Basketball card

A Headbutt To The Wallet: These Rookie Cards Have Become Freakishly Expensive

How do they say “Sorry, I’m too poor” in Greek? Because that would be my answer if anyone offered to sell me pretty much any of Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s rookie cards. Personally, I’m still not 100% sold on Giannis yet, but I recently looked at what his Prizm rookie was selling for and I almost had a nasty accident in my pants.

Clearly collectors love him just as much as the fans, so I wanted to take a closer look at a few of his rookies, to see just how expensive they are and to see if the price has been popping like some many other rookie cards I’ve covered this year. In fact, I’ve never seen a player’s rookie card popping off like these Giannis rookies… I hope you own one!

2013 Panini #194

One of the “cheaper” (and I use that term lightly here) is the Giannis 2013-14 Panini card #194. There are many graded and ungraded copies of this card selling on eBay and the ungraded cards seem to sell for around $200, from what I can gather.

Image of Giannis Panini rookie card #194
2013-14 Panini Giannis Antetokounmpo rookie card (#194)

Its a nice looking card. It features Giannis driving to the hoop wearing a forest green Bucks jersey. The focus of the card is on Giannis, but they didn’t put the fans in the background out of focus, so if you happen to know anyone who had court-side seats back in 2013-14, you might be able to recognize one of those lucky SOBs.

This card also has a good amount of PSA price history. So far in August, 2020, there have been three PSA 10 sales, fetching between $1,125 and $1,275.

What will absolutely blow your mind is how cheap these cards were just two years ago. Back in August, 2018 there were two PSA 10 sales, the first went for $33, and the next went for $23.50. I can’t even believe the truly insane spike in value these cards have seen in just two years. We are talking about price appreciation in the 3,000% range.

That has to be one of the hottest cards ever, especially if it’s able to hold up at those price points. Excuse me while I throw up in my mouth for ignoring the Giannis rookies for so long.

2013 Panini Prizm #290

The Giannis card that really caught my attention just the other day was his Panini Prizm card (#290). I saw an ungraded copy selling on eBay for over $1,000, and there were still four days left of bidding. I’m talking a regular Prizm base card, not a nice and shiny short printed prizm, just your standard prizm rookie card.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Panini Prizm Rookie card #290
2013-14 Panini Prizm Giannis Antetokounmpo Rookie card (#290)

While I won’t be buying this card any time soon, I do like the look. The Panini Prizm cards are simple in their design with a nice metallic looking background and individual still shots of players, in this case, the shot is of Giannis holding the ball down by his waist and he looks like he is about to make a move. He is wearing the forest green Bucks uniform and that is basically all there is to the Prizm rookie.

PSA has lots of data for this card and the prices are absolutely bonkers! The median price for the last five PSA 10s sold is $6,800, while the median price for the last five PSA 9s is $3,050. You’ll want to take a seat before I tell you what the prices were just two years ago.

Going back to August, 2018, the PSA 10s were selling for ONLY $120 while the PSA 9s were selling in July, 2018 for about $50. That is some absolutely insane price popping and may be the highest price pop I’ve seen to date. Yup… just checked, no other PSA 10 card I’ve reviewed has exploded by roughly 5,000% like the Giannis prizm rookie. I’m Greek Freaking out right now!

Alright alright, I’ve settled down a bit. Time to look at one more Giannis rookie that I won’t be able to afford.

2013 Panini Select #178

Last card up is probably my favorite looking of the bunch, just because of the image of Giannis in this one. He’s down showing off his ball handling skills (how is someone so tall that strong of a ball handler?) wearing the maroon Bucks uniform. Like the Prizm card, this too has a metallic background, but Giannis is framed in a black and gold design within the card, which looks nice.

Giannis Select Rookie card #178
2013 Panini Select Giannis Antetokounmpo Rookie card (#178)

My first look at this card was through an eBay auction. A PSA 9 copy of this card was up for a normal auction, and with five days left of bidding, the card was already up to $500, which looks cheap compared to the ungraded Prizm.

PSA has lots of data on this card as well. The median value from the past five sales of the PSA 10 is $2,550, and the median value for the PSA 9s is $872. Going back to 2018, we see another crazy drop off in prices for this card, with the price of PSA 10s in August selling for around $50 and the two PSA 9s that were sold in May went for $23 and $10. Wish I had purchased a few, but I obviously suck at this hobby.

Well, there you have it. I hope you are a proud owner of one or two Greek Freak rookies. And if not, you and I can cry in our beers together about overlooking this guy. Cheers!

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