major markets overall tend to hold more value than smaller markets. When a player wins with the Yankees, Lakers, or Celtics, it can hold more weight. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t excel as an individual athlete – for example, the Anaheim Angels aren’t necessarily the hottest team, but Mike Trout is “the guy” in baseball. It’s just something to take into consideration.

11. The player’s team: Smaller markets

Small market teams can hold less weight than larger markets, but like it was mentioned before, just because a player isn’t on the Celtics or Lakers or Yankees doesn’t mean their card isn’t valuable. 

For example, Zion Williamson is in New Orleans, but if he ever gets traded to a major market team, that might spike the price of his card. That’s one way to use this data.

12. Player career path and potential

One of the most fun parts about the hobby is seeing whether you’re “right” about a player or not. 

When you’re buying modern cards – especially new rookies – evaluating a player’s talent is a huge variable. Who’s going to be a huge talent? Who’s already a talent, but hasn’t gotten the chance to really shine? Who’s talented, but on a small market team? What if they get traded somewhere else? 

This goes back to deeply knowing the sport you’re trading in – if you can’t answer those questions, then you probably won’t be able to make educated decisions on current players.

13. The player’s league

The league the player plays in makes a difference too. 

Basketball is a major sport and also has a fanbase in countries like China and around the world. That can influence the demand for basketball cards. 

Football is extremely popular in America and has a loyal fanbase. The stats show that 75 of the top 100 TV broadcasts in 2021 were football. It’s the biggest sport in America and will have an audience. 

Baseball is the oldest sport out of the group and was the sport that truly popularized sports cards. They’re the foundation of the hobby. 

Hockey isn’t as massive in terms of popularity, but the NHL fanbase is extremely loyal and excited about the sport which could sustain demand. Same with baseball, wrestling, and the UFC. 

Soccer has a huge international audience. And with the explosion of the Premier League and the TV rights deal they’ve done with NBC, and the fact that the schedule over the next two years will be jam packed due to COVID-19 match delays, there could be a lot more awareness around it. International soccer which always dominates TV. Also, the 2026 World Cup will be played in the United States, and that could make a difference in the overall awareness around the sport.

14. Nostalgic elements

Nostalgia’s a powerful driver of human behavior and is something that carries weight in the world of collectibles. 

This is especially true for areas like Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh cards that hold a lot of sentimental value for people – people often want to collect the cards that they played with as kids. It’s true for sports cards too, and a big argument as to why vintage players hold a lot of value. 

Older people might have grown up watching Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing. Those players hold a place in a lot of people’s childhoods, which can make them more collectible and influence their card’s value. 

Consider your options outside of sports

With sports cards rising so much in value, there’s been a lot of awareness brought to the world of trading cards and collectibles as a whole. Things like Pokemon cards, Magic the Gathering cards, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and more have been really rising in value in a big way over the past 1-2 years. 

Check out this blog post from PSA on the collectability of Pokemon – sets of some of the most valuable cards have been appraised at $300,000+, including this specific Charizard card which recently sold by itself for $420,000.

Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

There are plenty of options outside of sports if you’re more passionate about another trading card game you played as a kid!

The Best Channels to Buy Sports Cards
1. eBay

eBay is the most well-known place to buy and sell cards. It can also be a quick tool you can use to see what a card is selling for. 

2. Facebook groups and Instagram

There are a number of sellers who post their cards on Facebook groups or directly on Instagram for sale. It’s another place to find deals, and an opportunity to build a closer relationship with a seller (or buyer) who you can go back to over and over again. As those relationships are formed, it’s easier to get deals.

3. COMC is another place you can buy trading cards. It’s built more for collectors who are trying to collect full sets. 

4. Card shows

Card shows still happen across the country, the biggest one being the National Sports Collectors Convention. It’s an opportunity to have a ton of fun, potentially relive some childhood memories, and buy direct from sellers at their booths. 

5. Whatnot

Whatnot is a community marketplace where and shop owners and “breakers” can go live and collectors can buy single cards or participate in a box break.

It has gained massive popularity in the hobby of late, making the selling and shopping process much more seamless than Instagram and Facebook live.

The Future of Sports Cards

As demand for cards increases, the natural reaction of card companies will be to increase the amount of supply in future sets. It’s part of what caused the junk wax era – as card companies tripled the amount of printing, supply outpaced demand and the cards from that era just weren’t as valuable. 

It makes sense – card companies like Panini and Topps are trying to get more sales. If there’s more demand, they’ll increase production to match it. 

The only way to combat that is being smart about how you’re buying cards. Like we mentioned earlier, you can check PSA population reports to see how many of a certain card are in circulation and think about whether the market demand outpaces the supply. 

Markets go up, and markets go down. 

There’s a good argument to be made that certain sports cards and Pokemon cards will continue to rise in value over the long term (especially the icons), but like with everything, it’s important to recognize that there are macroeconomic factors that can affect the card market. 

Collectibles aren’t a “top need” for most, so in recessions, liquidity could dry up and we could see a decline in card value. That’s why it’s so important to set a budget – define how much you’re comfortable spending and treat it like any other investment (i.e. don’t overexpose yourself and diversify).


One risk of sports card investing is that athletes get hurt. 

For example, if you were obsessed with Derrick Rose and put a ton of money into his rookie cards at the height of his career, that wouldn’t have been a good outcome given what happened to him with injuries.

There are some sports where athletes might be more at risk than others (like football) but there’s not really any sure way to predict this. It’s one of the risks that come with the territory.    

Just like there’s fake art, there are fake cards, too. 

You can educate yourself on how to tell whether a card is real or fake, and also lean more towards buying graded cards over time. Taking into account the seller’s reviews and feedback can also help. 

“Shilling” is when sellers put in a fake, massively high bid on a card just so they can sell it at a higher price. If a card has a few sales where it “sold” for a much higher price than what you think it’s worth, it could be manipulation. Don’t forget, trading cards, just like sneakersm fine art, modern art, or any other collectible is an unregulated market and there is bound to be manipulation. 

