Zion Williamson Rookie Card Market Guide

Posted on 3/7/2023

Are Zion Williamson rookie cards a good investment? Here's how to find the best Williamson rookie cards, plus tips for getting your cards graded.

Zion Williamson is one of the most exciting NBA prospects to enter the league in recent history. Still only 22 years old, the young power forward has looked unstoppable at times on the court. However, his early pro career has been riddled with injuries and he's yet to play an entire season. While this could potentially hamper his rookie card values, Williamson is still in the early days of his NBA career, so this could be a great time to purchase his rookie cards. Read on to find out more about some of his most sought-after cards from his debut NBA season, along with their current market values.

Who Is Zion Williamson?

When Zion Williamson burst on the NBA scene in 2019, he was already a nationally recognized high school and college basketball star. As a five-star prospect, he was recruited in 2018 by the Duke University Blue Devils, where he won the Atlantic Coast Conference's (ACC) Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Athlete of the Year titles.

In 2019, the New Orleans Pelicans selected Williamson with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. During his debut season, he became the first rookie player since Michael Jordan to score at least 20 points in 16 of his first 20 games. In addition, he logged the highest-scoring average for a player's first 24 games since Jordan in 1983. These breakout scores led to his being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

The following year, he again broke records for scoring at least 20 points in 10 straight games, more than any other teenage player in the history of the NBA. Then, in February 2021, he scored a new career high of 36 points in a single game. Later that month, Williamson became the fourth-youngest player to be named to an NBA All-Star game. That season, Williamson also achieved a streak of 25 consecutive 20-plus point games, tying Shaquille O'Neal's record.

Williamson was out for the 2021-2022 season due to a fracture in his right foot but returned in October 2022. By the end of the month, he was back to scoring 20-plus points per game, leading the Pelicans to decisive victories over teams like the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets. Yet another injury sidelined the forward in 2023 and he's currently missing out on the playoffs. The potential is clearly there but only time will tell when it comes to Williamson's NBA legacy.

Are Zion Williamson Rookie Cards Valuable?

Zion Williamson was the NBA's hottest draft pick for the 2019-2020 season, and his rookie card sales quickly skyrocketed upon release. Unfortunately, the remainder of the 2020-2021 season was suspended due to COVID-19, and Williamson suffered a season-ending fracture shortly afterward — factors that limited his presence on the court.

Fortunately, his much-heralded return to basketball showed that the time off-court didn't slow him down. He came back earlier this season and picked right back up where he left off. As he faces another stretch of injury-related issues late in the season, collectors and investors alike will want to keep an eye on his return. If he can stay healthy and keep playing up to his potential, the popularity of his cards should continue to grow.

Investment Potential for Zion Williamson Rookie Cards

With a breakout rookie season and a string of broken records in his first two seasons, Williamson is one of the most exciting new players in the NBA. As one of the most exciting young players in the league when healthy, investors are keen on his memorabilia, especially his rookie cards.

If Williamson continues in this direction, he may well evolve from celebrity to legend status — and legendary players are the ones who fuel the sports card market.  

Sites like PriceGuide.Cards, SportsCardsPro and Sports Card Investor track past and present sales from online auctions. You can find out about trending prices and fair market values for your cards by searching these sites.

Top Zion Williamson Rookie Cards

Panini has an exclusive license for NBA cards, so if you're looking for official Zion Williamson rookie cards, you'll want to look for Panini issues. Here are nine of the most popular and highly sought-after Williamson rookie cards:

2019 Panini Crown Royale Kaboom #18 Zion Williamson ($27,938)

For some fans, no rookie collection is complete without a Kaboom! card. Manufactured as an insert, this fun addition features the image of an exuberant Williamson scoring a basket, set against a fireworks display with the classic oversized "Kaboom!" logo in bold red and black lettering.

At PriceGuide.Cards, trends show an average Ungraded price of $2,960, an average Graded price of $6,997 and a top price of $27,938 (grades unspecified).

 At SportsCardsPro, Ungraded trends for $9,000, Grade 9 for $2,875 and Gem Mint for $5,609.

2019 Panini Flawless Diamond #98 Zion Williamson #'d/20 ($20,000)

For high-end collectors, Panini's Flawless Diamond series features cards with great investment potential in limited editions of 20 or fewer. The 2019 Flawless #98 is especially attractive, with a great action shot of Williamson attacking the rim. Plus, it features the forward in his blue Duke Blue Devils uniform. He's framed in front of a white and gold background, topped off by the "Flawless" logo above.

At PriceGuide.Cards, prices trend at an average of $2,751 for Ungraded and $2,517 for Graded, with a top price of $20,000 (grades unspecified).

2019 Panini Spectra Rookie Jersey Autographs #181 Zion Williamson #'d/60 ($7,350)

This rookie patch autograph card is worth hunting for because the edition is only numbered up to 60. It features an action image of Williamson at the right, a jersey patch embedded at the left and a bold signature at the bottom.

PriceGuide.Cards shows prices are trending at an average of $1,937 for Ungraded, $2,562 for Graded and a top price of $7,350 (grade unspecified).

2019 Panini Prizm Draft Picks #1 Zion Williamson ($3,999)

No rookie card collection is complete without a good selection of Panini Prizm Draft Picks cards, and this classic gem features an exciting action shot of Williamson about to dunk the ball while still in college. In addition to the Base version, this card came in a wide range of parallel colors as well.

