All About Basketball Sports Cards

Sports Cards

You have probably heard the term 'Sports Card' but might not have an in-depth picture of what it is and its current value in the global world of today. So let us tell you that the culture of collecting sportscard continues to explode globally where the collector numbers are rising at an increasing rate!

So what is a sports card?

It is a trading card that relates to basketball. Sportscard are small collectible cards containing realistic details that are depicted through pictorial or fictional content. Here’s a list of the contrasting materials sportscard is widely printed on:

  1. Silk

  2. Plastic

  3. Cardboard

  4. Paperboard

  5. Thick paper

The content revolves around a sports theme that could consist of a specific sport or an athlete. It is through infographics that the message is being portrayed and brought forward to the limelight. It may differ where some sportscard might be entailing a particular sport or about the

track record of a sports player.


Basketball Card Brands

When it comes down to Basketball Card Brands, there is a huge market of sportscard brands offering a diverse range in varied colors, features, designs as well as details. Here’s a list that compromises of the top manufacturers in the sportscard industry along with the unique features that they bring to you:

  1. Panini

  2. Upper Deck

  3. Select Basketball

  4. Bowman Gum

  5. Leaf

  6. Sage

  7. Topps

  8. In The Game

  9. Press Pass

  10. Trister


2019/20 Panini Hoops NBA Basketball BLASTER box (88 cards incl. ONE Memorabilia or Autograph card)

Grading Companies

Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) vs Beckett Grading Services (BGS)

With rare and well-maintained Basketball cards being of such high value, the need for excellent quality authentication services is extremely high. Thus grading companies such as Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) and Beckett Grading Services (BGS) came into existence, to allow collectors and investors to estimate the current worth of the cards.

Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA)

Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) is primarily based in the USA and has been provided authentication services since the year 1991. They’ve processed more than 30m cards and other collectibles successfully. The value of all these processed items is said to be more than a billion dollars.

They're easily referred to as the best option for vintage cards if you take into consideration the prices that they've gotten the cards to sell for previously. Their rating system is extremely transparent, and grades cards according to the following, depending on numerous factors. The grading scale goes from PR1 (Poor) up to GEM-MT 10 (Gem Mint). There are 10 different grades which include:

  1. PR1

  2. FR1.5

  3. Good 2

  4. VG 3

  5. VG- EX 4

  6. EX5

  7. NM 7

  8. NM-MT 8

  9. Mint 9

  10. GEM-MT 10

Initially, the PSA used to grade by utilizing whole numbers, but they changed their policies to allow for different variations for more precision. This is extremely crucial for high-quality cards. PSA used to exclusively grade using whole numbers but changed to allow for half grades for more precision in February 2008. It’s especially important for high-end cards. This decision was well received by both investors and collectors seeing the price difference between the different grades.

Other qualifiers are also set by PSA to provide online buyers a general feel of what they’re bidding for. This helps when you’re not able to see the card in person.

These qualifiers include:

  1. Staining (ST): Cards that are stained are diminished in value, and this is quite often the case with vintage cards.

  2. Off Center (OC): An off-center card is considered by some as not appealing, and it always lowers the price immensely.

  3. Print Defect (PD): This is most common in the form of a white small dot, which is often referred to as ‘Snow’.

  4. Out of Focus (OF): These cards are very uncommon in newer versions and lower the price vastly.

Beckett Grading Services (BGS)

Established in the year 1999, the Beckett Grading Service (BGS) has cemented its place in the authentication industry and is often viewed as the best appraisal service out there. The purpose of BGS is to give investors, traders, and hobbyists a clearer idea of how much their prized cards are worth.

Unlike PSA, BGS has based its algorithm on four primary subgrades when appraising card value. These include:

  1. Surface: BGS considers the quality of the surface of the card to be an immense factor. These include any signs of wear and tear, flaws, or creases, which drop the value significantly.

  2. Centering: This subgrade focuses on how best the image fits on the card and it's alignment with the card border. Since cards in the past were very poorly centered, thus this is a very critical factor! This is evaluated based on angles and 50/50 centering – when the image falls in the exact middle.

  3. Edging: Edging refers to how well the card edges align. White borders tend to blend in rather easily, thus flaw detection is quite difficult at times. This is considered to be the least important subgrade; however, it does have a significant impact on the evaluation.

  4. Corners: This subgrade focuses primarily on whether cards have been trimmed to boost their value (this is very common). Sharper corners are seen as the Holy Grail.

