Tim Duncan Rookie Card Market Guide

Posted on 6/10/2022

Want to start a Tim Duncan rookie card collection? Our market guide will show you what cards to search for and give you vital information about their values.

Tim Duncan had a long, successful Hall of Fame career, but are his rookie cards worth anything? Our market guide takes you through some of his best cards to search for and gives plenty of details about their value.

Who Is Tim Duncan?

Tim Duncan's basketball career began with a tragic disaster. Growing up, he was a keen swimmer and had high hopes of following in his sister's footsteps as an Olympian. But in 1999, a hurricane destroyed all the pools on his home island of Saint Croix. Unable to train, he started playing basketball instead. He started attracting attention during his junior year at college while attending Wake Forest University in North Carolina, but he decided to finish his studies instead. In his final season, he was awarded the John R. Wooden Award for the most outstanding collegiate player in the United States.

After graduating in 1997, he was the first overall pick for the San Antonio Spurs. He hit the ground running and earned the Rookie of the Year award in his first season. The following season, he led the team to their first NBA title and earned the MVP award.

Duncan kept up this excellent performance throughout his career, leading the Spurs to five championships and earning two league MVPs and three Finals MVPs. In 2004, he lived out his childhood dream of competing in the Olympics. By the time he retired in 2017 at 40 years old, Duncan was in the top 15 NBA players of all time in career points. In 2020, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

What Makes Tim Duncan's Cards So Valuable?

Tim Duncan has an impressive career filled with championships, awards and Olympic performances. He also kept playing until he was 40, and even though his final season wasn't the best, he was still a solid player throughout. Players with that kind of record remain popular, and their cards are valuable.

Tim Duncan's rookie cards came during a transitional period. There are not as many options as you find in today's sets, but the diversity of cards started to increase in the late 1990s. That means you still get some excellent parallels and inserts, but the market is not oversaturated with Tim Duncan rookie cards. He retired recently, too, so collectors still remember his stellar career, and he is a prominent name in the hobby.

Investment Potential

Tim Duncan rookie cards could be a good investment because they are relatively affordable. There are some exciting cards from well-known companies like Topps, Upper Deck and Fleer, which are readily available. But you will also find cards from sets like Skybox, which are less common and could be more attractive to collectors. Most importantly, besides some incredibly rare parallels, his cards are reasonably priced. He is a popular player, and his cards have increased in value over time. So, picking them up while they are cheap is a sensible move.

Best Tim Duncan Rookie Cards to Look Out For

1997 Topps Chrome Refractor #115 Tim Duncan ($36,000)

Topps Chrome is an iconic set that gives a chromium backing to the original Topps set. It is more visually interesting than the standard set, so collectors often prefer it. The base card is worth picking up but is not especially valuable. The parallels and inserts from the collection are more notable, especially the Refractor parallel.

The card shows an excellent action shot of Duncan attacking the rim. The Refractor parallel has the characteristic rainbow shimmer to it. But aside from that, the design is the same as the base card. This remains one of the most popular Tim Duncan rookie cards, and the value reflects that.

In Mint condition, it is valued at around $6,800 by SportsCardsPro. However, it has sold for much more than that in the past. PriceGuide.Cards has a recorded sale of $36,000 in 2021. In 2004, the max sale recorded was $1,150, so the value increased significantly. It is an expensive card, but this is a popular card that appreciates in value, so it could be a good choice for investors.

1997 Skybox Z-Force #111 Tim Duncan - Rave Parallel #'d/399 ($7,480)

Skybox was a short-lived brand, as Fleer bought it in 1995. It continued to run until 2015, but they don't often appear on lists of top rookie cards. That's a shame because they often have vibrant designs and rare cards. The 1997 Skybox Z-Force Tim Duncan rookie card had a few parallels worth collecting.

The rarest is the Super Rave, which was only numbered to 50, but this is hard to get hold of. The Rave parallel is numbered out of 399, so it's easier to find but still rare enough to be extremely valuable. It has a unique multicolored design, a stereotypical ‘90s logo and a dynamic shot of Duncan. PriceGuide.Cards gave it an average value of $820 in 2022, but it shows a top sale of $7,480 in 2021. SportsCardsPro values a perfect condition card at $1,656.

1997 Flair Showcase #5 Tim Duncan - Row 0 Parallel #'d/100 ($5,999)

The Fleer Flair Showcase set was released a few years earlier but hit its stride in 1997. The premium set featured 90 cards, but each had three versions, named 'Rows.' The Tim Duncan card from this set is a landscape card with a striking image, set on a rainbow foil backing. The Row 0 parallel, numbered to only 100 copies, is the most valuable.

SportsCardsPro gives it an average Gem Mint value of around $4,635, but interestingly enough, the card has sold for upward of $5,999 in Ungraded condition. PriceGuide.Cards shows that the average value jumped from around $120 to over $2,500 between 2012 and 2022, with a top sale of $5,211. So, even though it is an expensive card, trends show that it may be a safe investment.