At PriceGuide.Cards, the Base card trends for an average price of $15 for Ungraded and $51 for Graded, with a top price of $3,999 (grade unspecified).

At SportsCardsPro, the Ungraded Base card trends at $3, Grade 7 at $8, Grade 8 at $11 and Grade 9 at $12. Grade 9.5 trends at $22.50, and Gem Mint at $31.

2019 Donruss Rated Rookie #201 Zion Williamson ($3,184)

Always a fan favorite, this Donruss Rated Rookie card shows an energetic image of Williamson with the ball, looking like he's ready to score. It's set against a simple silvery-black background with gold striping, with the "Rated Rookie" logo in vivid blue at the lower left.

PriceGuide.Cards shows an average Ungraded price of $33 and an average Graded price of $74, with the top price paid for any card reaching $3,184.

There are also several parallels in different colors. According to SportsCardsPro, the tracking site shows prices trending at $5 for Ungraded, $6 for Grade 8, $13.50 for Grade 9, $26 for Grade 9.5 and $37 for Gem Mint.

Further, the Green Laser parallel trends at $81 Ungraded, $356 for Grade 9 and $445 for Gem Mint. Orange Laser trends at $112 for Ungraded, $95 for Grade 8, $165 for Grade 9, $182 for Grade 9.5 and $314 for Gem Mint. Yellow Laser trends at $54 for Ungraded, $33 for Grade 8, $191 for Grade 9 and $173 for Gem Mint. Infinite trends at $75 for Ungraded, $70 for Grade 7, $96 for Grade 8, $106 for Grade 9, $125 for Grade 9.5 and $176 for Gem Mint.

2019 Panini Illusions #151 Zion Williamson ($2,574)

This appealing card may have some historical interest for future collectors because it marks the first issue of Panini's new Illusions Basketball series, made even more special because it coincides with Williamson's rookie season. The innovative design shows an action image of Williamson running with the ball, while another black-and-white image of Williamson is at the right. The background features a silver and gray pattern, with a huge "Rookie" banner along the left-hand side.

PriceGuide.Cards shows average prices trending at $16 for Ungraded and $25 for Graded, with a top price of $2,574 (grade unspecified).

SportsCardsPro shows prices trending at $2.75 for Ungraded, $5.50 for Grade 7, $6 for Grade 8, $12.75 for Grade 9, $24 for Grade 9.5 and $36 for Gem Mint.

2019 Panini Black #66 Zion Williamson #'d/149 ($350)

Limited to only 149 prints, this high-end card bears striking dual images: one in black and white showing Williamson about to shoot a basket and a color one showing him running with the ball. In addition, the design features an intriguing graphic of reflective multi-colored swirls set against a black background, with the Pelicans logo at the top and Williamson's name in bold white letters along the side.

PriceGuide.Cards shows prices trending at an average of $120 for Ungraded, $112 for Graded, and a top price of $350 (grades unspecified).

At SportsCardsPro, prices trend at $43 for Ungraded, $51 for Grade 8, $170 for Grade 9 and $204 for Gem Mint.

Where Can I Find Zion Williamson Cards?

You can find Zion Williamson cards at a wide range of online auction sites, including:

You can also find Williamson's basketball cards at sports cards and memorabilia shows across the country. By searching Google, social media sites and sports forums, you can find out about trade shows coming to your area.

How Are Zion Williamson Cards Graded?

Sports and trading cards are graded through a universally recognized numeric system, with scores ranging from Ungraded to Perfect 10. Here's how it works:

Perfect 10:This card is graded Gem Mint across all four grading criteria: corners, surface, edges and centering. It's the absolute best a card can be and is flawless even under 10x magnification.

Gem Mint: Gem Mint cards are perfect, with sharp corners, vibrant coloring and no damage or stains.

Grade 9.5: Near-Mint condition, typically with just one minor flaw.

Grade 9: Excellent condition, with just a couple of minor flaws.

Grades 8 and below: These have condition damage or flaws and are priced lower.

Raw or Ungraded: Raw cards have just been pulled from their packages and are new to the market. Ungraded cards haven't been through the grading process and may or may not be new to the market.

Three factors drive sports card prices: condition, rarity and collector demand. Professional graders can assess condition and rarity, but collector demand will always be unknown, thanks to changing tastes and trends.

For example, a card that's rare and in Gem Mint condition won't sell if no one wants it, while a more common card in lesser condition will sell much faster if there is enough demand for it. Online auctions play a part, too, because bidding wars can drive prices even higher across the board. Plus, athletes don't always remain popular, and their card prices may diminish if people are no longer interested in that player.

Should I Get My Cards Graded?

Professional grading can give your card collection an established recognition of its quality and authenticity. With grading, certified experts will assess each card for its originality and condition and record the grade in an international database. This provides a permanent record of your card's condition and quality, which can be extremely helpful if you ever plan to sell or trade your cards.

If you're not planning to sell, you may donate your cards one day or bequeath them to friends or family members. Whether you keep your cards, donate them or leave them to your loved ones, having them graded can give them an authenticity and quality rating that they'll retain for generations to come. For further information on CSG's 10-point Grading Scale and to find out more about our industry-leading services, visit CSGcards.com.

*Any mention of "investment potential" is for entertainment only and should not be construed as investment advice. The Certified Collectibles Group does not provide investment advice and is not liable for any buy, sell or trade decisions made by any parties.

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