What Kobe Bryant Cards are Worth the Money?

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Kobe Bryant was one of the best pure scorers and point man who played basketball, right in the league of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. His performance on the court and his unfortunate death revived the interest of fans and card collectors in Kobe’s basketball cards. Which Kobe Bryant cards are valuable? All Kobe cards are priceless; it portrays his achievements, works ethos, and heart in crucial moments on the court. Because of Mamba’s contribution to the sport, his cards continue to rise in value setting new highs.

Follow us to get inspiration about Kobe Brant’s cards, and you might pick some for your collection. 

Are Kobe Bryant Cards Worth the Money_Are Kobe Bryant Cards Worth the Money?

A fierce competitor on the court, remembered by legions of fans for his repertoire of skills and never-say-die attitude earned Kobe numerous accolades during his 20-year NBA career. Mamba won almost any award the NBA has to offer, 61 altogether. He wore five NBA rings, a three-peat from 2000 to 2002, and two fruitful runs in 2009 and 2010. Who could forget his 81-point performance in 2006 against Toronto and an epic Game 7 face-off with the Boston Celtics in 2010, pitting him against three future Hall of Famers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen?

People will miss a great player for showing a significant impact on the court and his accomplishments off the court. Kobe’s achievements alone make him one of the most sought-after players by sports card collectors. But his untimely demise on January 26, 2020, is also a factor.

The value of Kobe Bryant’s cards climbed sharply after his death because it limits what can be done afterward. It might seem funny to think that his passing might influence something petty as sports cards, but it’s vital to sports card hobbyists. Autographs of basketball greats like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, etc., are inked in current sets, but not possible with Kobe. 

Are Kobe Bryant Cards Worth the Money

According to eBay, two weeks after Kobe Bryant’s death, they experienced a 600% spike in sales of Kobe’s basketball sports cards. People wanted anything with Kobe on it, from t-shirts, hoodies, posters, caps, etc.

These factors make Kobe Bryant cards very enticing and certainly bang the buck of any card collector.

What Are the Most Expensive Kobe Bryant Cards_What Are the Most Expensive Kobe Bryant Cards?

The Black Mamba signed off with his daughter Gianna in a horrific helicopter crash in January 2020, but his legacy lives on.

A prolific performer on the court, Kobe never ceases to amaze fans whenever he plays. The love and admiration for his basketball savvy rubbed on to the value of his trading cards. Hardcore collectors are willing to spend big bucks to get their hands on the legend’s mementos. 

All of Kobe’s cards would make a great collection, but the price varies; these are some of the most expensive Kobe Bryant cards in existence.

1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Emerald 

The 1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Emerald Kobe Bryant card sold for $2 million in February 2022, surpassing the rookie Bryant card retailed for $1.8 million. Kobe Bryant is seen passing the ball; the card has no autograph and is not a rookie card.

A tweak in the design gave it a more modern approach than the traditional insert-style cards. The emerald variation makes it a hot commodity since there are only 10 in existence. The card’s condition had an overall score of BGS 8.5, only one of two in the world.

It isn’t easy to find this type of card in any condition; spotting one in mint condition is rare due to chipping.

1996-1997 Topps Chrome Rookie Refractor (BGS Black Label)

Often forgotten in the debate for GOAT basketball players, this card will remind us of the value of Kobe while donning the gold and purple jersey. The poster card is enclosed in a neon frame panel with the picture of Kobe attempting a layup.

What Are the Most Expensive Kobe Bryant Cards

A BGS Black Label is rarely dispensed, which means that the cards are in a flawless state. Hundreds of 1996-1997 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant Refractors were produced, but only two with the BGS Black Label exist. A hobbyist shelved out $1.8 million on March 7, 2021, to add the poster card to his set.

A 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor rated PSA 10 fetched $175 K and a PSA 10 Gem Mint for $70 K. Quite expensive for ordinary hobbyists like us.

How Much Are Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards Worth_How Much Are Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards Worth?

The greatness of a man who excelled in his sport was captured in basketball sports cards portraying his brilliance on the court. Bryant wasn’t always an icon; coming out of high school, it took him two years to develop his skills and adjust to the NBA type of play before becoming a marquee player. Kobe’s dominance on the court and his untimely demise rekindled the interest in Kobe’s rookie cards.

We’ve picked some of the best Kobe rookie cards and included information to help select your collection.

1996 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials #30

PSA 10 Value: $13,000

E-X2000 incorporates vibrant framed borders; the player’s picture is overlying the frame with a sky-blue setting and green borders. The card is limited to 499 copies and has the word “Credentials” inscribed in front.