If you’re not transacting through a reputed website or trading card marketplace, PayPal goods and services can be a reliable way to send money to sellers or collect money from buyers. 

It offers protection to both buyers and sellers to make sure that the transaction gets carried out properly. You can use this if you’re buying cards through places like Instagram or Facebook groups. 

If you think about buying cards as a business, the same rules apply as any other investment! 

By diversifying you can make sure that you’re not overexposed to any sport or player. Consider collecting different sets, different players, different leagues (if you really know multiple sports), different rookie cards, different grading card companies, etc based on where you think the risks are in your portfolio.

Research tools

Hope you found this guide helpful as you’re getting started – happy trading, and hit us up @ONE37pm on Twitter!!

Culture Trading Cards

How to Sell Pokemon Cards: Your Ultimate Guide

Looking to invest short and long term with some of the safest cards on the planet? Pokémon cards have been on a blistering pace over the last five years, with unbelievable growth and what appears to still be plenty of meat left on the bone. The facts might have you on eBay in a matter of minutes. With prices shooting to the stratosphere, are you curious to see what your old cards collecting dust might be worth?

This Ultimate Pokémon Guide is your compass to buying and selling vintage Pokémon cards today and for the future.  

For more information on what Pokemon Cards are worth you can read our Pokemon Card Value and Price Guide.

(Note: all values listed are valid as of date of publication)

Why Invest in Pokémon?
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Pokémon cards are the premier non-sports cards to invest in today. The original 1999-2000 sets have been on an upward trajectory for over 5 years, with 2020 being the mega increase, thus creating a cultural demand similar to the 1999 release. 

  • Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise ever. Recently the company hit $105 Billion. 
  • The Most Valuable English card, 1st Edition Charizard in PSA 10 Gem Mint has soared from $50,000.00 in July 2020 to a then record-breaking purchase by the rapper Logic for $225,000.00. That record was topped in March of 2022 at PWCC Auctions with a final sale price of $420,000.
  • Pokémon Trading Card sales have topped $10.25 Billion. 
  • The buying demographic is between ages 24-36. This group will continue to make more money annually and have a higher spending threshold. The next 20 years should be meteoric. 
  • Starting in March 2020, prices surged – in part due to the pandemic. Being stuck home caused a major demand in collecting and opening original sealed packs. Pokémon Cards exploded, just as the sports card market did as well. 
  • Grading companies became overloaded, unable to meet the demand in a timely fashion causing graded cards on the market to surge. The trajectory from January 2020 was for cards to double in price over the year, not quadruple. 
  • Original Pikachu cards increased up to and beyond 1,000% in that time period. The most famous Pokémon has become the new go to character for collectors. 
  • Japanese Pokémon cards are 24 years old. With the 25th anniversary last year, the original cards continued to surge before pulling back a bit.  
  • A 1st Edition Box sold for $432,000.00 at PWCC Premier Auction in N0vember of 2021, breaking the $408,000 record previously set at Heritage Auctions just a few months earlier. There are also reports of one of these boxes selling for as high as $450,000 in a private sale on Instagram.

High-End Pokémon cards are being viewed as modern art, with the price tag for a pristine 1st Edition Base Charizard currently at $433,000.00 and climbing if you can get one. Due to correlations to Magic the Gathering, the prices today could increase steadily over the next 5 years. Outside of the economy crashing, Pokémon would seem to be a safe play. 

Demand for original cards has consistently increased since 2010, but due to awareness, and points mentioned previously, there has been a fearlessness from buyers to set records. All year, record sale after record sale for high-end Pokémon Cards. The fear of missing out on today’s price is real.

Set Your Goals
  1. Budget 

It’s imperative that you set a budget and know when to stop buying. Winning auctions can be addicting and it’s easy to go overboard fast. Monitor recent sales. Know how much you’re willing to spend to acquire the desired card.  

  1. Decide your financial goals with the hobby

Why are you getting in? Are you an enthusiast who wants to collect for long-term profits or are you trying to make money fast?  

There are many routes you can go when investing in Pokémon Cards and there is a quality card for every budget. Starting out at $10 card purchases works in the long term. Buying the rarest cards under $20,000.00 for a quick profit has been a major play in 2020. 

Understand Different Card Buying Strategies
  1. Long Term Investing

With 1999-2000 Pokémon cards, the long term investing would be towards Mint raw cards and Near Mint graded cards. Graded cards have been on a blistering pace the last 12 months. Lower grades of the most expensive cards or PSA 8 and up for the rest of the 1999-2000 cards are great long-term investments.   

  1. Flipping

Flippers will buy a card with the goal to make a profit on it ASAP. Education is what sets the flipper from the casual collector. They know the sales, population reports and what cards are coveted by monitoring the market. If a card takes off, flippers often look to capitalize. If you only know the main Pokémon characters and not much else about the cards, flipping is probably not for you. You have to study sets, know errors, sales, population reports and have a deep understanding of why cards/sets get hot. All of this is covered here. 

  1. Collecting

Pokémon cards are all about collecting. Gotta Catch Em All is the slogan and for good reason: children aimed to have every card. In 1999, having a binder with complete sets was a major deal. Set collecting isn’t much different now, with gem mint and lower graded complete sets becoming all the rage once again. Pokémon battling and collecting were the essence, but today collecting dominates. One of the phenomenons with Pokémon cards is the overwhelming nostalgia and lack of willing sellers due to attachment to the cards. Many collectors value their cards well beyond the current prices and it’s shown with a limited supply of high-grade 1st Ed Base holograms available. Being out-priced is becoming more apparent and some collectors are flipping cards to finish sets and upgrade. 

