Market Guide: Justin Herbert Rookie Cards

Posted on 4/13/2022

Want to collect or invest in Justin Herbert rookie cards? Our market guide will help you find the best cards.

Justin Herbert started as the Chargers quarterback in the second game of the 2020 season, replacing an injured Tyrod Tayler. Since then, Herbert has established himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the game. He broke a string of rookie records with 31 passing touchdowns, 36 total touchdowns, 396 completions, eight games with over 300 passing yards, and six games with over three touchdowns. In the last game of the season, he became the youngest player to throw 30 touchdowns in a single season.

Justin Herbert's impressive performance earned him multiple awards, including the Rookie of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie by the Professional Football Writers of America, plus the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month twice and the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Year. His second season continued in the same way, and he now holds records for the most passing yards and most completions in the first two seasons of his NFL career.

As you would expect with an opening season like that, there's a lot of interest in Justin Herbert's rookie cards. In September 2022, two of his one-of-a-kind rookie cards sold for over $1 million. The first was the 2020 Panini National Treasures Platinum NFL Shield autographed card, which was auctioned for $1.8 million. A 2020 Panini Prizm Black Finite Justin Herbert rookie card also went for $1.1 million.

Many excellent Justin Herbert rookie cards may interest investors or people looking to build their personal collections. 2020 was a very interesting year for sports card collecting, and there was a lot of growth. In fact, reports show a 142% increase in card sales on eBay and that growth is expected to continue. This surge in interest in sports card trading means availability for 2020 cards may be higher, and more of them are in the hands of serious collectors and investors. So you may see a lot of great Justin Herbert rookie cards for sale over the next few years. This guide will help you determine which cards you might want to consider.

Investment Potential

Fans have high hopes about the future of Herbert's career, and if he continues to perform at the same level he has demonstrated so far, it may add to the collectibility of his cards.

Some cards have sold for incredibly high prices, like the two one-of-a-kind examples that went for over $1 million. However, there are still many good options for investors with a more conservative budget.

Cards with unique features like autographs are often attractive to collectors. Anything with a limited print run usually catches people's attention too, and collectors may be willing to pay a higher price for them in the future. But much of the popularity is still based on specific sets, even if the cards are quite easy to get hold of. For example, Prizm tends to be popular, even if it's not the most expensive or limited set. Collectors predict that a Justin Herbert card from this set will hold its value well.

As a general rule, rookie cards from star players like Herbert are popular for collectors early on and into the future, making them a reasonably safe investment. The good thing about his rookie cards is that you don't need to pay much money to get a desirable card. Some of the more common ones are equally interesting to investors and collectors, making Herbert rookie cards an accessible investment option for anybody.

If you want to add some Justin Herbert rookie cards to your collection, here are some of the best ones to look out for.

The Best Justin Herbert Rookie Cards

2020 Panini Absolute Kaboom Justin Herbert RC ($4000)

The Absolute Kaboom insert is a fan favorite because the design makes it stand out from all the other rookie cards, and it isn't easy to find in packs. The shiny background and big cartoon KABOOM are the backdrop to a stylistic illustration of Justin Herbert clutching the ball and preparing to run. There's also an alternative with a different image of him surveying the field.

This is one of the most valuable Justin Herbert rookie cards out there, with an average price of $4000 for a card in good condition. Mint condition cards have been sold for as much as $13,000. There is also a gold parallel to search for, which is far more valuable. PriceGuide.Cards have records of the gold Justin Herbert Kaboom selling for $11,300.

This card is on the higher end of the spectrum, but if you want to invest a significant amount of money in a Justin Herbert rookie card, this could be the one to go for.

2020 Panini Contenders Justin Herbert Rookie Ticket #104 Autograph ($3450)

Rookie Ticket cards from the Contenders sets are a thematic variation that appeals to football fans. They also have more potential collectible value because they're so different from other cards. The cards take their design from an actual match ticket with a row and seat number. They also feature an excellent photo of the player alongside the ticket.

The 2020 Panini Contenders set has an excellent Justin Herbert rookie card, complete with an autograph, which boosts the value. This card is valued at $3450 but could be worth as much as $5700 if it's in perfect condition.

There's also a variation you should look for. It features a different image and a small icon of the Chargers helmet instead of the logo on the standard card. You'll also find a small "V" on the back next to the number to signify this is the variation card. A mint condition example of the variation is valued at $6300.

