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Zion Williamson Injury Update Leaves Those Who Bet On His Cards in Limbo

Zion Williamson Injury Update Leaves Those Who Bet On His Cards in Limbo article feature image
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Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Zion Williamson.

As word circulated Saturday that Zion Williamson would be temporarily shut down as the status of his right foot had not improved, you could hear collectors collectively sigh.

Why?

Because there’s millions and millions of dollars that have been gambled on Zion Williamson cards.

The bets made on Zion can best be seen by looking at how many cards of his have been graded at PSA. Gem Rate, which scrapes PSA data, shows that only two players have had more cards graded by PSA since February than Zion (134,100): Michael Jordan (242,700) and LeBron James (190,000).

When it comes to specific cards, Zion’s 2019 Prizm Mosaic card is the sixth most commonly graded card by PSA since February, according to Gem Rate, and the most commonly graded basketball card overall in that time span (11,800 graded).

“What were seeing is just PSA catching up with the backlog,” said Gem Rate founder Ryan Stuczynski said. “A lot more Zions are going to be flowing through.”

Perhaps the craziest stat: Zion’s 2019 Panini Prizm is the sixth most graded card of all time for PSA. The five cards above him are all part of the baseball junk wax era (1986-1989).

“Zion’s cards were already down quite a bit from when the season started since he hasn’t been on the court — many cards down 20 to 30 percent or more,” said Geoff Wilson, founder of Sports Card Investor, a platform that monitors card trends for collectors. “With this injury extending, I expect more dealers to try to dump their Zion supply, which would likely cause his prices to continue to fall.”

A Zion 2019 Panini Base Prizm in a PSA 10 sold for $239 on eBay on Saturday after dropping below $300 in mid November. It was $400 in September.

That Prizm base card in a PSA 10 is down 34 percent over the last two months, Wilson said and down 64 percent over the last year. It’s worse than the modern basketball market overall, which is suffering more than most segments of the card space.

The biggest cringes might come from the people who bought the highest-priced Williamson cards. Goldin Auctions sold a 1/1 2019-20 Panini Logoman card for $233,700 in January and a “Blockchain” Logoman in March for $192,000.

Most Graded Cards in PSA History

Rank Card Amount Graded
1 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck 86,300
2 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Topps Traded 76,700
3 1985 Mark McGwire Topps 56,300
4 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Fleer 54,700
5 1986 Barry Bonds Topps Trade 52,300
6 2019 Zion Williamson Panini Prizm 37,700
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