How To Find the Value of Your Cards
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Taking your old cards out of the closet and researching to find their current value is the most common way people are getting back into Pokémon. When trying to figure out a card’s value, make sure to follow these steps:

Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Step 1. Find the year of the card. Check the bottom year(s) of the card.

Step 2. Find the set the card belongs to. If there is no logo on the right side, it’s Base. Every other set has an indicator. 

Step 3. Identify the card with the name and number in the set. 

Figuring Out What Pokémon Card To Buy
1st Edition Base 
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  • The grail set, Charizard is on fire with a recent sale topping $420,000.00.
  • The graded population on this set is low, and the demand has become astronomical.
  • The record sale price of a sealed box in an auction went for $432,000.00.  
Shadowless Base Set
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  • Identical to the 1st Edition cards except they don’t have the 1st Edition Stamp. 
  • The Shadowless set is just as rare / more rare than the 1st Edition set.
  • Gem Mint Charizard has a much lower population and the price hovers around $90,000.00. 
  • Shadowless is the only other set with the Red Cheek Pikachu error card.
Base Unlimited
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  • The Unlimited set boxes are currently selling for just over $14,000.00.
  • Gem Mint Charizard is around $9900.00.
  • This set had 6-8 times the print runs compared to 1 print run each for 1st Edition and Shadowless.
Jungle Set
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  • 2nd Expansion set
  • 1st Edition Boxes worth over $14,000.00
  • Each holographic card has a non-holographic version
  • Only expansion set where every holographic card has a no symbol version.
Fossil Set
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  • 3rd Expansion Set
  • 1st Edition Boxes currently sell for around $12,000.00
  • Each holographic card has a non-holographic version.
Base Set 2
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  • Combination of Base & Jungle sets.
  • Boxes currently sell for around $7,000.00
  • PSA 10 Charizard is valued at around $10,000.00
  • Having the original Charizard artwork will always keep this set in demand. 
Team Rocket
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  • The 5th set, Team Rocket pays homage to the villains of Pokémon: Jesse, James & Meowth.
  • 1st Edition Boxes are currently valued at around $10,000.00
  • 1st Expansion set to have Charizard
  • After Base Set, Team Rocket is arguably the hottest Gen. 1 set to collect.
Gym Heroes
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  • Focuses on 1st 4 Gym Leaders: Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge & Erika
  • 1st Edition Boxes are valued at around $12,000.00
  • PSA 10 1st Edition Moltres is worth $1,500.00
Gym Challenge
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  • Focuses on Final 4 Gym Leaders: Sabrina, Koga, Blaine & Giovanni
  • 1st Edition Boxes are valued at around $10,000.00 
  • PSA 10 Charizard is worth $5,500.00 
Promo Cards
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Pokémon had numerous promo cards: E3 promos, Black Star Promos and Prerelease promos. They were available at events, in magazines, by mail request and one was available with a VHS film. Due to scarcity, some have skyrocketed and the demand is increasing rapidly.  You can read more about Black Star Promos in this article.

Complete Sets
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Serious collectors always value sets. The challenge of putting together any complete original set gets tougher by the day due to demand. For example, there are only 12 complete PSA 10 Base 1st Edition English sets currently, with the last sale fetching $129,500.00 in July 2020. Set collecting is a crucial aspect of the Pokémon community; even filling a binder with every card is an accomplishment that will make you money over time. Money isn’t the biggest driving factor; the desire to hold cards you coveted as a kid outweighs all other aspects and provides further proof that prices will continue to skyrocket.

Sealed Packs
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Hands down the safest way to invest in Pokémon has been buying sealed packs. The opportunity to pull a Charizard or rare card is enough to make people rip packs open to display or send cards in to get graded. Blister packs are the safest way to get un-weighed packs (packs can be weighed to determine if a hologram is or isn’t in it). There are lots of ways to tamper with packs so make sure to read the risks involved further down.

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Owning any original English sealed box has become a major accomplishment. Multiple boxes make you a rock star. A clean, sealed box is one of the ultimate investments moving forward. As noted earlier, a 1999 Base English 1st Edition Box fetched $433,000.00 recently at PWCC Auctions. That’s almost six times the value from as recently as 2019 and the more boxes that are opened, the less remain in existence – which should cause the value of the remaining boxes to rise.

Artist Autographed Cards
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Pokémon artists have become rock stars as well. Mitsuhiro Arita (Charizard & Pikachu Base Set artist) signed cards have soared in value and created a whole new market for collectors. Illustrations on the cards have also become a major part of collecting and the sales are staggering.

Error Cards
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Error cards have shown to be major value opportunities for collectors. There are many error cards, such as the Red Cheek Pikachu in the 1st Edition and Shadowless sets. 1st Edition cards, the stamp itself can be grey, which is highly desirable. There is a ghost stamp 1st Edition Pikachu where the 1st Edition logo is barely noticeable: this card is a grail. In 1st Edition and Shadowless there is a Vulpix with a Green Dot on its butt.

Variables That Can Affect a Card’s Value
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1. The Grading Company

PSA is the king of Pokémon card grading with BGS a close 2nd. Both companies command top $ for their graded cards and have proven that grades do matter in the Pokémon realm, with a BGS 9.5 1st Edition Charizard selling for nearly $73,000.00 in July of 2021. 

2. Supply of the card (Population reports)

Pokémon cards have low populations compared to sports cards. The number of graded cards can be the biggest indicator of value, but some cards, such as Pikachu or Charizard, have insane demand regardless of populations. Supply is outmatched by current demand, and after two decades since these cards were produced, that won’t change. Check the PSA 1999 Pokémon Game Population report to get more info on how limited the Base set cards are. 

3. Buying Raw vs. Graded

Thanks to modern technology, getting clear photos of cards is easier than ever. That said, until you hold a card, you don’t know how clean it really is. Graded cards are the safest indicator that you’re getting what you want. When buying graded cards, think of the price paid for the grading and that there is no wait time besides shipping. There is much less risk buying graded cards, but raw (loose cards) can be the best bet to make profits faster. You never know what you can find in a binder someone is selling, but be careful and do your best to inspect those cards.  

