There are thousands of Kobe Bryant basketball cards out there because the man started playing professional basketball when he was 17 years old (and collecting NBA salaries for it since then too). He had a long career with the L.A. Lakers, and this - along with Kobe's current status as one of the best players in the NBA - is what caused Kobe Bryant's cards to hold value. The most valuable Kobe Bryant cards were released during his rookie year and the USA Basketball Team. These cards are some of the most valuable cards in all of sports memorabilia because, back then, Kobe was just getting introduced to the public. His rookie year was also when he was named to the All-Rookie First Team, which adds value because it was just after he got his first taste of success. After he died in January 2020, his cards became even more valuable because it was seen as a way for fans to remember the great player Kobe once was. That being said, there are five Kobe Bryant basketball cards worth the most. That is, of course, assuming they are in good condition and haven't been tampered with in any way. Here are the 5 most expensive Kobe Bryant basketball cards ever:
5. 1996-97 E-X2000 Kobe Bryant Rookie Card #30 - $333.00
This is another one of Kobe's rookie cards. It was part of the extremely popular E-X2000 collection released in 1997. According to eBay marketplace, most of these cards are pre-owned and they are rare. The card itself is made of aluminum and has a hologram on it. This was extremely rare because nowadays, there are tons of holographic cards in all sorts of sports. The card itself is a bit more expensive than its non-holo equivalent because of its rarity. The card was also extremely popular because of Kobe Bryant's success in his rookie year, which is part of why it's so valuable. It is currently valued at a lot of money, but there are also non-holo versions of the card worthless money.
4. Kobe Bryant RC 1996-97 Bowmans #R23 - $543.88
This Kobe Bryant basketball card is the opposite of the previous two because it was not included in his rookie year. This card was part of the '96-'97 Bowman's Best Collection, released during Kobe's third year in the NBA. What makes this even more valuable is that it is an insert card, and there were very few produced. The most valuable cards from this collection are the ones that have a piece of game-used material on them. Pieces of game-used material usually include things like a jersey, a piece of a shoe, and other miscellaneous items. This particular card is also extremely valuable because it has a piece of game-used material on it, so its price is higher than other Kobe Bryant cards. Currently, the card is valued at more than six-thousand dollars.
3. 1996-97 Topps Finest Refractor #74 Kobe Bryant Lakers RC Rookie w/ Coating - $1,650.00
This is the most expensive Kobe Bryant basketball card of his rookie year. It was one of several cards in the 1996-97 Finest Collection, released during his rookie year. This is because several different Kobe Bryant cards came out of this collection, and the most valuable ones are the rarest ones. This particular card is valued highly because of the combination of its rarity and the fact that it is Kobe Bryant's rookie card. As more time passes, this card will continue to increase in value.
2. 1996-97 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant Rookie Card #138 - $1,690.00
This is one of Kobe's most valuable cards because it was his rookie year. This particular card is in the Top 10 rarest basketball cards in all of sports memorabilia, and this is because Topps only printed 12,000 copies of it. Considering that over 22 million Kobe Bryant cards have been printed throughout his career, that is a surprisingly low number. According to Newatlas.com, the card is now valued at more than 1.7 million dollars. The card is also extremely rare because Topps decided to print the cards on chrome paper, which is more expensive than the regular glossy cardstock of other sports cards. The fact that the card is in such high demand, especially after Kobe Bryant died, doesn't help the price go down any time soon.
1. 1996-97 Topps Kobe Bryant Rookie Card #138 - New $6,000.00
This is Kobe Bryant's only all-around rookie card to make it on this list. All other cards are either from his rookie year, his third year in the NBA, or his second year in the NBA. This card isn't as rare as some of the other cards on this list, but it's still a valuable piece of history. This particular card is worth around one thousand dollars, which isn't as expensive as his other cards, but it's still expensive for a card that is basically 'good.'
How can you tell if the card is real?
The best way to tell if these cards are real is whether or not they come in a protective case. The 1996-97 Bowman's Best Kobe Bryant Rookie Card #R23 comes in the original case, complete with pieces of a jersey and a piece of game-used material on the back of the card. According to Goldinauctions.com, the 1996-97 Topps Kobe Bryant Rookie Card #138 does not come in its original case, but it is still a valuable piece of history because it is the only all-around rookie card in Kobe's basketball career. The 1996-97 Finest Kobe Bryant Rookie Card #74 is extremely rare because there are only two. One of the cards is currently being kept by Topps, and the other is a private sale in which a collector bought it for thirty-three hundred dollars. Lastly, 1996-97 E-X2000 Kobe Bryant Rookie Card #30 comes in its original case, complete with pieces of a jersey and a piece of game-used material on the back of the card.
These cards are extremely valuable, so if you come across one at a garage sale or in your father's old things, then you should play it safe and buy the card. It may seem like an ordinary old piece of cardboard, but it is worth more than most people's houses.
Written by Dana Hanson
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