By Darren Smythe
Card collectors do like a design that gets their attention, and just as the refractors in Topps Finest and Topps Chrome had people spending a lot when they were first released it is now the parallel cards in Panini Prizm basketball that are drawing bidders and buyers months after their release.
What collectors want to find in Prizm boxes is gold. The Gold Prizm gold refractor is limited to ten serial numbered cards. The prices for these cards going through the proverbial roof. A Kyrie Irving BGS 9.5 sold for $5,001. A Kobe Bryant BGS 9.5 sold for $1,813.88.
As Panini didn’t have rookie cards in the few sets they released during last season’s lockout-shortened campaign, the current sets like Prizm have two years’ worth of rookie cards. That means Gold Prizm cards of two top overall draft picks, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis. They also have autographed cards that have a Prizm parallel numbered to 25.
There are 300 cards in the Prizm set. Each card has a Prizm parallel, like a refractors finish to the card, and also a Green Prizm that was available in retail packs. Then there is the Gold Prizm parallel that is the most coveted of all.
Green Prizm Kyrie Irvings have sold on eBay for $825, $850 and $665.55. Green Prizm Anthony Davis cards have sold for $149.99 and $125. Kobe Bryant and LeBron Green Prizm cards have sold for as much as $400. Remember…these prices aren’t for autographed cards—just the parallels. Basketball card collectors have never been shy about spending good money for them, including some of those low pop inserts issued in the 1990’s.
A box of Prizm can sell for $160, so striking gold with a Gold Prizm can pay for the box. As well as the huge prices that the biggest stars and rookie sell for, even a James Harden brought $168.48 and a Kendall Marshall rookie card Gold Prizm drew$163.72. While not beating the box price other players get close, Kevin Love’s Gold Prizm sold for $111.50, John Wall was sold for $111.38, and Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are valued at a similar number by collectors as their Gold Prizm cards sold for around $102 each.
Autograph cards are the inserts collectors hope to find in their packs, and some of the big names in Prizm packs include Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. With 100 autographs in the insert set, some different players that are not often found in new issues are also available with Clyde Lovellette, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ralph Sampson and John Henson. An Irving Gold Prizm auto sold on Ebay for $2,500.
There are 38 Finalist insert cards, with a big assortment of eras and teams represented. Along with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James you’ll find blasts from the past like Kurt Rambis and Michael Finley. The Most Valuable Player insert cards have 25 past and present stars from LeBron to Oscar Robertson.
The USA Basketball insert set has the players who won gold at the London Olympic Games. The players on the team were Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, Andre Iguodala, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Love, James Harden, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis and Carmelo Anthony. A LeBron James Gold Prizm parallel Team USA card sold on eBay for $2,600.
With so many LeBron James insert cards, when they are added to his card in the regular set that means 50 chances at a Gold Prizm LeBron James card.
While collectors and investors are pushing up many of the Gold Prizm prices, those who want to have one of the cards for their collection might still find a bargain if they look for a retired player or a veteran who doesn’t play a lot. Ben Gordon and Martell Webster Gold Prizm cards sold for $15.50. Derek Fisher and Mo Cheeks are also in that price range.
One reason why collectors enjoy the Prizm parallels is the same reason why Totally Certified is popular, a “rainbow” of parallel cards with different colors can be collected. The best way to do that would be to acquire the hard to find Gold Prizm first, then add the Green Prizm, Prizm parallel and common card. There was a LaMarcus Aldridge rainbow of his four Prizm cards on Ebay which sold for around $60.
The Prizm phenomenon has now spread to other sets from Panini, and Gold Prizm parallel cards in 2012-13 Select are also bringing four figures for the star players. You can check current auctions for Prizm here.