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Basketball card

Topps or Bowman Curry Rookie?

There are many many cards that I’d like to add to my collection, but a Steph Curry rookie card would be at the top of my list today. I fell out of the hobby for about 15 years while I was finishing up college and getting a taste for the real world, so my current collection has a massive player gap from 2005 to now. However, I’ve been a fan of Steph ever since he played at Davidson, and I wish I’d gotten in on a rookie or two of his when he’d first entered the league.

Curry has had a pretty significant impact on the league and his stats are quite interesting to look at, because his stats and the general stats of the NBA are both moving in the same direction. What I mean by that is the NBA today is more or less a three-point shooting contest, and you can see that trend clearly in Curry’s stats. During his first three seasons in the NBA, he averaged fewer than five three-point attempts.

But over the course of his past five seasons, he has averaged just north of ten attempts per game. There isn’t anything wrong with that, its just interesting to see so clearly in one player stats.

Part of being an adult is making difficult choices, and as a collector with no money, I am trying to decide between the 2009 Topps rookie (#321) and the 2009 Bowman ’48 Blue rookie (#106). I’m currently leaning toward the Topps card, just because I like the image more, but I’ll walk through what I like and dislike about each, as well as include current prices for the PSA 9s and 10s to see how each card is resonating with collectors.

I also put out a twitter poll to see if other collectors would weigh in. I got one vote, and it was for the Topps card.

The Topps Rookie #321

As I mentioned earlier, of the two Curry rookies, I like the image on the Topps card a lot more than the Bowman ’48. The photo on the Topps is a very simple shot of Curry smiling and there is very little card noise on the card, which I generally appreciate. The back of this card is also nice, it has his stats while at Davidson, a nice write-up where Curry’s father, Dell, gets a mention, plus a quote from Larry Brown.

2009 Topps Stephen Curry Rookie card (#321)

According to Brown, “The thing that most impressed me is that he [Curry] passes the ball. He’s a great passer”. I agree with you Coach Brown, even though I tend to think of Curry as a pure scorer, he also knows how to distribute the rock.

The only thing about this card that I don’t like, at least when compared against the Bowman ’48, is the Topps card isn’t short printed, so only the good people over at Topps know how many are out there floating about in the world. There is a gold parallel of this card, that does have a short print to 2009 cards, so I’d assume the regular base rookie has a population of at least 2010, but it is probably much higher than that.

This card sells frequently and there is lots of data on the PSA website. The PSA 10s have sold in a crazy wide range of $2,773 to $6,220 from July 1, 2020 to August 10, 2020. The PSA 9s have sold in just as wild of a range and have gone for between $616 up to $1,500 over that same period of time.

Actually, it was quite remarkable to see how both the 9s and the 10s sold at the lower ends of their ranges at the start of July then in about one months time had doubled in price by August. That is some Covid card craziness right there!

Going back to July, 2018, we see that the 10s were selling for in the $400-$600 range, with three of the four PSA 10 sales staying between $400-$420. The PSA 9s in July, 2018 were going for between $115-$155. So this Curry rookie has exploded in value over two years, selling for nearly 10-times what it was going for back in 2018. Holy Sh*t!

The Bowman ’48 Rookie #106

This rookie gets a bit tricky to talk about because there are multiple versions of the same card. The PSA website lists the regular, the blue, and the black. The image is the same for all three cards, the only difference is the border around the outer edge and the number that were printed.

The regular card has a white border and those were short printed to 2009, the blue has a blue border and a short print population of 1948, and the black has a black border and is incredibly rare, with a mere 48 printed.

2009 Bowman ’48 Steph Curry Rookie card (#106) – Blue

As for the look of this card, it features a pretty close shot of Curry from the top of his chest and up. You get to see the top of his white and red Davidson jersey, which is pretty cool. However, the concentrated look on his face isn’t the best looking image for a card, so the Bowman ’48 loses points on photo choice. It’s not awful, but it’s not as nice as smiling Steph.

I like the back of this card as well, and it too features a nice write up of Steph’s accomplishments while he was at Davidson. It also has a “Bowman Facts” section at the bottom of the card in red font that pays tribute to both of Curry’s parents: Dell who played 16 seasons in the NBA and Sonya who “was a volleyball standout at Virginia Tech”.

I do like that all these cards were short printed, so you know how many are out there. The short print is also on the back of the card below the Bowman Facts section and is centered in the middle of the card in golden foil font, which looks pretty nice.

I like feeling exclusive and knowing I’m one of only a small group of people that owns a particular card. It makes me feel like a special snowflake.

Personally, I like the look of the blue card a bit more, so I’ll focus on that one for PSA prices.

Unlike the Topps card, there isn’t much data on PSA’s website for the blue Bowman ’48 rookie card. There was only one PSA 10 sold in 2020 and it went for $4,000. Going back to May, 2020 there were three PSA 9s sold at the following prices: $975, $620, and $700.

Going back to 2018, there were a few more PSA 10s sold, and they sold for between $315-$405. So with the 10s, we are seeing that same 10x pop as we saw with the Topps card (and perhaps Curry rookies as a whole). There were no PSA 9s sold in 2018, and the only one PSA has in their dataset from pre-2020 was a PSA 9 that sold in September, 2017 for $123. So the PSA 9’s aren’t quite popping like the 10s, but are still up strong in just under three years.

So taking my likes and dislikes into consideration for both these cards, I still am going with my gut and leaning toward Curry’s Topps rookie. But if anyone wants to send me fan mail and enclose either card, I’ll be glad to accept. I don’t think that will be happening any time soon, given my personal blog stats are horribly weak. I’ve only had two views today. Come on… is basketball card collecting that niche or is my writing and content just that bad?

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