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Basketball card

1996-97 SP Premium Collection Holoview

If you need proof that more isn’t always better, just look at the 1996-97 SP Premium Collection Holoview cards. It’s a shame, because this was a great year for basketball card collecting, and it saddens me to see an insert ruined by trying to do too much.

Before I start complaining about all the bad, let me first highlight one nice thing about these cards. The ungraded cards are all very affordable and with the exception of Kobe and Jordan, they can be purchased on eBay for $20 or less. The backs of the cards also feature nice write-ups about each player, with the Kobe write up being my favorite of the bunch.

Ok, now that I’ve mentioned a few of the positives, I have to take a paragraph or two to vent about what I don’t like about these cards. My first and primary complaint is the squeezing three difference images onto this card. In doing so, they ended up under utilizing space like crazy and it leads me to all sorts of questions about the judgement of the design team for this card.

Like why have that tiny image of Jordan on the bottom left? Why have Jordan’s name cut right through the middle of this card? Why leave all the blank space in the upper left quadrant of this card? And why not at least take the images on the right side all the way to the edge? That sliver of border is another waste of space.

I know I don’t speak for everyone, but when I started seeing the hologram cards as a 9-year-old back in 1993, I was excited. But the older I got, the worse and worse these looked. I have no way of knowing the general sense of collectors in the mid-90s, but my Spidey sense tells me the hologram wasn’t a hit, so why include a tiny hologram on these cards in the bottom right? Again, this is another horrible waste of space.

The most troubling issue for me is that they actually featured awesome photographs in the upper right quadrant of these cards. However, as a result of so much wasted space, the marquee photos didn’t get the card real estate they deserved. I would have loved to see that Jordan or Kobe shot blown up to fill the entirety of the card and get rid of the other two worthless images, minimize the text, and do away with all the other wasted space elements this card set has.

Alright alright, I’ve got the venting out of my system so now its time to check out some of the prices for these cards and see how the high grades have done over the past two years or so.

There were forty different players covered in the 1996-97 SP Holoview set, but I’m only going to review the four players with the most data available on PSA’s website. Those four players include Michael Jordan (166 graded cards), Kobe Bryant (86 graded cards), Allen Iverson (58 graded cards), and surprisingly Jermaine O’Neal (29 graded cards).

Nothing against Jermaine O’Neal, but there are other outstanding players that simply don’t have data on their Holoview cards, such as Shaq, Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett, sir Charles Barkley, and more. Just a bit odd that JO makes this list while so many greats aren’t being graded by collectors. Maybe the prices will shine some light as to why this is…

Jermaine O’Neal (PC31)

I’m going to shy away from revisiting the pictures and design elements of this card because if you read the top section of this post you know I’m not pleased. Although I will say that I forget O’Neal started his career in Portland, so seeing him in the Blazers uniform threw me off for a second. Anyway, lets get to the prices of this card and maybe find our answer to why JO has almost 30 graded copies.

1996 SP Holoviews Jermaine O’Neal #PC31

At the moment, there are 9 PSA 10s, 17 PSA 9s, and three cards with a grade below PSA 9. And while PSA has 29 graded cards on record, their database for card sale transactions is limited to three, so this will be quick. Unsurprisingly, all the PSA graded cards, regardless of grade, have sold for under $9 and I don’t anticipate demand changing anytime soon so the mystery of why there are so many graded copies is not being solved today.

Allen Iverson (PC28)

Thankfully with the Iverson card, and with the other two I’m covering, there is much more to talk about, because PSA has more than three sales transactions. Of the 58 cards listed on PSA’s website, only 8 are PSA 10s, 38 are PSA 9s, and the remaining 12 are below a PSA 9.

1996 SP Holoviews Allen Iverson #PC28

Looking at the sales transactions for the AI Holoview card, PSA doesn’t have as much as I would like (only 1 PSA sale thus far in 2020), but at least its more to work with than the Jermaine O’Neal card.

