Here’s what’s going on around the sports card industry — January 2021

We’re back for another news roundup. Our December edition turned out nicely, and we figure there’s value in keeping you apprised as to what’s going on around the hobby.

It’s a new year, so there’s a lot to look forward to. While everyone’s getting settled back in and trying to remember where they left off before the holiday break, here’s some of the biggest news around the sports card industry from the past month or so. It was a pretty quiet month — as December usually is — but there are a few things worth mentioning.

Zion Logoman goes from pulled to graded to auction in under three weeks

Things move fast when you’re a big baller. This particular card hit the trifecta of big baller status. It’s a Zion Williamson (the most coveted rookie in years), it’s out of Panini Flawless (one of the most expensive and high-end products out there), and it’s a one-of-one Logoman (the absolute most limited print run a card can have).

When the Zion Williamson Flawless Logoman was pulled on December 23 as part of a randomized team break from Firehand Cards, the lottery winner knew he needed to act fast. It was submitted to PSA under the $5,000 one-day turnaround service level, meaning it left the building later that afternoon. Sporting a PSA 9 label, it was shipped off to Goldin Auctions where it’ll be one of the most high-profile items when the bidding starts on January 11.

Experts estimate that the Zion Logoman will go for about $750,000. Not a bad return for a card this guy hadn’t even pulled three weeks prior.

Mike Trout had the most valuable card of the year… and of all-time

This is kind of a no-brainer but it’s worth mentioning. Sports Collectors Daily did a roundup of the most expensive cards of 2020. Topping the list is Mike Trout’s rookie year autographed superfractor, which sold for $3.8 million at auction.

The reason that’s no surprise is because this particular card is also the most expensive card of all-time. When it sold in August, it topped the previous record of a Honus Wagner T206 by about $700,000. Honus almost had his revenge, though. In December, another Wagner T206 sold for $3.7 million, just shy of Trout’s record.

Panini Eminence releases soon, and we’re sooooo excited to watch someone rip it

They say that those who can’t, teach. In the hobby, they say those who can’t afford, watch. We’re definitely watchers this time.

Panini’s ultra-super-duper-crazy-hella-mega-premium Eminence product is about to launch. It’s releasing Dutch auction style, starting at $50,000 per box and selling for a minimum of $20,000 (if supplies last).

What can you expect to find? There are 10 cards, everything is numbered to 10 or less, and there should be 9 autos in the box. Panini says that the First Off the Line boxes all contain a one-of-one Rookie Autographs Platinum Bar card from Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, RJ Barrett, or Rui Hachimura (there are variations to these cards). Otherwise, you’ll pull stuff like cards that have an ounce of platinum or gold in them.

Hit up Cardboard Connection for the full checklist of inserts. That page is probably the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Panini Eminence.

Upper Deck gives Alexis Lafreniere his own collection… before he’s even played a game

Strike while the iron is hot. Upper Deck is keen to capitalize on all the hype around New York Rangers rookie Alexis Lafreniere by giving him his own set of cards before he even hits the ice as a pro.

Upper Deck announced the Alexis Lafreniere Collection, which is a 26-card box. Every box will contain the full set of 25 Highlights Cards. However, the chase is in the one extra Moments/Awards card which is randomized. There are also autographs, which up the ante.

The Alexis Lafreniere Collection launches on April 14, so it could go a couple of different ways. If Lafreniere gets off to a hot start and cements himself in the Calder Trophy conversation, this could be a popular product. However, if he underperforms like last year’s first overall draft pick Jack Hughes, Lafreniere’s stock will drop considerably by April.

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