1997 Skybox E-X2001 #75 Tim Duncan ($3,466)

This is another Skybox card with an innovative design. It is half foil, half clear acetate, with a large image of Duncan on the front. The standout design could make this more sought-after by collectors, but it's still more affordable than some of Duncan’s other cards. According to SportsCardsPro, it can be worth up to $400 in Mint condition.

The Skybox E-X2001 Tim Duncan rookie card is another one that increased in value over the years. The highest sale recorded on PriceGuide.Cards in 2012 was around $45. By 2022, it reached $510. However, a top sale in 2021 reached $3,466. If bought at the right price, it still has investment potential. It is a good option if you want a low-risk investment.

1997 Skybox Metal Universe #66 Tim Duncan ($799)

If you want an interesting Skybox card without the price tag, this Metal Universe card is ideal. It features a pink foil backing with an abstract feel to it. It has a more reserved image of Duncan in a hesitant pose rather than an action shot like most cards. If you can find it in perfect condition, it could be worth up to $350, according to SportsCardsPro. However, these Metal Universe tend to chip and flake, so perfect specimens are few and far between. In less-than-perfect condition, it can be bought for anywhere between $20 and $130.

This card is quite rare, and PriceGuide.Cards only show sales data for 2020 and 2021. This makes it difficult to determine the investment potential, but the source shares a top price paid of $799. However, the relative rarity and exceptional design mean that it may be a sought-after card in the future.

1997 Hoops #166 Tim Duncan ($115)

The 1997 Hoops Tim Duncan rookie card is an excellent budget option. The design has a solid ‘90s aesthetic, with bold colors and a picture of Duncan reaching for the basket. The backing is covered with the word 'rookie,' giving it a crowded appearance. It is not the most elegant design, but Hoops is a popular set for collectors, and this card is on the cheaper side, so it is worth picking up.

The average value is roughly $20 to $40, according to SportsCardsPro, with a top price of $115 for Mint condition. There is potential for making a small profit on this card, but don't count on it for a big payoff. Either way, it is a good, affordable rookie card to add to your collection.

1997 Fleer #201 Tim Duncan ($70)

Fleer cards are basic, but it's worth adding regular cards to your collection alongside the premium ones. The Tim Duncan rookie card from the 1997 Fleer set has a simple design focusing on the action shot of Duncan. The gold foil name is a nice touch that elevates the card.

You can find this card for around $50 to $70 in Near-Mint to Mint condition, according to SportsCardsPro. The card holds its value well, but it will not likely double in value yearly. That said, it could be a safe investment and a core Duncan rookie card for your collection.

1997 Topps #115 Tim Duncan ($68)

The striking parallels from the Topps Chrome set are valuable, but base cards from the standard Topps set are still desirable for collectors. Tim Duncan’s rookie card rom the 1997 Topps set is one of the most common of his rookie cards. While not the most valuable, it is still an excellent card to look for. The image is the same as the Topps Chrome card but doesn't have the foil backing.

SportsCardsPro values it at around $68 in Mint condition, but it can be had for as low as $5 to $10 in less conditions. This is another one that may not give you a huge return, but it is reliable. It's also a core card in any Tim Duncan rookie card collection.

Where Can I Purchase Tim Duncan Rookie Cards?

Now you know which Tim Duncan rookie cards you should look for, but where can you buy them? Online auction sites are the best choice if you want specific cards. Although hobby shops and conventions sell cards, you can only buy what they have, and you have to get lucky to find the exact card you are searching for. The best online auction sites to try are:

  • eBay
  • PWCC Marketplace
  • Goldin Auctions
  • Lelands

Prices fluctuate, so always use sites like PriceGuide.Cards and SportsCardsPro to track the value and ensure you get a good deal.

How Are Tim Duncan Rookie Cards Graded?

Before buying any Tim Duncan rookie card, you should check that they are graded. Grading determines the condition of the card and proves it is as described by the seller. Without an official grade, you have no guarantee that the card is in good condition. Professional grading bodies like Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG) study the card and check for damage. Then experts assign a grade out of 10 based on four main criteria:

  • Centering of the image
  • The sharpness of the corners
  • Damage to the edges
  • Clarity of the surface

The card gets a score out of 10 for each of the criteria. These are averaged to give the overall grade. Cards can score a Perfect 10, meaning they scored as high as possible in every area. Cards with this grade are in Mint condition with no damage whatsoever. The value of a Perfect 10 card can be much higher than one with minor wear.

However, cards that score a 10 overall or even an eight or a nine are still likely to be more valuable than cards in poor condition. All graded cards are encased in a protective plastic slab. The materials are carefully chosen to magnify and highlight the card's fine details too. For further information on CSG's 10-point Grading Scale and to find out more about our industry-leading services, visit CSGcards.com.


Tim Duncan rookie cards are suitable for investors because there is a wide price range. You have expensive parallels like the Topps Chrome Refractor and the Fleer Flair Showcase card. But if you don't want to spend that much, you can still get excellent mid-range cards like the Skybox sets and some cheap core cards from Fleer, Topps and Hoops. All the cards hold their value well, and if you are willing to invest in the premium cards, you may see a significant return in the future.

*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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