Michael Jordan. No, Lebron James. And no, this is not a debate about the GOAT. It is about where did this trend start?
What trend you might ask? The “Iconic Card Chase”, or at least that’s what I call it. It is an industry-altering trend unlike anything I’ve seen in my over 40 years as a collector and 30+ years as a dealer. This trend has been growing for awhile, but it is now in full bloom. Why has it gone ballistic in the last few weeks? My guess is that millions of collectors are stuck at home and cannot follow new and upcoming athletes as they are not playing, so they are turning to what they know to be safe investments. Iconic cards of current and future hall of famers. Cards from brands that collectors love…some brands that have stood the test of time like Finest and Topps Chrome…some that modern collectors just can’t get enough of like Prizm and Optic, and a few unique ones that seem to have some out of nowhere like 1997 Metal Universe.
My attempt with this article is to give a “big picture” overview of this trend. If I were to try and provide loads of specific sales data, most of it will be outdated by the time you read it, but I will start with MJ. For years, there has been demand for later year Jordan cards, especially of the PSA 10 variety, but they have gone to an all new level in recent weeks. The most shocking of course the 1997 Metal Universe card #23 which has closed multiples times for well over $1000 in a psa 9. I remember selling raw versions of this card in my $5 box not that long ago.
Then there’s Lebron. I just checked a recent sale of his 2012-13 Panini Prizm PSA 10 that closed for $1698 and many other sales not far behind. Imagine if Jordan had a 2012-13 Prizm card. We can only dream. So of course, who was bound to follow but the football GOAT Tom Brady? I checked the last 2012 Prizm Tom Brady PSA 10 sale… $800. I sold a raw one for $25 less than a week ago. Ouch.
I know, I know… you want to know what’s next? Which cards should I be buying? Which brands are the next ones to hit the “tipping point” and everyone will want to buy up the key cards from those sets? Here are my recommendations based upon what I am seeing. We sell on a number of online portals both in the US, in Canada, and the UK. We are seeing an enormous “trend” that is reshaping the marketplace for modern cards. Here are the sets I am seeing action on, and cards that we are either seeing movement on already or expect to see movement on soon based upon attributes of the player, whether that be Hall of Fame status or iconic status in other ways. This is not an exhaustive list, but should at least give you a better feel for what is developing in the market.
Along with this trend is an additional one that we feel like started with the 18-19 Optic Lebron, that being the “first chrome/optic/prizm” with their new team. We just sold the 18-19 Lebron (First Lakers Card) PSA 10 for over $300 if that helps make our point >>
“ICONIC” BRAND LIST & SOME KEY CARDS WE ARE SEEING/EXPECT MOVEMENT ON >>
Note: Only the veterans listed
- TROUT, JETER, GRIFFEY – All early Finest/Chrome/Prizm Cards
- 1991 Upper Deck – Jordan SP1 (1st Upper Deck Card)
- 1992 Bowman (Iconic Brand) – Griffey, Thomas, other HOFers
- 1993 Finest (1st Year of the Brand) – Griffey, Thomas, Bo Jackson, other HOFers
- 1993 SP (1st Year of the Brand) – Griffey, Thomas, other HOFers
- 1994 Finest– Griffey,Thomas
- 1995-1997 Finest- Jeter, Griffey, Rivera,
- 2012 Prizm (1st Year of the Brand) – Trout, Jeter, Griffey, Rivera, Bo Jackson, Chipper, HOFers
- 2013 Prizm- Trout, Jeter, Griffey
- 2013 Select (1st Year of the brand) -Trout, Jeter, Griffey
- 2016 Optic (1st Year of the brand) – Trout, base holos of stars
Lebron James – Early Base Cards of Topps, Finest, Topps Chrome, All Prizm, Select, Optic
Michael Jordan – Late 80s/Early to mid 90s Base Cards- Especially Fleer & Skybox Brands
Jordan/Kobe/Pippen/Rodman- Mid to late 90s Finest, Topps Chrome, Bowman Best
Giannis – All early Prizm cards, all 2nd & 3rd year Prizm/Select, 2016-2017 Optic
- 1993-94 Finest – Jordan, Pippen, Shaq, Bird, Barkley, Rodman, Olajuwon
- 1997-98 Metal Universe- Jordan, Pippen, all stars & even commons selling
- 1997-98 Chicago Bulls Base – any brand ( “The Last Dance” Team)
- 2012-13 Prizm – Lebron, Kobe, Curry, Durant, Westbrook, Harden
- 2012-13 Select – Lebron, Kobe, Curry, Durant, Westbrook, Harden, AD
- 2013-14 Prizm – Lebron, Kobe, Curry, AD, Kawhi, Durant, Harden
- 2016-17 Optic- Lebron, Giannis, AD, Kawhi, Curry, Harden
- 2018-19 Optic- Lebron (1st Lakers Card)
- 2019-20 Optic – AD (1st Lakers Card), Kawhi (1st Clippers Card), Lebron
- 1992 Finest – Emmitt, Sanders, Elway (First Chrome product ever made)
- 1994 Finest – HOFers
- 1997 Metal Universe- HOFers, Stars
- 2012 Prizm-Brady, Brees, P Manning, E Manning, Rodgers,
- 2013 Prizm- Brady, Brees, P Manning, Rodgers, Wilson
- 2013 Select – Brady, Brees, P Manning, Rodgers, Wilson
- 2016 Optic – Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Wilson, all holos of stars
- 2014 Prizm World Cup (1st Premium Soccer Product)- Messi, Ronaldo
- 2015 Select – Messi, Ronaldo
- 2018 Prizm World Cup – Mbappe (considered a rookie)
Again, this is not a complete list… just wanted to highlight a few of the trending cards that we see gaining in popularity over the last couple of week that are part of the Iconic Card Chase.