Zion Williamson Trading Cards Continue Downward Spiral

Zion Williamson Trading Cards Continue Downward Spiral article feature image

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Zion Williamson

The perfect storm has hit modern basketball card collectors and his name is Zion Williamson.

His absence from the game and the uncertainty of when he will return has caused his trading cards to fall to new depths. And factoring in how many cards of his have been graded is just as important to the plummeting.

Since being drafted as the No. 1 pick by the Pelicans in 2019, Williamson has played in 85 of 191 games (44.5%).

On Christmas Day 2020, collectors couldn’t get enough of Zion despite rising population reports at PSA, the leader in card grading.

Back then, Williamson’s 2019 Prizm Base in a PSA 10 was selling for $976. It’s now down 80% to $204, according to Sports Card Investor data. His Silver version of that card is down 75% in the same time period from $6,400 to $1,575.

“I recall selling Jeremy Lin for $5,000 and Joba Chamberlain for $3,000,” said Rick Probstein, who sells more cards than anyone on eBay. “His best stuff is still strong.”

Data from Sports Card Investor reveals that Zion’s 2019 Prizm Blue out of 199 in a BGS 9.5 only dropped 18% in price during the same time period.

For the most common cards, the glut of them presents a real issue.

There have been 38,164 2019 base Zion Prizm cards graded, the sixth most of any card in PSA’s database, according to Gem Rate, a grading data site that scrapes PSA’s population reports. Of those, 53.% (20,448) have been graded a PSA 10, making it the first card in PSA’s database to have at least 20,000 perfect examples, Gem Rate notes. And that doesn’t even count the fact that this card is also the sixth-most graded card in Beckett’s database.

The absurdity doesn’t stop there.

In mere days, Zion is expected to leapfrog Kobe Bryant for the fourth spot in the most graded player cards in PSA’s database, according to Gem Rate.

Only Michael Jordan, Ken Griffey Jr. and LeBron James will have had more cards graded.

"I own some big Zion cards myself, so I, like much of the sports card hobby, is desperately wanting him to get back on the court," said Geoff Wilson, founder of Sports Card Investor. "His presence really elevates the entire hobby, because so many people own his cards."

While the timeline for Williamson’s return is unknown, his Instagram post this week of him bringing the ball up the court with the Pelicans just stirred up fans.

Now imagine how those who hold his cards felt.

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