I was 21 when the Miami Heat squared off against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA finals. I was glued to the TV for the entire series. I didn’t exactly have a dog in the fight per se; I always appreciated Dirk’s game, Mark Cuban seemed like a cool guy, and I’ve always loved Shaq, but the guy who really blew me away that series was Dwyane Wade. He was absolutely dominant, averaging 35 points a game and taking home the MVP award for the series. I vividly remember watching game 5, which was decided by one point (101-100) and featured DWade reminding all of us why it’s so important to be able to hit free throws. He scored 43 points that game, and 21 of which were from the foul line (he went 21-25, a respectable 84%).
What I also remember was getting into a bidding war on Ebay for Wade’s 2003-04 Topps Finest Autographed Rookie card #158, serial numbered to 999. Despite Wade and the Heat having to go back to Dallas for games six and possibly a game 7, I felt like the Heat had taken the wind out of Dallas’ sails after game 5 and expected not only a Heat victory, but also for Wade to be named MVP, both of which happened. However, my bidding war led me to overextend myself and drop $222* on a card that had been selling for under $200 only a few days earlier. Still, I was thrilled because I felt like Wade was going to have a Jordan-esque career and I was getting his autographed rookie card at a bargain.
I was wrong. I was very wrong. For some reason, this thirteen-time All-star and three-time NBA Champ who is destined for the HOF never really struck a chord with collectors, and I can’t understand why. It pains me to see the card I purchased on Ebay roughly 14 years ago selling right now for $175 (literally right now at 1 PM on 7/21/2020). In fact, just because I’m a moron, I decided to put a bid down for the $175 card, and I’m currently the ONLY ONE bidding on that card. Perhaps in a few days I’ll be the proud owner of not one, but two of Wade’s Finest Auto short printed rookies. What is wrong with me?
In general, I feel like I’ve gotten pretty lucky with my collection and at the very least I think I have a good eye for cards in general, but I’ve been wrong before and I was wrong with Wade. Maybe in a year or two I can write a humble brag post about how ahead of the trend I was when Wade officially gets into the HOF and his Finest Auto rookies are selling for $1000+. Or maybe not, but either way the gamble is part of the thrill, right?!?
Update (8/4/2020): I ended up winning the Wade rookie so I now have two copies. At first I felt like a moron, since I was the only one who bid on the card and I had no idea how much I had overpaid. However, I saw the same card sell for $155, which made me feel better. I can stomach overpaying by $20 (13%). The refractor card with a piece of jersey and short printed to 250 also sold last night and I was happy that it was in line with what you’d expect. Given there are 1/4 as many refractors, it did sell for just about 4-times the non-refractor, at $676. I love when economics works the way it should!
Update (2/27/2021): I bid on another one of these cards during the work week and stopped myself once I was outbid at $190. I had a feeling it was going to top $200, but I had no idea it was going to double up in price over the final few minutes. The finale sale price was $415.
I firmly believe this card should be valued more than 2003-04 Topps Chrome Dwyane Wade rookie (#115 – which recently sold for over $500), simply because its a short print card with a total population of 999. Having said that, this card looks to be undervalued.
*Full disclosure, I don’t actually know exactly how much I paid for the card. I know it was about $20 over the $200 I was anticipating and $222 just felt right. The point is, I got caught up bidding and overpaid.