4. Surface, corners, edges, creases & centering

In the process of card grading, the most important aspects are the surface, corners, edges and how well the card is centered front and back. For Pokémon cards, are there any scratches on the holofoil? Do you see whitening on the edges? Are the corners nicked? Grading is subjective with individuals determining what a card is valued at, based on its condition.

5. Your negotiation tactics

How you negotiate will go a long way in collecting and flipping. Knowing market value, monitoring auctions, and making offers when possible are great ways to limit risk and help you score deals. Never be afraid to message a seller, feel them out and potentially make a long-term outlet for purchases while building trust. Networking is a major component.

6. Nostalgic elements

Pokémon culture is wide-ranging, with the Pokémon Go app, video games, movies, TV shows, merchandise, and more, everyone knows something about Pokémon. Pikachu is as recognizable as Hello Kitty, Pokémon is unisex, and the cards are a major component for the culture. This won’t change. The cards are a major part of Pokémon Lore and will continue to be the biggest aspect of nostalgia moving forward.  

Best Channels To Buy Pokémon Cards

1. eBay:

The safest online marketplace to buy and sell Pokémon cards. Check sales for a quick look at where cards are at price wise. Check seller reviews and buy with confidence from high rated sellers. eBay is the largest online marketplace and is your best chance to locate inventory. When searching for cards, look at items nearest you, and contact nearby sellers, potentially creating a local network. It saves on shipping and more. Load up your watch list to get faster alerts when cards sell or are pulled. 

2. WhatNot:

WhatNot is at the pinnacle of auction sales by live streaming their auctions. Sellers have the ability to add prizes and a multitude of different other ways to entire buyers to participate. They also frequently do large charity box breaks with influencers, bringing additional light to the hobby.

2. Facebook groups & Instagram:

Look for feedback from sellers to check legitimacy, these are great places to score deals and build relationships within the collecting community but beware of scams. 

3. COMC:

Marketplace designed to help you buy individual cards, specializing in set collecting.

4. Mercari:

Popular marketplace to buy and sell cards. When hunting for low population cards, it’s important to utilize all options. 

5. Card Shows & Stores:

If you can find a show or store with vintage Pokémon cards, go. You get the chance to look at cards in person, check sales online, network and decide what’s of value. You never know what you can walk away with.


Shill Bidding

“Shilling” is when a card bids for an overly high price, but the sale never gets completed. Bidders often times will try to manipulate the market this way, to pump the value of their own identically or near graded cards. Check recent sales and bidding history on a sale to identify if it’s legit or not. There is a number rating next to buyer’s names in the bidding history. Often times it’s safe to trust the highest bid from a legitimate account. 

Fake Cards

When purchasing loose cards, make sure to research what you are buying, check the indicators (years, artwork) to make sure you are not getting scammed. The fake Pokémon cards are easily spotted, you can see through them, although there are some impressive forgeries of Charizard and the Illustrator Pikachu. 

Re-Sealed Packs

First off, check whom you are buying packs from. Ratings, reviews, make sure the seller is legitimate. Packs can easily be resealed and if you don’t know how to look, you can easily be scammed. Ask for as many pictures as it takes to see the entire pack, look at the top and bottom of the foil to see if there are any discrepancies, such as the foil looking different in one spot, and check for how crumpled up the pack is to indicate if the cards inside have been damaged. 

Weighing Packs

Assume every Booster pack you buy is weighed. If it says Unweighed, it’s almost certain to be a light pack. Light packs won’t contain a hologram. Heavy packs will. When listed as heavy, make sure to tell the seller you intend to open the pack upon arrival, which will ensure they send a legitimately weighed pack otherwise they face ramifications of bad reviews, refunds, and can be labeled a scammer. The safest way to purchase individual packs is in Blisters. Blister Packs are sealed in plastic and cardboard, they can’t legitimately be weighed or tampered if sealed. Sealed packs get more limited by the day because people won’t stop opening them. Nostalgia is a major factor. Also, the dream of pulling a perfect Charizard or Pikachu can’t be overstated.

The Future of Pokémon Cards

Given this is vintage, the original high graded cards, sealed boxes and packs are scarce. The probability for further profits is strong. Due to demand, desire and drive, the Pokémon Game appears to be safe. Over $10 Billion in card sales since 1996 is staggering. 

Long term investing paid off in a short term for collectors in 2020. Prices have come back down a bit since, due to population growth and declining recent exposure from celebrities and influencers. It’s a winning proposition due to Pokémon culture being bigger than any competing market. Pokemon is the #1 ranked media franchise on the planet, slightly besting Hello Kitty. They flat out win. Television, video games, cards, it’s still going strong. The children collecting today know all about the original cards and they covet them. Can you name the top 10 sports cards to own pre-1980? The children collecting today can name the top Pokémon Cards from 1999. 

Even though prices have fluctuated a bit, if you zoom out and look at the growth over the last five years, it has been astronomical. The main concern moving forward is liquidity drying up, but that has also impacted the entire card market, crypto, the stock market, the NFT market, and more.   

The first generation of collectors is dropping record money on these cards because all the indicators show Pokémon is still wildly undervalued. The new investors who research and make rational decisions should see major profits moving forward. If you are selling, make sure you pay close attention to detail. 

Culture Trading Cards

The Top 10 Most Valuable Women’s Sports Cards Ever Sold

The sports card market has been rapidly growing since 2019 and we’ve seen a number of sales make headlines across many different sports and athletes. 

Since it’s Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a look at the top 10 women’s sports cards ever sold. 

Not surprisingly, one athlete dominates this list: Serena Williams. 

