Market Guide: LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards
Posted on 7/31/2022
The 2020-2021 NBA season saw a lot of excitement about LaMelo Ball. This young basketball player had already made national news with his incredible performance on his high school and international teams in Lithuania and Australia. He comes from a family of basketball players, so there's already great confidence in his ability. When he was drafted third overall by the Charlotte Hornets, speculation started immediately about the value of his rookie cards.
Unfortunately, his first season in the NBA was cut short due to a wrist injury. But that did not damage interest in his cards, and he still managed to win Rookie of the Year Honors. Fans are expecting big things from Ball as he continues his career, and he's still turning heads as he enters his sophomore year in the sport.
Although the first LaMelo Ball rookie cards were produced in 2020-2021 basketball sets, they are not the first cards to feature the player. Leaf released many cards, starting in 2018, including some autograph cards. These are still in high demand because it's unusual to have cards featuring a player before their rookie cards have been released.
That said, a LaMelo Ball rookie card is an excellent addition to any collection, and there are over 469 to choose from in the 2020-2021 sets. This guide will take you through some of the best picks from his first year.
Deciding whether a card is a good investment is never an exact science. Factors to consider include rarity, the card's uniqueness, and the player's popularity. Based on his performance so far, LaMelo Ball has a long and successful career in the NBA ahead of him. It's a relatively safe bet he'll be a popular player in the future, maintaining interest in his cards even after he's no longer playing.
LaMelo Ball rookie cards should hold their value, but you'll want to focus on uniqueness and rarity when deciding which ones to go for. Finding rare parallels, cards with a limited print run, and autographed cards will increase the investment potential of your collection.
If you're considering LaMelo Ball rookie cards as an investment, it's probably best to think long-term. Modern high-population cards are currently not selling well, and investors are either breaking even or making only a small profit. It's a buyer's market right now, and many investors are choosing to hold on to cards.
The hobby, in general, is also leaning towards newer segments, like UFC and Formula 1, so basketball cards are marginally less valuable at the moment. Ball rookie cards are still considered one of the best investments by many collectors, but many investors predict the best returns once he has a successful career behind him.
The Best LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards
2020–21 Panini National Treasures RC Auto Patch #130 ($31,000)
The National Treasures set was first launched in the 2009-2010 season and has been the pinnacle of basketball cards ever since. These sets are so desirable because they contain very little filler, instead opting for small collections of high-value cards. The production value of the sets is very high as they focus on highly collectible cards featuring the most popular players.
The LaMelo Ball rookie card from this set is currently the most valuable of all his rookie cards. It features a large patch in the center, and Ball autographed it. Perhaps most importantly, only 99 copies of this rookie card have been produced. It's already set to be one of the highest-performing rookie cards out there, and prices are through the roof. Even ungraded cards can sell on eBay for over $31,000, and collectors wouldn't be surprised if the value increased over time. Current prices are in line with the valuations from Sports Cards Pro, who estimate that a mint condition card is worth $59,707.75.
2020-21 Panini Black LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #78 (£270)
The Panini Black LaMelo Rookie Card is another of their exclusive online releases. It has an excellent dual-photo design, with a full body shot on the front and a black and white portrait along the top. The design is a draw for collectors, but the limited print run of 149 is what really gives this card its value. The parallels are also very limited, so this card will most likely grow in value.
Sports Cards Pro values the Panini Black LaMelo Ball Rookie Card at around $270, in good condition, so it's a relatively affordable card for investors. There's also a variation available with a full-body image in black and white and the portrait in color. If you can find one of these, it may hold its value better in the future, though they're worth the same as the standard card. This one sold for $300, for example.
2020-21 Donruss Elite LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #134 ($165)
The Donruss Elite cards have a reputation for being high-end, although that is changing slightly. Plus, the definition of high-end is constantly shifting, and Elite doesn't necessarily carry the same weight as it once did. That said, it's still a popular set among collectors and investors.
The scarcity of rookies (2 per pack) makes this Elite LaMelo Ball rookie card a good one to go for. This set was sold exclusively online, so availability will be slightly more limited in the future. However, online exclusives are less impactful than they used to be since many collectors purchase cards online anyway.
2020-21 Panini Prizm LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #278 ($150)
Prizm remains an incredibly popular choice for investors and collectors alike. In fact, many people prioritize Prizm cards in their collection, and if they're going to buy only one rookie card, it will be a Prizm. So, it's no surprise that the Prizm LaMelo Ball rookie card is highly sought after. Although it's not the rarest or most valuable of the Ball rookie cards, it's considered the cornerstone of any good set, and the rest of his rookie cards will be measured against it.
If you're looking to pick one up, you could expect to pay up to $17,000 for a Blue Shimmer Prizm Rookie card in mint condition. Other colors are more affordable (red, white, and blue, for example, are valued at around $81). According to Sports Cards Pro, the fair market value for the standard LaMelo Ball Prizm Rookie Card is between $45 and $150, depending on the condition. As you would expect from Prizm, there's an extensive range of parallels to search for, which adds to the collectibility of this rookie card.