2020 Panini Prizm Justin Herbert RC #325 ($500)

For many collectors, Panini Prizm is the pinnacle of sports cards and rookie cards from this set, and they're often considered the top ones to go for. So if you're building a collection of Justin Herbert rookie cards, you might want the Prizm RC #325 on your wish list. This card's price varies a lot, but the average value for graded and ungraded cards is around $500. It has sold for much more, but also much less. Keep a lookout for this card and monitor prices on eBay regularly so you can catch it at a low price and maximize the potential investment returns in the future.

There's also an autographed version of this rookie card, which is worth a lot of money. PriceGuide.Cards have data of a previous sale worth $15,000. These cards are much rarer, but if you see one and you're willing to make a significant investment, it's worth considering.

2020 Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Justin Herbert RC # 156 ($190)

The Herbert Rated Rookie card from the Donruss Optic set may also be worth investing in. The Donruss Optic sets often contain some of the rarest rookie cards, which makes them popular. The Optic version of the Justin Herbert Rated Rookie has a shiny backing, and it's slightly harder to find than the rookie from a standard Donruss set but still relatively accessible. It's valued at just under $190 by SportsCardsPro, but mint condition cards could be worth over $220.

The autographed version of this card is valuable too. It has sold for almost $7000 in the past, and the average value can be as high as $2050. This card is harder to find and has a much higher entry price, but if you can afford it, it's worthwhile because autographed rookie cards tend to be desirable for collectors in the future.

Rare parallels are also a sensible option for investors, and the Donruss Optic set is known for having many good ones. The Orange Parallel, for example, is valued as high as $2373.37, and the Aqua Parallel could be worth up to $1520. If you can pick up any parallels, there's a pretty good chance they'll be worth more than the standard card.

You'll also find the ever-popular Downtown insert in this set. These are often one of the most sought-after rookie cards due to their unique designs and relative rarity. The Justin Herbert Downtown insert shows him with two robot football players beside him, with the L.A. skyline in the background. Graded Downtown inserts are valued at an average of $4392.39 by PriceGuide.Cards.

2020 Donruss Rated Rookie Justin Herbert RC #303 ($68)

Standard Donruss sets should always be on your radar because they offer many cards and are relatively affordable. Nevertheless, they're popular, and the sets have a lot of interesting parallels and inserts, so collectors often pay close attention to Donruss cards. The Rated Rookie cards are easy rookie cards to find, and while basic, they're one of the core rookie cards that many people like to build their collections around.

The Justin Herbert rookie card from this set is similar in design to some older rookie cards, with the classic Rated Rookie logo and a simple, non-shiny background. The price of this card is very low, so investors can buy several of them and get them rated in hopes of finding some mint condition cards that will hold their value better. Currently, SportsCardsPro values mint condition cards at $133, though some have sold for as much as $235. A less-than-mint card is valued at around $68.

2020 Panini Mosaic Justin Herbert Rookie RC #204 ($59)

The Panini Mosaic set is new, but it's already matching other Optichrome® sets like Prizm and Optic in terms of popularity. The Mosaic collections were launched in 2015 for basketball, but the 2020 set was the first for NFL cards. There are some excellent parallels and inserts to hunt for and a few rare autographs that only appeared at a rate of one or two per box. If collectors take to this set in the same way as the Prizm sets, cards from the first season have the potential to be popular in the future.

The Justin Herbert rookie card from this set has a simple design with a striking action shot image. You'll also find the unique Mosaic logo in the corner of the card and a reflective foil back. This isn't a costly card — SportsCardsPro values it at $59, in near mint condition. They do have records of the card selling for as much as $127.49 in mint condition, but you can usually find it for much less than this.

Although it may not be the most valuable Justin Herbert rookie card out there, this is a great card from an up-and-coming set, which has the potential to be as popular as Prizm in the future. The low entry price means it's a low-risk card to add to your set.

2020 Panini Select Field Level #344 ($50)

Panini Select has a large base set with some excellent rookie cards. In the 2020 set, there are four Justin Herbert rookie cards, split into different tiers: Concourse, Premier, Club, and Field. They vary in rarity, and the Field Level is the hardest to find.

It's not a particularly exciting card compared to others on this list. Even so, it's a reliable mid-range card for investors who want something with value but don't want to pay thousands. It's currently valued at $177.90 for a mint condition card, but a less-than-mint card will only cost around $50.

Final Thoughts

A Justin Herbert rookie card could be an excellent addition to your personal collection, and investors might also have their eyes on them. Herbert's career has been remarkable, and his rookie cards promise to be of interest in the future. Plus, rookie cards are available at all price ranges, so you have a lot of flexibility if you decide to invest.

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