Mia Hamm’s S.I. for Kids trading card initially hit a record sale for women’s trading cards in June 2021, but over the past few months, Serena Williams’ cards have set multiple records, including sales that went over six figures. 

Let’s dive in! 

1. Serena Williams 2003 NetPro International Series Apparel Autograph #2A PSA 7 — $120,000

The record for any women’s trading card in history was set on March 13th when this copy of Serena Williams’ 2003 Netpro International Series Apparel Autograph featuring an autograph and match-worn apparel for Serena Williams sold for $120,000 via Goldin Co

Serena Williams turned pro in 1995 and had a storied career (often ending up in finals matches against her sister, Venus). Serena won the 1999 US Open and later won the French Open, US Open, and Wimbledon in 2002. In total, she won more Grand Slam singles titles with 23 than any other tennis player in history.

She also was awarded the Best Female Athlete ESPY award twice (2003, 2013) and ESPN ranked Serena as the most famous women athlete in the world in 2018.Note: there’s a copy of this card in a BGS 8 grade on Rally, a fractional ownership platform, and it’s valued at $114,750.

2. Serena Williams 1999 S.I. For Kids Series 4 #814 PSA 10 — $117,000

In January 2022, this PSA 10 copy of Serena Williams’ 1999 Sports Illustrated for Kids card sold for $117,000 via PWCC marketplace on eBay. 

Sports Illustrated for Kids was a magazine that often featured sheets of cards that could be torn so kids could have a card for an individual player. Because they required tearing, it is rare to find a card like this in a high grade with serrated edges. 

3. Serena Williams 2003 NetPro Elite Glossy #G2 PSA 10 — $96,000

On the same night of Serena’s record-breaking S.I. for Kids card sale, this PSA 10 Netpro Glossy sold for $96,000 also via PWCC Auctions on eBay. 

NetPro tennis trading cards were first produced in 1991 and the 2003 set was “the first trading card set available to the public in nearly a decade.” 

This was the first officially licensed card for Serena Williams and the “Glossy” version is numbered to 100 copies with 28 in a PSA 10. 

In November of 2020, a copy of this card sold for $6,420, meaning it appreciated in value by 1,395% in a little over a year. 

4. Serena Williams 2003 NetPro Elite Glossy #G2 PSA 10 — $55,200

On January 8th, a copy of Serena Williams’ 2003 NetPro Glossy (numbered to 100 copies) sold via for $55,200. 

This particular copy was numbered 1 out of 100 and is the second-highest sale of this card a few weeks before it jumped to nearly $100,000 in value. 

Another copy of this card sold on February 28th via eBay for $50,2999 (at auction) but to avoid redundancy we are only listing this once. 

5. Serena Williams 2003 NetPro International Series Apparel Autograph #2A PSA 5 — $43,200

In October 2021, sold this PSA 5 copy of Serena Williams’ 2003 NetPro International Series Apparel Autograph card for $43,200. 

This particular copy is numbered 1 out of 100 with match-worn apparel featured in the card.

6. Serena Williams 2003 NetPro International Series Apparel Autograph #2A Ungraded — $39,999

On January 23rd, a raw copy of Serena Williams’ 2003 NetPro International Series Apparel Autograph numbered to just 100 copies sold on eBay in an ungraded condition for just shy of $40,000. 

The sale occurred a few months before a PSA 7 copy sold for a record $117,000.

7. Mia Hamm 1992 S.I. for Kids Series 2 #71 PSA 10 — $34,440

At the time of this sale, the Mia Hamm 1992 S.I. for Kids in a PSA 10 grade was the most expensive women’s trading card ever sold. 

The card sold for $34,400 via There are only 3 copies of this card in a PSA 10 grade. 

This Mia Hamm card set a record for a reason. She’s considered to be the best female soccer player in the history of the sport, played for the women’s US national soccer team for 17 years, winning Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004. 

Up until 2013, Hamm had the record for the most international goals scored. 

She was also named FIFA’s world player of the year in 2001 and 2002. 

8. Serena Williams 2003 NetPro Elite Glossy #G2 PSA 9— $27,600

On March 13th, 2022, Goldin.Co sold a PSA 9 copy of Serena Williams’ 2003 NetPro Elite Glossy trading card for $27,600. There are just 18 copies of this card in a PSA 9 grade. 

Another copy of this card in a PSA 9 sold in October for a similar amount but in May of 2021 a copy of this card sold for just $7,407 for a growth of 272% in less than a year. 

9. Serena Williams 2018 Upper Deck Employee Exclusive Autograph Materials #UDSW PSA 9 — $22,800

On January 9th, 2022, sold this PSA 9 copy of Serena Williams’ 2018 patch autograph card for $22,800. 

These cards were given to Upper Deck employees (often done as an expression of gratitude, like a company bonus) and are numbered to just 199 copies. 

While not one of Williams’ first trading cards, this one features match-worn material and an autograph in the format of the well-known premium Exquisite Trading card format. 

10. Serena Williams 2003 NetPro International Series Autographs #2C PSA 8 — $22,200

On the same day that the Upper Deck Exclusives card sold, this copy of Williams 2003 NetPro autograph in a PSA 8 grade sold for $22,200 via Goldin Co. 

We’ve seen other examples of this card with match-worn swatches set records in the women’s trading card space, and the auto-only version commands a 5-figure sum on the secondary market. 

Culture Trading Cards

Enter the World of Physical Backed NFT’s with

As a collector of trading cards, I was blown away by the recent ONE37pm x Courtyard Twitter Space and how rapidly it appears that the space is about to change.

To listen to the entire conversation, check out our podcast on Spotify!

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The days of purchasing a physical card, taking photos of it, listing it for sale on eBay (or other platforms), waiting for the card to sell, then packaging it up, insuring it, shipping it, and finally, the buyer waiting days for the card to arrive (all the while hoping it’s actually delivered safely) could very well be a thing of the past.