If you’re an Iverson collector, you are not going to like the data trend for this card, because at best the trend is flat but it looks like this card is decreasing in value. The sale this year was of a PSA 9 and it sold back in January for $11.61. The average price for the three PSA 9s that sold in 2018 was about $12.50. And going back to July 7, 2017 a PSA 9 sole for nearly $30.

Perhaps with the craziness surrounding COVID card purchases, a PSA 9 might be back up in the $25+ range, but prior to COVID-19 the Iverson Holoviews looked to be heading in the wrong direction.

In case you were wondering about the PSA 10s, there is only one sales transaction listed on the PSA website and that card sold way back on September 11, 2016 for $105. Given the rarity of the PSA 10 copies of this card, I’d be willing to guess the same card would be worth at least 2-3x what it sold for back in 2016, but I’d love to see a new data point to confirm my assumption.

Kobe Bryant (PC18)

I mentioned at the start of this post that one of the things I did like about the Kobe holoview was the write up on the back. The final two sentences of the Kobe Holoview write up say:

“Perhaps no move involved more risk than the trade which sent longtime Laker center Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for high school sensation Kobe Bryant. Bryant is no stranger to the pro game, his father, Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant played in the NBA during the 1970s and 1980s.”

I like this write up because it shows the thought process the Lakers struggled with in acquiring Kobe, a player who skipped college ball and went straight to he pros. Obviously this couldn’t have worked out any better, but at the time this was a risky move.

The back also mentions Joe Bryant’s basketball career, an interesting fact that I think many basketball fans and collectors (myself included) were simply not aware of.

1996 SP Holoviews Kobe Byrant #PC18

Unlike the other two cards I’ve covered thus far, the Kobe Holoview from this set is on a strong upward trend. Of the 86 PSA graded cards, only 7 are graded a 10, 63 are a PSA 9, and the remaining 16 are a lower grade.

In July, 2020 there was both a PSA 10 sale and a PSA 9 sale. The PSA 10 sold on July 22 for $4,551 and the PSA 9 sold a day later for $1,075. The other PSA 9 sales I’ve summed up in the table below.

DATEPSA 9 Sale Price
6/30/2020$500
5/1/2020$255
4/22/2020$283
2/23/2020$227
2/15/2020$304
1/26/2020$200

As you can see, the prices for the PSA 9s have been steadily rising, and the price more than doubled from June 30th to July 23rd! The most recent sale could certainly be an outlier, but the trend is certainly pointing to higher demand from collectors for this card.

The PSA 10 trend is a bit more difficult to access, since there are so few PSA 10 sales and only four listed on PSA’s website. However, the three sales from 2019 all sold between $1,650 and $2,450 so there looks to be fairly strong upward momentum for the PSA 10 as well.

Michael Jordan (PC5)

The last card on the list, and the one with the most PSA graded cards, is the Jordan card. After seeing the prices for the Kobe Holoview, the Jordan card prices will come as a bit of a let down. Of the 166 graded Jordan cards, 30 have a PSA 10 grade, 104 are PSA 9s, and the remaining 32 are something below a PSA 9.

1996 SP Holoviews Michael Jordan #PC5

Like I said, prices aren’t impressive after seeing the Kobe card. The two most recent sales for the Jordan card were both PSA 10s, and the prices were $384 (back in July) and $350 (back in April). The most recent sale of the PSA 9 was from back in March, 2020 and that card sold for $68.

If we go back to last summer, we see the PSA 10s were selling for around $250 while the PSA 9s were going for $100-$150. This is a bit interesting because it suggests there may be a divergence between the top graded PSA 10s, which look to continue to increase in value, and the PSA 9s, which may be decreasing in value. As an owner of an ungraded card myself, I hope all these cards start to show strong increases in value in the not too distant future, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a price divergence like this before so at least it looks like I’ve spotted something interesting.

In closing, I’m not a big fan of these cards and other than the Kobe and the top rated Jordan card, it looks like collectors in general think the same way I do. The wasted space for these cards and the low quality holograph really makes this an unappealing set, but just as some people really like ugly dogs, I’m sure a few collectors out there like these poorly crafted cards. If you do, it should be pretty easy to grab nearly every player in this set without breaking the bank.

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