Sports card market report: Paul Skenes takes big leap

Luka Dončić cards also rose sharply — but expect a big post-Finals fall

Cover Image for Sports card market report: Paul Skenes takes big leap
Collectors are often wary of investing too much in young pitchers — but Paul Skenes has been an exception. (Credit: Getty Images)

Key rookie cards for stars such as Paul Skenes, Jaylen Brown and Luka Dončić are among the biggest risers in price across the sports card market this week.

But while those prices might keep climbing for some, a harsh course correction could be coming for others.

Here’s a glance at notable graded cards across the sports card market over the last 30 days, according to data tool Market Movers.

All cards have sold at least 10 times and have a current average value of $30 and above.

Price percentage risers:

  • 2023 Bowman’s Best Paul Skenes Top Prospects Refractor PSA 10: +119%
  • 2017 Bowman Aaron Judge Base PSA 10: +113%
  • 2015 Prizm Kristaps Porzingis Prizm Base PSA 10: +110%
  • 2016 Prizm Jaylen Brown Base PSA 10 +95%
  • 2023 Bowman Chrome Gunnar Henderson Mega Box Mojo Refractor PSA 10: +91%
Paul Skenes' sizzling start has captivated collectors. (Credit: eBay)
Paul Skenes' sizzling start has captivated collectors. (Credit: eBay)

Regular injuries and the lack of longevity have made pitchers far less likely to be popular among collectors, but Pirates rookie right-hander Paul Skenes has been an exception to the rule so far. Skenes has been nothing short of dynamic through six starts with a 2.43 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 33.1 innings pitched.

He remains among the betting favorites to win NL Rookie of the Year, and collectors have latched on, too. Overall, Skenes’ graded cards tracked by Market Movers are up 19% collectively across 987 total sales over the last 30 days.

While Skenes’ 2023 Bowman’s Best Refractor has been the biggest riser in price percentage, his 2023 Bowman Draft 1st Base PSA 10 has been the most popular with 127 sales over the last month. A $116 card just 30 days ago, it also has gone up in price with a recent sale of $156 on June 12.

Price percentage decliners:

  • 2011 Bowman Chrome Bryce Harper Base PSA 10: -55%
  • 2020 Prizm Anthony Edwards Base PSA 10: -44%
  • 2020 Select Justin Herbert Concourse Silver PSA 10: -41%
  • 2019 Optic Ja Morant Base PSA 10: -41%
  • 2023 Bowman Draft Chrome Wyatt Langford Refractor PSA 10: -38%

The basketball season is winding down, and as is typical for this part of the season, key players going up in value based on playoff performances are regressing after their run is over: Anthony Edwards is no different.

There’s no denying Edwards captivated basketball fans this season, and while there’s a very good chance he has raised the floor on his card market moving forward, his cards have started to regress in a major way since the Timberwolves were bounced by the Mavericks in the Western Conference finals.

Over the last 30 days, Edwards’ graded cards tracked by Market Movers have dropped 21% collectively across over 3,400 sales. His signature 2020 Prizm Base PSA 10 has been the biggest driver of the decline with a 44% drop on 282 sales over that period.

Edwards’ 2020 Prizm Silver PSA 10 has also dropped 45% on 153 sales. After selling for nearly $1,600 just 30 days ago, that Prizm Silver PSA 10 sold for just $873 on June 12.

Dollar amount risers:

  • 2023 Absolute C.J. Stroud Kaboom! PSA 10: +$674
  • 2018 Select Luka Dončić Concourse Silver PSA 10: +$551
  • 2023 Donruss Will Levis Downtown PSA 10: +$255
  • 2023 Bowman Draft Chrome Paul Skenes DP Auto PSA 10: +$247
  • 2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Aaron Judge Draft Picks PSA 10: +$211
C.J. Stroud's rookie card took a big jump over the last month. (Credit: eBay)
C.J. Stroud's rookie card took a big jump over the last month. (Credit: eBay)

Collectors have been waiting for Luka Dončić to break through into the NBA Finals, and the Mavericks star has finally delivered — though this trip hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

Currently down 3-0 to the Boston Celtics, Doncic’s market is up big when looking at a 30-day range, but adjusting down to two weeks or even the last seven days already shows his market regressing significantly.

Dončić’s graded cards tracked by Market Movers are up 9% collectively over the last 30 days across over 5,000 sales, but collectors should expect that to change quickly. Among his key rookies, his 2018 Select Concourse Silver PSA 10 has been one of the biggest risers with a jump from $449 to $1,000 over the last month.

The issue with Doncic currently is that many of his key rookies are bloated in price, with collectors already cooking in future MVP awards and championships that he has yet to win. A key rookie selling for $1,000-plus isn’t uncommon, but unnumbered variations without autographs or memorabilia will make many hobbyists flinch in that price range.

It’s technically still possible for Dallas to come back in the series, but short of a never-been-done-before recovery, Dončić will likely end his first NBA Finals appearance with an ugly performance where his defense (or lack thereof) was exposed at historic levels. Great defense doesn’t move the needle much for most collectors, but defense so bad that the team can’t play around it does — and in the wrong direction.

Dollar amount decliners:

  • 2023 Prizm Victor Wembanyama Choice Red /88 PSA 10: -$811
  • 2020 Prizm Anthony Edwards Silver PSA 10: -$703
  • 2023 Absolute Anthony Richardson Kaboom! PSA 10: -$300
  • 2023 Donruss C.J. Stroud Downtown PSA 10: -$251
  • 2016 Upper Deck Auston Matthews Young Guns Base PSA 10: -$173

Possibly the most popular player in the hobby since his first licensed cards dropped, Wembanyama has also seen his cards decline aggressively in recent months, likely due to how inflated his earliest prices were.

One challenge for Wembanyama’s market moving forward is the licensing split between Fanatics and Panini — Fanatics has rights to his autographs, but Panini has rights to his NBA cards. This is a frustrating dynamic when you consider his importance to the hobby, but it’s the reality collectors are stuck with.

Collectors should expect most of Wembanyama’s cards to decline until the hobby starts ramping back up for the start of the next NBA season. The next few months could be a prime buying period for Wembanyama, and those looking to add him should monitor the NBA offseason extremely closely.

Hobbyists should also anticipate that any trades or signings for the Spurs could have an impact on his market.

Sales volume leaders:

  • 2023 Prizm Victor Wembanyama Base PSA 10: 990 sales
  • 2018 Prizm Luka Dončić Base PSA 10: 458 sales
  • 2023 Prizm C.J. Stroud Base PSA 10: 350 sales
  • 2020 Prizm Anthony Edwards Base PSA 10: 282 sales
  • 2024 Topps Elly De La Cruz Base PSA 10: 198 sales

There really aren’t any surprises in terms of sales volume: It’s the most popular basketball players as the season winds down and one of the most popular baseball players in the middle of the season.

Football collectors should continue to monitor Stroud’s graded card market, which is down 2% collectively over the last 30 days across over 4,400 sales. The summer is a prime buying period for football cards, but expect prices to start to rise quickly with the regular season closing in fast.

Those looking to buy in the offseason and flip for a profit might have already missed the prime window for many of the NFL’s top young stars — Stroud, Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson and more are all expected to be coveted heading into next season.

Ben Burrows is a reporter and editor for cllct.