In the new collecting world, you will be able to take the physical cards that you have stored in your drawers at home and send them to Courtyard, which will store them in a secured Brinks vault and create NFTs tied to those specific cards. The NFT would be located on Opensea and is traceable.

“We are a collecting company,” said Nicolas le Jeune, CEO of Courtyard. “We are trying to improve that space. It’s very important to us. Our goal is to help users trade physical assets with no friction, and have something new that they can share and collect with other people rather than have their collection sitting in the basement or in a vault. They can actually showcase their collections and connect with other people. People who collect love to talk about it with other likeminded people, so this is a way of bringing people together and ensuring your collection.”

Collectors can then choose to either display their NFTs on the metaverse, sell or trade them, or burn the NFT and receive the physical card. Holders of the NFT also own the physical asset.

Why Collectors Will Enjoy the Fee Structure

Let’s say you sell one of your NFTs for $200 – and then the person who purchases it then sells it at any point in the future for $500 – and that person then sells it for $1000, you will have the ability to get a percentage every single time that card that you introduced to the Courtyard ecosystem is sold.

“We can reward behaviors through the fee structure.” said le Jeune. “If you bring a collection to Courtyard, not only will you receive NFTs that will likely sell for more, but on top of it, we can possibly give you a small percentage perpetually for each sale of that card until the NFT gets redeemed for the physical asset. So if you sell the NFT to somebody, and that person sells it to somebody else, you would still make a percentage of the transaction fee because you provided that liquidity to the ecosystem in the first place. That’s the beauty of smart contracts.”

But that’s not the only way that the fee structure can be used to bring additional eyes and value to the NFTs and physical assets. Courtyard plans on eventually cutting the players in on the transaction fees, which could incentivize them to drive further value to the space.

“We can also reward players. For example, if a Kevin Durant card is traded, why not reward Kevin Durant and have him get a small percentage of the transactions?”

Security and Authentication
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With the recent rise in fake PSA/BGS/SGC slabs entering the market, one of the biggest concerns as a collector before getting involved with a company like this would be how they know that the graded slabs they are receiving from collectors are authentic before the NFTs are made and the cards are stored in a vault.

“We are building the authentication capability.” said le Jeune. “Even if we only offer slabs and graded cards, we want to make sure we control whatever is getting in and that it’s authentic. We are building that infrastructure for authenticating so we make sure that any Courtyard NFT is validated. We are looking to build those partnerships currently.”

Taking Loans Against Your Assets

Another potential utility of the physically-backed NFTs could be figuring out a way to take loans using your NFTs as collateral to provide liquidity.

“A lot of projects have been trying to figure out a way to collateralize their NFTs but the challenge is that NFTs are so volatile.” said le Jeune. “Apart from some bluechip projects, there is so much volatility that it’s dangerous for a liquidity provider. Here you have an NFT that technically could go up as much as the market wants, but could never go much below the value of the physical asset in real life. So there is more security for a liquidity provider.”

The Technology Behind Courtyard NFT’s
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Courtyard NFTs are ERC721 Tokens that are built around a single registry on the Polygon Network, a layer 2 scaling solution on the Ethereum Network.

Benefits include:

• Lower transaction (gas) fees

• Supported by Opensea and traded the same way as they are on Ethereum mainnet

Courtyard Genesis Drop

To bring awareness to the brand, Courtyard recently offered to the public the first physical collectible-backed NFT drop featuring NFTs backed by 800 PSA-graded Pokemon cards.

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“History is on the blockchain.” said le Jeune. “If Gary (Vaynerchuk) owns an NFT and sells it afterward, that would have value on the blockchain. We actually believe that the additional liquidity, visibility, and coolness of having the first physically-backed NFTs will bring a lot more value, so it’s a very interesting experiment. We’re gonna see how the market reacts. So far, it’s been amazing.”

Culture Trading Cards

Fortnite Series 1 Trading Cards: Top 10 Sales

In March of 2018, Fortnite became the most-viewed video game on the streaming platform Twitch and is still one of the most popular battle royale video games of 2022 with 80.4 million active users and as many as 4 million players per day.  

Fortnite launched in July 2017 and Battle Royale was released as free to play in September 2017. 

The game itself has become a pop culture icon and is a recognizable brand around the world

Emote dance moves from the game have been featured in Hollywood movies and a slew of partnerships bring in skins from some of the most recognizable IP including the NFL, Marvel, John Wick, Halo, Star Wars, and much more. 

Given that it has become more than just a video game and has a strong pop-culture element, we are going to break down Panini’s Fortnite Series 1 trading card product and dive into 10 record card sales from the set. 

Fortnite Series 1 Breakdown

Panini released a Fortnite Series 1 Trading Card set in June 2019 in three countries: the United States, Italy, and Brazil. 

Series 1 comprised a 300 Card set with different categories — Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. There were 100 Common cards and the remaining 200 cards were split equally between Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. 

The latter four categories each had 50 cards featuring different characters and also had two parallels: Holofoil and Crystal Shards.

The checklist of cards includes weapons and objects from the game (commons) as well as popular characters and skins. You can see the full set checklist here

Panini later released a Promo Set with 9 Crystal Shards P1 — P9 exclusively sold through Panini’s Website for customers in the US. 

PSA has graded a total of 3,730 Fortnite Series 1 cards awarding 1,256 PSA 10s for a 33% gem rate across US, Italy and Brazilian cards. 

The United States print run reportedly has slightly larger cards (about 1 mm taller and wider) and besides differences between the “made in [country]” label on the back of the cards, Crystal Shards are slightly different in design based on the print location as well: 


On the left is the United States Crystal Shard, in the middle is the Brazilian Crystal Shard and on the right is the Italian Crystal Shard.

Generally, US prints are worth more, but Italian prints are slightly more rare in higher grades given their 23% gem rate. 

