Ten weeks into his first season, players around the league were already heaping praise on the NBA’s newest young star in the making.
“He’s a really, really, really good player. Not just for a rookie.” –Damian Lillard
“That dude’s gonna be a problem. He’s already a problem.” – Draymond Green
As his career unfolds, it’s clear the Dallas Mavericks’ young star will be a major force in the trading card market, too. Luka Doncic rookie cards have become some of the hottest current issues on eBay. Card shops and online retailers are moving tons of basketball product thanks to his seemingly easy transition from international play to the best league in the world.
Barring a catastrophic injury, it seems like Luka Doncic cards will be an excellent investment for those who believe in his talent.
A native of Slovenia, Doncic signed to play with Real Madrid at age 13, playing his first professional game at age 16. Drafted at age 19 by the Atlanta Hawks, then immediately flipped to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young and a future first rounder, Doncic’s impact has been immediate.
There isn’t much he can’t do: score inside, shoot the three, rebound, pass, defend. He’s a triple-double machine.
His raw skills are spectacular, his basketball IQ is extraordinary and player and coaches around the league have praised his maturity.
Best Luka Doncic Rookie Cards
As a high draft pick, Doncic had at least one card–and often more than one–in all of the more than 30 products released during his rookie season. Although prices continue to rise seemingly every week, there are plenty of Doncic rookies for just about every budget. It’s those low-numbered parallels from high-end issues that sell for the big bucks.
Among the most common Luka Doncic rookie cards are those found in products like 2018-19 Donruss (#177) and 2018-19 Hoops (#268), which were commonly found not only in hobby shops and online, but also in retail stores throughout his first season.
Those will be among the cheapest available but prices have risen to the point where many are being sent in for grading, with Gem Mint 10 copies then selling for much higher prices. In fact, most Doncic rookie cards are worth grading these days if you happen to pull one from an unopened pack. Like many releases, both products have parallel versions that will be harder to find and more valuable than the base issues.
The most sought after base cards that are plentiful in the market is the Panini Prizm (#280). One of the hobby’s hottest brands, Prizm is popular, but the base Doncic rookie card is plentiful. We tend to think that some of the less ballyhooed brands may be comparatively undervalued, although the mountain of colored parallel versions of the Doncic Prizm rookie are probably worth chasing if you have the money.
Certified (#153), Revolution (#128), Absolute Memorabilia (#58), Status #122 (a product only available at Target and Walmart with separate Doncic rookie cards in packs sold at each store), Chronicles (#71), Select #25 (with Concourse and the more difficult Premiere versions) and Donruss Optic (#177) are among the less heralded Doncic base rookie cards that are worth watching. In fact, PSA has graded only 261 Doncic rookies from Certified, with the popular Mirror parallel versions, all having a population of less than 25 as of this time. Likewise, the Absolute Memorabilia “Uncirculated” Doncic also has a population of just over two dozen in PSA’s census.
Serial-numbered base cards can be found in higher-end products like Noir (#169) which are numbered to 85 and Encased which comes already graded by Beckett. Opulence (#18) is numbered to just 39 but Doncic’s rarest rookie card is in Flawless (#81). It’s numbered to 20 and carries a tiny diamond chip.
Court Kings, the Crown Royale die-cuts, Spectra and the dark-themed Obsidian are other places to find Doncic rookies.
Unfortunately, the quality of Doncic’s autograph falls in line with most other current athletes. While fairly legible, it’s just his first name. It doesn’t seem to bother today’s collectors/investors, who seem to realize that virtually illegible signatures are a generational thing.
You’ll find Doncic rookie autographs throughout numerous products. The most popular include National Treasures Rookie Patch Autographs, which are numbered to 99 and include a large memorabilia swatch. High-grade copies are selling for six-figure prices.
On-card autographs can be found in products like Contenders (#122) and its parallel versions. It’s the first autographed Doncic rookie card that shows him in a Mavericks’ uniform and the auto is signed directly on-card. He also signed stickers for the 2018-19 Contenders Draft Picks product (#128), which pre-dates his rookie season.
Other options for Doncic autographed rookie cards include Encased #108 (# to 75); Impeccable #99 (# to 199) and Cornerstones, which has 199 copies and offers four small pieces of memorabilia and an on-card auto.
Big Loot for Luka
While most won’t come anywhere near this pricey, there have been numerous five and six-figure sales of Doncic rookie cards already. Nearly three dozen have sold on eBay alone for $20,000 or more in the last year.
His National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph (Gold) numbered 7/10 and graded BGS 9.5 sold for $310,000 in January 2020. The National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph numbered 77/99 (his jersey number), graded BGS 9.5 with a 10 autograph grade sold about the same time for $237,777.
Goldin Auctions sold another NT RPA with a 9.5 grade for $73,200 in the spring of 2020 while a First Off the Line NT Patch Auto numbered to 20 and graded 9 by BGS sold for $60,100.
Base cards, available for just a few bucks just after release in 2019, are flying. A lot of 55 ungraded Prizm rookie cards sold for a whopping $25,655 in the summer of 2020.
One intriguing product to keep an eye on is the 2016-17 EuroLeague cards produced by Upper Deck. While essentially an e-Pack product, only the base cards are digital. There are hard copies of Doncic’s Rainbow and Patterned Rainbow that were part of the release. The Patterned Rainbow could be obtained by collecting 10 digital base cards from the ePack release.
Prices on the two cards are fairly low, despite somewhat limited quantities. Of course, they aren’t NBA-licensed but they do represent Doncic’s earliest cards produced in North America through a major manufacturer and could be interesting to watch over the long haul should Doncic become a perennial All-Star.
While gambling on the future prospects of any young player can be risky, Doncic would seem to be a virtual lock to be a long-term star. Dallas’ future seems bright with Kristaps Porzingis in the fold and Doncic’s talents should attract some complimentary players in the years to come, which could make them a perennial contender. That success never hurts the value of a player’s rookie card value.
So what’s the best Luka Doncic rookie card to buy? It really depends on your budget and your taste. Selecting the best Luka Doncic rookie card is difficult since everyone has their own definition of what makes a card “the best.” Scarcity? Highest cost? Best value for your money? The look and design of the card? All are worth considering. If you’re willing to go all in, it’s always best to buy the highest graded card you can afford, from a dealer with strong feedback.
You can check out all of Doncic’s cards on eBay here and see an up-to-the-minute list of the 77 hottest Luka Doncic cards at auction below.