Well according to Slabstocks, on April 11th, the first ever PSA ten of LaMelo Ball’s 2020 prizm sold for $1,850. It received 68 bids on eBay and it was sold byAt Slab 10's Trading Cards on instagram.
First off let me start off by saying congrats, that's a great sale, first to market, you get to reap all the benefits. Very nicely done, and to the person who bought the card, you know, like Tupac says, “I ain't mad a you man”, it's your money, please always do what's best for you and your collection.
One of my main goals of this youtube channel is to always try and give you guys both sides of the story, and give you guys the information that you need to make the best decisions for you and your collection. My other goal with this channel is to not only help you make money in the hobby, if you choose to do so, but also to teach you how to save money when you can in the hobby. I hate seeing people waste money, and that's what today's video is going to be all about here alright.
So let's talk about the LaMelo Ball sale, see if we can unravel it and what we can learn from it. Again these are just all my own thoughts, please always do your own research and do what's best for you.
Alright, so the first question, is the LaMelo Ball rookie prizm card worth $1,850? Boy, it's actually kind of difficult to say that with a straight face, but hell no. We all know that, alright. How do we know this? Well, I would argue that most people would agree that players such as Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, those players right now are better than LaMelo Ball is. At least they have proven themselves to be so.
All three of those players’ prizm rookie cards currently sell for cheaper than LaMelo. Luka is at $1,300. Zion is at about $650, and then tatum is at $575. Now yes, being the first card to market you will probably have someone over pay for that card due to the excitement about the player and the lack of supply.
So it is true that there probably won't be too many LaMelo Ball PSA 10’s out there due to PSA's grading card structure right now, with the cheapest that you can get a card graded for at $300. So from a supply and demand angle, the first few cards that come out could be highly inflated due to that grading cost, and that I totally understand.
Had this been a numbered card such as a Gold 2 - 10, or any other numbered card, that I could definitely understand selling for a high price too. You're just unsure of how many of those are gonna be PSA 10’s. How many are going to hit the market? Obviously those would have sold for a higher price than the base card.
Again, lack of supply, few PSA 10’s would be coming out right away, I definitely would understand in the short term how those could sell for a higher price. But this is just a standard base card that will probably have about ten thousand PSA 10’s at some point.
So when we see a card like this pop up, what should our initial thought process be? Well, first off you’ve gotta ask yourself this question. Who do you see this player comparing to in the future? If you think LaMelo Ball is going to be a great player, and I hope he does, it seems like he's a very talented player. I think he's going to have a very solid NBA career. He's obviously got big name recognition.
Right now he's averaging almost 16 points a game in his first NBA season. I think I scored 16 points a game in my high school career maybe five times. So I definitely was a lockdown defender, but 16 points a game in your first year in the NBA is no joke.
So let's say you compare him to a Jason Tatum type player. Tatum's in his fourth year right now. His rookie season he averaged almost 14 points a game. This year he's averaging almost 26 a game and he's averaging about 19 for his career.
The cheapest I could find on eBay right now, for a Jason Tatum 2017 prizm, that's card number 16, it's a PSA 10, was $575. LaMelo Ball’s card is not worth 3.2 times what Jason’s is, all right. Now granted the PSA 10 pop for Jason Tatum is 4,840 but that's still nowhere near Zion or Luka’s PSA 10 prizm population report.
So number two. Is this card readily available in this condition? That's a question that you want to ask yourself. Number cards, color parallels, and other short print cards. Yes those can be in limited supply, but if you're looking at a base card you should know that there have been probably tens if not hundreds of thousands of these things printed.
Now if this year's printing was poorly done, which it's prizm so that’s probably going to be true, the PSA 10 population report could probably be decently low. I'm guessing that with LaMelo Ball's card, it's probably going to be, about 50%, are going to be a PSA ten.
Given once we get a whole bunch of cards graded later on this year and start getting some decent numbers in that PSA 10 population report. However, at this point it's just way too early to tell with this card, what that PSA 10 population is going to be. I think most of us agree that the centering is probably going to be off there, but 50% PSA 10 rate while still not great, isn't really all that bad for a base card.
Alright, the third question you want to ask yourself is, does this card have the potential to go up in value from its current price? Let's say if LaMelo Ball, in a weird world was having an mvp type year in his rookie year, and the hornets were potentially going to win an NBA championship, and you bought this with the hope that he was going to win that award and win the championship, and understanding that there was going to be a limited PSA 10 supply coming out due to their grading costs. From an investment angle, that I could definitely understand. Assuming you think that that card was going to be worth $3,000. Boy that was hard to say with a straight face.
Fourth question you wanna ask yourself is, if this card goes down fifty percent in value, am I okay still owning it? Let's put yourself in the shoes of the buyer okay. You bought this at $1,850 and let's assume that it goes down in value to $925. Which, given the pricing of all the other superstars’ prizm rookie cards, that's most likely gonna happen. Are you still okay owning this card? Do you still want the card at that value? Does it make you happy with that value?
Obviously, most of us want our card prices to be going up, but depending on when we buy them in the market, that's not always going to be true. Now if you can answer yes to some of those questions and you don't mind potentially overpaying for something that you 100% want in your collection, then go ahead and pick up the card. After all, it is your money, always do what's best for your collection.
The fifth question you want to ask yourself is, do the numbers make sense? So we know that an ungraded LaMelo Ball prizm card right now sells for about $180, and we know that the cheapest that we can get a card graded right now at PSA is $300. So you could technically do this yourself for about $480 if you were successful at getting a PSA 10.
Now ask yourself, could you submit three LaMelo Ball cards to PSA, and pay $1,440 for those cards and the grading and potentially get a PSA 10 yourself, and still have $410 in your pocket on top of that. I would argue yes. Now, assuming that you did your homework on the cards you bought; some nicely centered cards that don't have any issues. On top of that you would have a PSA 10 that you got graded that you could have in your collection and then, let's assume you got PSA 9 on the other ones, you'd have two PSA 9’s.
The cheapest I could see on eBay right now was someone asking $700 for one PSA 9 card. Now, whether or not it sells for that price, i don't know, but let's assume that it sells for $700 right. If you've got two that you sold for $700, that's $1,400, you had an initial $1440 investment. so technically you would have gotten that PSA 10 for almost free. That's crazy!
So what can we learn from this sale? Well, the first thing we can learn is buying the first card to be graded from PSA in most cases is a bad buy. especially for non-numbered cards. In most cases you're probably overpaying for that card. Chances are, especially with base cards, more of those are going to get graded and the PSA 10 population will grow and the price will come down.
Patience is the key in this industry. Yes, knowing when to move fast is a positive attribute to have but in most cases there is no sense of urgency on any of these cards. A big deep breath before you click that buy button is going to save you a ton of money. Having a process that you can go through, like some of these questions that we went through today, will help you save money when buying cards.
Critically thinking will also save you money. Just like this process we went through today. Ask yourself some of these questions and think critically about your answers. Is this a good buy at this price? What is my goal for this card, is it an investment or is it for my collection? What does the future of this card look like?
The absolute worst thing we can do is impulse buy on a card. How many times have you done that? I've done that and it always seems like I pay a hefty price. That's what we are trying to avoid. In most cases making an emotional decision when buying sports cards is always a bad idea.
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