The cards were released in Value packs, Fat packs, Blaster Boxes, Mega Boxes, and Hobby Boxes. Italian and Brazilian prints had clear plastic wraps and US prints had the Panini-branded sealed plastic wraps. 

Mega Boxes were the only way to obtain the US crystal shard (the most valuable parallel on the market), which is why they are more valuable today, priced around $1,000. 

The Top 10 Fortnite Series 1 Trading Card Sales

Before we dive into this list, it’s important to note that pricing data was sourced from Goldin Co., eBay, 130point sale data, PSA data, and a Fortnite trading card fan website

This list is largely dominated by the most popular skin from the early days of Fortnite, The Black Knight. Nearly every top-10 list across different trading cards tends to show a concentration of the most popular athlete/characters in a sport or genre and the top Fornite Series 1 sales are no different! 

1. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Crystal Shards #252 BGS 9.5  — $55,000

In February 2021 the most expensive Fortnite Series 1 trading card sold via private deal for $55,000. The sale was reported here, and here but keep in mind with private deals, we are unable to personally verify the sale. 

The Black Knight dominates this list of top 10 Fortnite trading card sales as it was one of the most popular skins in the game and players who had it were highly respected. Some YouTubers even said that gamers who encountered players with the skin would stop and cheer for the person who had it. 

The card pictured in this ranking is the Italian print, but it is unclear which country the $55,000 sale was from (most likely the US print, but it was difficult to find a clean photo of that card in a BGS 9.5 grade). 

Both the US and Italian Crystal Shard prints are close in population (32 and 38 total graded by PSA respectively) with the PSA 10 Italian Crystal Shard slightly rarer with 7 copies versus 9 for the US print. 

2. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Holofoil US #252 PSA 10 — $30,000

The second most expensive Fortnite Series 1 card sale also happened in February of 2021 when a Legendary Holo Foil Black Knight sold for $30,000 via eBay best offer and is verified by PSA. 

As we mentioned, the Black Knight skin was one of the most popular in series 1 and took a lot of work to get it. 

This rarity and popularity of the skin and value in the game transferred over to the card market. 

There are 16 total Black Knight Holofoil PSA 10s and are less rare than the Crystal Shards based on the total graded population. 

3. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Holofoil US #252 BGS 9.5 — $20,000

February and March of 2021 were record months for Fortnite Cards (like the rest of the trading card market) and a BGS 9.5 Black Knight Holofoil sold for $20,000 on an eBay best offer accepted. 

The Holofoil and Crystal Shard are the two most desirable cards in the set because they are parallels with refractor elements and a low population. 

4. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Crystal Shard #252 Ungraded — $17,877

In December 2021, a Legendary Fortnite Series 1 Crystal Shard Black Knight sold for $17,877 via eBay auction. 

There is a lot of variation between the PSA 10 and raw card value multipliers based on set and cards (i.e. PSA 10s are worth 7x of the same card in raw condition), but this recent raw sale indicates that the market for the Black Knight Series 1 Fornite Crystal Shards paralell card hasn’t dramatically decreased since its peak in early 2021. 

5. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Holofoil US #252 PSA 10— $17,211

In April of 2021, this PSA 10 Black Knight Series 1 Holofoil sold for about $3,000 less than its BGS 9.5 counterpart that sold a few months earlier. 

It’s still a strong five-figure sale but suggests that the value of Fortnite cards started pulling back after hitting a peak at the beginning of 2021. 

6. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Crystal Shard Italy #252 PSA 10 — $14,900

In June 2021, this Italian print Black Knight Crystal Shards PSA 10 sold for $14,900 via PWCC Auctions verified by PSA

The Italian print of this card has a slightly lower population (by 2) in a PSA 10 but the market does not currently value them as much as US prints.

7. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Holofoil US #252 PSA 10— $12,699

In May 2021, a PSA 10 copy of the Black Knight Holofoil parallel sold for $12,699. A $17,301 price drop from its original high of $30,000 in February. 

A second copy of this card last sold for $8,600 just a few weeks later, marking a further pull-back in the value of this card in the market.  

8. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Holofoil US #252 PSA 9 — $12,000

Along with a number of record Series 1 Fortnite card sales in 2021, a Black Knight Holofoil PSA 9 (US print) sold for $12,000 via accepted best offer on eBay. 

There are 50 copies of the Black Knight (US) Holofoil in a PSA 9 grade versus 16 in PSA 10. 

The total PSA graded supply of the Holofoil parallel is 119 cards, which is small relative to other sports card sets. 

9. Red Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Holofoil US #285 PSA 10— $11,000

Our first non-Black Knight record Fortnite card sale is the Red Knight. This is another rare skin in the Fortnite game and some people weren’t happy when it was announced that the skin could be purchased as it watered down the skin’s scarcity in the game. 

Nonetheless, a PSA 10 copy of the Crystal Shard parallel sold for $11,000 in February 2021. There are only 6 copies of a PSA 10-grade Red Knight Crystal Shards.

10. Black Knight 2019 Panini Fortnite Series 1 Holofoil US #252 PSA 9 — $10,000

In March 2021, a PSA 9 Black Knight Holofoil parallel sold for $10,000. 

There are 50 copies of the card in a PSA 9 grade and the most recent sale of a PSA 9 was $2,025 in September, a nearly 80% loss in value. 

Zooming out, the card has still appreciated significantly as it sold for just $66 in February 2020. 

Culture Trading Cards

Top 10 Kaboom! Sales of All-Time

Kaboom! inserts from various products ranging from Innovation (‘13-’14) to Absolute (‘18-’20) have become highly collectible in the past year given their aesthetic and hard-to-pull nature. 

Basketball was the first sport to feature Kabooms back in 2013, Soccer introduced the inserts in 2017 and Football in 2018. 

Kabooms come in three variations: Base, Gold /10, and Green 1/1. 

We look at the top 10 record Kaboom! insert sales of all-time. Tom Brady and football dominate this list, as there have only been 4 years of Kaboom! inserts for the sport. 

