Friday, July 31, 2020

Overpriced base cards

**quick aside, on many of my recent posts, after I publish the post, I can't get them to show up on people's blog rolls or in RSS readers.  Anyone know why?  Doesn't always happen, but sometimes.**

As I have come back to the hobby recently, I keep finding things that I am a little confused about.  Nothing major.  Mush of the hobby is still run by money and prospecting, and knowing that answers a lot of my questions.  But on some of these, I just need someone who has been around to fill me in.  And a lot of my readers have loads of that kind of experience.  So I will be asking questions now and then, hoping for any and all input you may have.

Today's questions are about basketball cards, next time will be baseball.

Here are some basic prices gleaned from recently completed Ebay sales for Lebron James Topps and Topps Chrome cards

2004-05 topps $85-125
2004-05 topps Chrome $200-250
2005-06 topps $15-25
2005-06 topps Chrome no good data
2006-07 topps $5-10
2006-07 topps Chrome $50-100
2007-08 topps $2-8
2007-08 topps Chrome $25-50

So far I think I get it.  The Chrome cards are more expensive, and the basic dollars go down every year, as we get further into Lebron's career.

Then comes the 2008-09 set, and the pattern changes, at least for Lebron (and Kobe, but more on that later).  Why are the LeBron and Kobe cards sooooo much more expensive than the rest of the 08-09 Topps and Topps Chrome sets? Are they short printed? I don't see an indication of that really.  Is it just some mass hysteria?

2008-09 Lebron - non-Chrome $30-$70
2008-09 Lebron - Chrome $80-$150

Those prices are not in line with the gradual decline as we go through his career.  In fact, they are a massive u-turn!!

And as for Kobe, I didn't do the year-by-year lead up in prices, but his 08-09 topps cards are even crazier:

Here are the ranges for some recent sales on Ebay:
Kobe(Lebron guarding) non-Chrome - between $40 and $125
Kobe(Lebron guarding) Chrome - between $125 and $1000!!!

Pretty intense.  Obviously, these two would have the highest priced base cards in most sets, but this year especially, they seem out of whack.  Am I right?  Is this the same story as other years of Topps cards and I just haven't done the research?  Is there more to the story or something I am missing?

On another note, while I was researching those prices on Ebay, I noticed that there are 2 copies of this card currently for sale:

It is an 08-09 Radiance (don't know anything about that set, honestly).  One is up for $1699 and another for $2370 (graded 9.5).  No bids on either, no surprise, but my question is what would you expect a copy of this card to go for in reality world?  I have one of the 299 copies of this card that exist, so I would be very interested.


  1. Wow. Makes me wish I would’ve picked up some basketball cards. Are people really paying those kinds of prices?

    1. It looks like it. Those are from completed listings. Crazy, huh?

  2. I don't have any insight on the card prices, partly because basketball is outside my collecting wheelhouse. I do know that your last few posts have appeared on my blogroll because that's how I access blogs I read. And I know I've read your last several posts. Blogger does some weird stuff sometimes. It doesn't show my image thumbnails on blog rolls probably about 75% of the time. It drives me nuts, but I can't figure out how to fix it!

    1. Yeah, blogger is a tough nut to crack. On a few posts, I wait for a while for people to access the post, and nobody does. So I check blogrolls and it is not there. Then I have edited the post a few times, and eventually it shows up on blogrolls, and only then do people start viewing the page. I don't know why.

  3. I noticed people paying big money for the 2008-09 Chrome Kobe a few months ago. Not sure why... but I'm glad I own the card, because it's pretty cool to see Lebron guarding him.

    1. Yeah, it is a cool card. Still don't understand the pricing.

  4. I'm not a basketball collector, but I'm fairly certain the LeBron from that '08 set goes for crazy prizes because it's become sort of an iconic card due to the great image. With the Kobe, since it has LeBron on it it's been noted that it's sort of like a "changing of the guard" card almost in terms of one all-time great to the next. So, I think you hit the nail on the head with mass hysteria/demand for those two...

    If you're not tied to that Radiance LeBron you should consider listing it and using the proceeds to land a white whale or two (if you have any)...

  5. Basketball is insane right now. Year after player rookies are holding pretty steady. Both base and parallels especially for products like chrome, Prizm and optic

  6. My first thought was it was the last year for Topps basketball, but that honor goes to the 2009-2010 set. I would have to agree with shoeboxlegends...LeBron's card has a memorable image, and the Kobe card has the 2 best players at the time going at it. I would assume Kobe's death earlier in the year is a factor with his cards.