2020-21 Court Kings LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #97 ($82.44)
The Court Kings set is an evolution of the Diamond Kings subset from the 1980s. These cards have a more flexible artistic style, breaking the mold and giving variety to your collection. This rookie card is the most common in the set and a good one to aim for. It doesn't have any parallels, but it's quite easy to find on eBay for $10-$15 ungraded. However, a card in excellent condition can go for much more. It is valued at $82.44 by Sports Cards Pro, but if you can find it for significantly less, which you often can, it may be worth buying.
Although it doesn't have any parallels, there are three more LaMelo Ball rookie cards in this set. They all have different designs and rarity. The #130 card can easily sell for upwards of $200 in the right condition. The #163, which has a striking colorful background design, is worth a similar amount on eBay, and even cards in less than perfect condition still sell for over $250. But it's the rare #196 that commands the highest price. It can be difficult to find for sale, and it's valued at $1,400 in mint condition.
2020-21 Clearly Donruss LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #87 ($72.12)
The 2020-2021 season is the second year of producing the Clearly Donruss spinoff. This set is a twist on the main Donruss set. The significant difference is that they're printed on acetate, so you get a clear-backed card with a unique design. The freshness of the design has made these cards a big hit with collectors since they were released, and the new set continues to have the same appeal.
The LaMelo Clearly Donruss rookie card features a different image from the main set, so it stands out. This one is an exciting card for collectors, and the unusual design appeals to investors. Priceguide.cards value this card at $72.12.
2020-21 Crown Royale LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #79 ($70)
Interesting designs always boost the value of a card slightly, even if it's just a gimmick. The Crown Royale brand, built from the Pacific Trading Cards brand in the late 90s, has a die-cut crown shape on top of the card. It gives it a striking look that you won't find with any other LaMelo Ball rookie cards. Although it has no autographs, isn't numbered, and has far fewer copies available than most other Ball rookie cards, it's still interesting for many collectors who feel it's a worthwhile addition to any collection.
Currently, it's quite affordable, and the average value is around $70. Some rarer parallels, like the Purple Crystal, sell for over $200, but the more common ones can be found for $20-30. While this isn't a high-end card that matches the value of the National Treasures rookie card or some of the Prizm parallels, it's a fairly safe investment at a reasonable price and a unique collector's piece.
2020-21 Hoops LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #223 ($41.79)
NBA Hoops is a classic set with widespread appeal. It's easy to find, and there are a lot of parallels to collect, making it a reliable set for collectors and investors. The 2020-2021 Hoops set also contained the first LaMelo Ball rookie card available for purchase, which gives it a little more collectible value.
A mint condition Hoops LaMelo Ball Rookie Card can fetch up to $41.79. according to valuations from Sports Cards Pro. But the red parallel is worth more. Sports Cards Pro values a mint condition example at up to $611.67.
While this might not be the rarest or most valuable Ball rookie card out there, it's a brilliant collector's piece as it's readily available and was the first one released.
2020-21 Donruss LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #202 ($40)
The Donruss cards are a staple set for collectors and investors. They're similar to the NBA Hoops cards because they have large print runs. There's a 200-card base set and a 50-card Rated Rookie set with lots of parallels to find, and the relatively affordable price also makes them popular.
Many variations of this card can be picked up on eBay for about $5, which is a good price for a card that has been valued at $40. But there are some more valuable versions available. The Holo Red Laser parallel, for example, is valued at up to $5,100.
It's unlikely you'll find one of the rarest parallels, but any version of this rookie card has broad appeal and is likely to be desirable for years to come, so it's a key part of any collector's set.
2020-21 Absolute Memorabilia LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #12 ($14)
The Absolute Memorabilia sets are designed to be excellent collector's items, with a strong focus on memorabilia and autographs. LaMelo Ball has some impressive rookie cards in this set with autographed cards and an excellent foil base card. This is a nicely designed card with a dynamic picture.
Many people will be drawn straight to the autographed rookie cards in the set, so this card may slip under the radar a little. However, there aren't many base cards in each box of the Absolute Memorabilia cards, so this one will be fairly uncommon.
Value-wise, it isn't top of the list. Some parallels sell for around $60-$100 on eBay, while other more common ones can be picked up for less than $5. Sports Cards Pro puts the value at around $14. They are quite easy to get hold of and are a reliable rookie card for your LaMelo Ball collection.
There are never any guarantees in sports card collecting, and only time will tell which cards hold value. That said, any players with a strong career behind them will enter the ranks of basketball royalty, and that usually means their cards are valuable. LaMelo Ball looks set to have a strong career, so his rookie cards are likely to hold their value in the future. There is a good range out there, many of them very affordable, so now is the time to pick them up before the price potentially increases.
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