Only a few days to go before 2020 officially comes to a close but oh what a year its been. While most of us are eagerly looking forward to 2021, I wanted to recap 2020 from a basketball card collectors perspective.
With that said, below are my top picks of pictures that most captured 2020 from the eyes of a basketball fan and card collector.
California Helicopter Crash
2020 got off to a terrible start, when the news broke of a helicopter crash in southern California on January 26th. All nine on board lost their lives, including Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna.
$1.8M Lebron Rookie Card
The basketball card story sale that grabbed every collectors attention in July was the sale of a short printed Lebron James 9.5 BGS 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch for $1.8M at auction. People took notice and the sports card as an investment story really started to gain momentum.
NBA Bubble / Virtual Fans
When the final few games of the regular season resumed in late July, fans were not allowed inside the NBA Bubble, so virtual fans ‘gathered’ to watch games and stay safe. #Alonetogether
I wonder if there were any basketball cards created this year with Obama in the background?
Jordan Rookie Exceeds $100K
On August 31st a PSA 10 1986 Fleer Jordan rookie card (#57) sold for $111,000, marking the first time this GEM MINT Jordan rookie cleared $100K. In less than four months the price of PSA 10 Jordan rookies would double, with three selling in December at or above $200K!
Zion Williamson Rookies
Zion Williamson was hands down the most hyped rookie of the 2019-2020 season and demand for his rookie cards were through the roof. In July one fan struck gold when he received a Panini Prizm Gold Zion Williamson rookie (#248) from a Dave and Adam’s Card World case break. This card later sold at a December auction for $118K.
Larry Bird Tomato
In early August Larry Bird was trending on social media and many people feared the worst. First Kobe, now maybe Bird? But the reality was someone found a tomato that just resembled Bird and every basketball social media account pushed the story to provide 2020 with some much needed comic relief.
But no one appeared to pick up on Rick Fox in the background.
Lakers win Championship #17
After the awful Kobe Bryant news to start there year, there was a bit of poetic justice in the Lakers winning their 17th title in October, tied for most all time with the Boston Celtics. For the fourth time in his career, Lebron James was named the finals MVP in addition to winning his fourth NBA championship. What’s the value of this $1.8M rookie worth now?
Hall Of Fame Announcement
One of the top stories on NBA.com at the end of November was the addition of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett into the Basketball Hall of Fame in May 2021. Those 3 players have 11 Champions between them (5 each for Bryant and Duncan, Garnett has one). All three players were shoe-ins for the HOF, but the news is still exciting for fans and collectors alike.
On November 30th, the announcement came that Nat Turner and a team of investors had come together to take Collectors Universe (NASDAQ: CLCT; parent company of PSA) private. The deal, valuing Collectors Universe at $75.25 per share, is being reexamined since it may have been rushed and there is some speculation it was a ‘sweetheart’ deal.
Whatever type of deal it was, it was another data point establishing a very bullish narrative around sports cards as alternative investments.
Giannis’ 2nd $1M+ Rookie
Lebron wasn’t the only player who had a rookie card sell for over $1M. The 1 of 1 2013-14 Panini Prizm Black Mosaic Giannis Antetokounmpo rookie with a 9.5 BGS grade sold in December for $1.17M. This was actually the 2nd GA rookie to sell for over $1M in 2020.
Everyone in 2020 had some major event cancelled. For sports card collectors, one of the big events that got cancelled was the National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC), initially planned to be hosted in Atlantic City, NJ. After the boom in sports card collecting in 2020, I bet next years convention in Chicago will see a record turnout.