Kabooms are like the modern-day PMGs and recent sales suggest their popularity in the card market. 

1. Tom Brady 2018 Panini Kaboom! Gold /10 #TB BGS 9.5 — $120,000

Tom Brady just retired but he will likely be one of the most collectible athletes for a long time. He’s played in 10 Super Bowls, winning 7 of them, and set a bar so high that another Quarterback may not even come close to his accomplishments. 

2018 was the first year Kaboom! inserts were introduced into football products and it’s fitting that the pop 5 BGS 9.5 Brady insert holds the current record with a private sale of $120,000 on October 13th, 2021: 


What’s fascinating about this card is that a copy sold for $13,220 while Brady’s rookie cards were exploding in value, but it increased in value by over $100,000 within the following 8 months. 

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2018 Panini Kaboom! Green 1/1 #GA BGS 9 — $99,630

In October 2021, this 1/1 Giannis Antetokounmpo 2018 Kaboom! Insert sold for $99,630: 


It’s the only recorded sale of the card and is the record for any basketball Kaboom! (so far). Giannis is an NBA Champion, 2x MPV, 6x All-Star, NBA defensive player of the year, and is a 3x All-NBA First Teamer. 

It’s likely that this record would be broken by a Lebron James Kaboom! Gold insert, but as it stands today, this Green 1/1 is the most expensive basketball Kaboom! insert sold.

3. Tom Brady 2018 Panini Kaboom! Gold /10 #TB PSA 9— $80,000

At just 10 total copies, with 3 in a PSA 9 grade, the 2018 Tom Brady Kaboom! is the most valuable insert in football. A copy of this card sold in September 2021 for $80,000 via a private sale: 


Despite the news of Brady’s retirement, we haven’t seen a recent sale of his first-year Kaboom! gold featuring him in a Patriots uniform. This card is more valuable than a BGS 8.5 Brady 2000 Bowman Chrome Refractor Rookie (last sold for $72,000 on 1/23/22). 

4. Patrick Mahomes 2018 Panini Kaboom! Gold /10 #PMA PSA 10 — $80,000

Outside of Tom Brady, Mahomes is one of the most popular Quarterbacks that already has a Super Bowl Ring, MVP award, and two Super Bowl appearances under his belt by 26. 

Mahomes was a rookie in 2017, so his 2018 Kaboom! Gold Insert in a PSA 10 grade (pop 1) is the first year of this insert and it sold via private deal for $80,000: 


Mahomes’ 2021-’22 season didn’t finish the way most of us thought it would, but in his 4 seasons as the Chief’s primary starting QB, he’s already played in 2 Super Bowls and made it to the AFC Championship in the other 2 seasons. 

5. Justin Herbert 2020 Absolute Kaboom! Green 1/1 #K-JH2 PSA 9 — $79,200
Goldin Co.

Justin Herbert took the NFL by storm during his rookie season, winning rookie of the year, but he is just 15–17 in his first two NFL seasons. Despite missing the playoffs this season, his on-field performance signals a bright future. 

Goldin Co. sold Herbert’s 1/1 Green Kaboom! PSA 9 for $79,200 making it the fifth-most expensive Kaboom! sold all-time. 

6. Stephen Curry 2018 Panini Kaboom! Gold /10 #SC PSA 10 — $66,000

Steph Curry is a generational talent and was ranked the 13th-best NBA player of all time by ESPN. Curry is a 7-time NBA All-Star, 2-time MVP, 3-time NBA Champion, and now holds the NBA regular-season record for most three-pointers. 

His pop 4 PSA 10 Gold 2018 Kaboom! insert last sold for $66,000 on 2/19: 


The card sold for $1,927 less than two years earlier, which speaks to how much the demand for Kaboom! inserts have grown. 

7. Tom Brady 2019 Absolute Kaboom! Gold /10 #K-TB BGS 9.5 — $70,000

There are 3 copies of Brady’s 2019 Absolute Kaboom! Gold in a BGS 9.5 grade and its record sale hit $70,000 via a private deal in September of 2021:


Given that football card products first launched Kabooms in 2018 and that Brady retired after the 2021 season, there are only 4 Kaboom! sets from his playing years (unless he comes back to play in the future). 

Brady frequents the #1 spot of NFL rankings and is largely considered one of the winningest athletes across any major sport. When you pair that with a limited supply of a popular insert from his playing years, you get eye-popping prices. 

8. Tom Brady 2021 Absolute Kaboom! Gold /10 #19 PSA 10 — $60,000

Tom Brady shocked the world by leaving the New England Patriots to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he won a Super Bowl in his first year with the new team. 

Brady has two variations of his 2021 Absolute Kaboom! insert, one in a Bucs uniform and the other in a Patriots uniform. 

The former sold for $60,000 in a PSA 10 grade (pop 5) on 1/23/22: 


There are only 3 recorded sales of this card so far, with the record sale set on the first transaction. 

9. Patrick Mahomes II 2019 Absolute Kaboom! Gold/10 #K-PM BGS 10 — $49,200

The Kaboom! insert wasn’t released during Mahomes’ rookie year, so 2018 and 2019 are the earliest you can get when it comes to these cards. 

There are 2 copies of Mahomes’ Gold Kaboom! insert in a BGS 10 grade with a copy selling for $49,200 in September 2021: 


The card sold for less than $15,000 just 4 months earlier despite being one of the most sought-after Quarterbacks in the hobby. 

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2018 Panini Kaboom! Gold /10 #GA PSA 10— $46,800

Giannis rounds out our list as his 2018 Kaboom! PSA 10 Gold sold via GoldinCo for $46,800. There are multiple other 5-figure basketball Kaboom! sales including Kobe Bryant’s 2018 Panini Gold copy that sold for $33,000 in May 2021 and based on the growth of market popularity, they would likely sell for much higher today.