A much rarer Credentials parallel card has white borders, which don’t come out for sale often.

1996 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 0 #31

PSA 10 Value: $5,000

Kobe Bryant initiated the new NBA craze of jumping straight to the pro league from high school, paving the way for the likes of LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Tracy McGrady. Because of his exceptional basketball skills, the “Legacy Collection” card sets included Kobe during his rookie year.

How Much Are Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards Worth

The 1991 Flair Showcase card features three players in complicated groupings called “Row 0”, “Row 1 ,“ and “Row 3.”

1996 Finest Gold Atomic Refractor #269

BGS 10 Value: $5,000

PSA 10 Value: $3,500

This 1996 Finest Gold Atomic Refractor had printing issues, making it hard to find one that is spot on. There is a bronze and silver variant but pales with the gold version.

The cheesy word “Heir” with Kobe executing a reverse layup makes it one of the best images in Kobe rookies and a heavy favorite among collectors. The cards are coated with a thin plastic film to protect the front, which holds more value if the protective film is still intact.

1996 Ultra Platinum Medallion #P52

PSA 10 Value: $3,500

The front of the Kobe rookie features him floating for a smooth right-handed layup complemented by captivating texts and fonts. Fans love him for putting on a show whenever he plays, “Mr. Showtime,” as the card states.

The Ultra Platinum Medallion line is fragile; it deteriorates over time and scratches easily. It’s rather hard to find one in mint condition.  

1996 SP Kobe Bryant Holoviews #PC18

PSA 10 Value: $1,850

The 1996 SP Holoviews series features three images of Mamba presented in unique ways. A picture shows Kobe performing his patented finger roll; another shot shows him executing a high jump like a track and field star, and the final canvas display Kobe as himself.

The card is quite fragile because of the hologram feature, which makes it cost-effective compared to other Kobe rookies.

What are the Most Valuable Kobe Bryant Cards_What are the Most Valuable Kobe Bryant Cards?

The name Kobe Bryant signifies a deep passion for winning, which led to numerous accolades during his 20-year stint in the NBA. He earned legions of fans with his on-court heroics and by giving back to society when he was not playing, including fundraising for the less fortunate. Whether you like Kobe or not, the man’s influence carries significance on- and -off the hardcourt.

What are the Most Valuable Kobe Bryant Cards

Basketball card collectors were drawn to Kobe Bryant during his rookie year in the NBA, and more so because of his untimely demise. His cards became more valuable because it was a way for fans to recall the greatness of Kobe Bryant.

Here is our selection of Kobe Bryant’s most valuable basketball cards; they must be pristine and untampered.

Kobe Bryant Card Grading Number of Cards
1996 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant Refractor #138 PSA 10

BGS Black Label

63

2

1996 Ultra Kobe Bryant Platinum Medallion #P52 PSA 10

BGS 9.5

9

4

1996 Finest Kobe Bryant Refractor w/ Coating #269 PSA 10

BGS 10

18

5

1996 Finest Kobe Bryant Refractor w/ Coating #74 PSA 10

BGS 9.5

17

7

1996 Skybox Premium Kobe Bryant Rubies #55 PSA 10

BGS 9.5

18

12

1996 Bowman’s Best Kobe Bryant Atomic Refractor #R23 PSA 10

BGS 10

34

3

1996 Skybox Kobe Bryant E-X2000 #30 PSA 10

BGS 10

22

1

1996 Skybox E-X2000 Kobe Bryant E-X2000 Credentials #30 PSA 10

BGS 9.5 

4

9

1996 Score Board Autographed Basketball (D.G. Only) PSA 10

BGS 9.5

1

9

1996 Pacific Power Kobe Bryant Platinum #PP-6 PSA 10

BGS 9

1

3

1996 Skybox Premium Kobe Bryant Rubies #203 PSA 10

BGS 9.5

17

12

1996 Bowman’s Best Picks Kobe Bryant Atomic Refractor #BP10 PSA 10

BGS 9.5

5

22

Wrapping Things Up: What Kobe Bryant Cards are Worth the Money?

If we’re talking green, the most expensive Kobe Bryant cards are:

  • 1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Emerald – $2 million
  • 1996-1997 Topps Chrome Rookie Refractor (BGS Black Label) – $1.8 million

Regarding importance, all Kobe basketball cards are valuable, and each card is worth the money. His legacy as one of the NBA’s greats and a member of the Lakers team will keep his cards sought after for ages.

If you’re interested in learning Kobe Bryant’s story, check out this basketball biography book.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.
Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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