Thus, these subgrades are taken into consideration whilst evaluating the overall rating of the card. The final grade is then allotted which defines the value of the card. Cards that receive a 9.5 grade receive a Gem MT 10 evaluation. That is the absolute best grade one can get via BGS.


How to evaluate cards value

Collection of sports cards is a hobby that many adopt at an early stage, making it an attractive and knowledgeable community that has continued to influence Basketball cards collecting to these days.

However, in recent times, a very common frequently asked question is: ‘How do evaluate the worth of my basketball sports card?

At some point in time, nearly all collectors are eager to know the worth of their cards. Well, in that case, need not to worry, we have got it all covered for you! Let’s explore some factors that influences and lets you evaluate the worth of your sports card:

Print Year

The print year is one of the most important statistics while gauging the value of your cards. Some sports cards that are centuries old might hold no value whereas a few of them might be worth a million dollars. This is primarily due to the type of card as well as the popularity of the Basketball player in the industry.

For instance, a basketball card produced in 1900 might have a higher value than that compared to the card produced in 1990. This is due to the scarcity and those sports cards manufactured that were lost over time which as a result created added value in present times.

Print Variations

This serves as a driving factor to boost sales as well as your profit. For instance, an example of a print variation is where a sportscard for a star player printed back in 2000 was in white while a variation has been brought to it and the name is now colored to yellow. This will cause a huge variation in price where the yellow lettering will serve as a rare variation of this card.

Graded Cards

Professional graders are willing to pay an extra amount for the condition and authenticity of cards. This is where they will compare the graded card versus the non-graded ones and will be quick to identify and settle for a graded one as compared to a raw card.


Star players need not to be introduced. They are already known figures that have created their value and identities over the years.

For instance, if you have a sports card for LeBron James, Michael Jordan, or Magic Johnson, you should be knowing that your card holds great value in the market when it comes down to popularity and worth. It also creates an element of emotional ties where collectors are willing to pay for the greatest heroes the industry has ever had.


Condition is a key element that is of value even regardless of the popularity, print year, or the edition of the card that is being manufactured.

For instance, some key factors are centering, corners, and edges of the card. If your card is centered well from top to bottom and right to left, it will exhibit near perfection with a unique value attached to it. However, if your sportscard tends to have round corners or does not have nice clean edges, it is considered as an eyesore.

External Factors

The value of your sports card is also evaluated through the existing market conditions. If the market is having an economic downfall, your sportscard might be of the lessor of no value at all. For this purpose, it is important to sell your card when the market conditions are favorable.

Best Cards for Investors

From an investment standpoint, it is extremely important to consider numerous things whilst evaluating the best use of your finances. Will you be investing in an all-time veteran or an up and coming player? There are numerous strategies to incorporate which include, the type of player, the team, time of year, etc.

Other Strategies to find the right player according to their play style include:

  1. Buy Graded: These types of players already have numerous graded cards on the market. Thus, you are buying an asset that is high in liquidity and has less risk involved.

  2. Buy and Grade: These players are all set to take off in their careers and the cards would give you the most rewards.

  3. Hoard Base: Examples of these include Prizm & Optic, gradually building up your investment.

There are different strategies that one can opt for while evaluating their investment:

  1. Sophomore Breakthroughs: These players include those which have a high amount of traction and are sure to get an opportunity to play this year.

  2. Veterans: Veterans must be carefully analyzed before being invested into. They may have numerous years of experience, thus driving up the value.

  3. Upper-class: These players have between 3-5 years of prime experience and are all set for their breakthrough.

  4. The No-Brainers: These cards are absolute no-brainer investments that you can flip easily for quick profits.

  5. The High-Risk ones: These don't have any hopes right now but can definitely shine once given an opportunity. These yield the highest rewards.

2019/20 Panini Chronicles NBA Basketball BLASTER box (40 cards)

Current Market Trends

It is important to stay up to date on current market trends to yield the best return on your investment. According to sports card enthusiast Gary Vaynerchuk, as the current market stands, the best cards to invest in for the long term are the icons. (Kareem, Jordan, etc.). The current market is prime for short term ‘flipping’, thus enabling investors to earn short term profits as well.

2019-20 Panini MOSAIC Basketball Card Factory Sealed Blaster Box - Exclusive ORANGE FLOURESCENT PRIZMs - 32 Cards per Box - Find Zion Williamson and Ja Morant Rookie Cards!


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