Victor Wembanyama, the 7-foot-4-inch French basketball prodigy, has become the lightning rod for an electrifying surge in the basketball card market. Collectors are eagerly anticipating the release of his cards, fueled by a surge in draft products and on-demand printing. Adding to the excitement is the intense competition between two major card manufacturers vying for the opportunity to distribute Wembanyama’s highly sought-after cards.
Since the initial release of Wembanyama’s cards last spring, the frenzy among collectors has reached unprecedented levels. eBay has witnessed a staggering 62,000 Wembanyama cards being sold, raking in a total of $6.3 million in sales. What’s even more astounding is that eighteen of these cards have fetched prices of over $10,000 each. In the past month alone, over 27,000 cards have been sold, amounting to a jaw-dropping $2.6 million in sales.
Several standout sales highlight the fervor surrounding Wembanyama’s cards. One especially noteworthy sale was for one of the five Bowman Chrome University Red Refractor redemption cards from the 2022-23 season, which commanded an impressive $20,000 in August. Another significant sale involved a PSA 10 Gold Refractor autograph card from the 2022 Bowman U series, limited to just 50 copies, which sold for an astonishing $15,850.
Wembanyama’s rise to stardom over the past two years has been nothing short of meteoric. Drawing comparisons to the likes of LeBron James, he began his professional career in France at the young age of 15. His remarkable skills, including shot-blocking prowess, agility, and surprising shooting range for his height, have captivated fans and scouts alike. His NBA-ready talents were showcased during his time with the G League’s Ignite team, where he scored an impressive 73 points across two games. Following his stint with Metropolitans 92, he was selected by the San Antonio Spurs after their lottery win.
Wembanyama’s playing style is a blend of old-school and modern techniques, making him a formidable force on the court. His dominance in the paint and ability to knock down three-pointers pose unique challenges for his opponents. In addition, his advanced basketball IQ, exceptional game-reading skills, and ability to make crucial decisions under pressure further enhance his on-court presence. Notably, he has joined the ranks of elite players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James with his record of scoring 35+ points, grabbing 10+ rebounds, and blocking 2+ shots in a single game.
While collectors await the release of a rookie card featuring Wemby in a Spurs jersey, his collegiate and other unlicensed cards continue to be in high demand. Some notable cards in Wembanyama’s collection include the 2022 Bowman University Inception, featuring his autograph as a redemption card, which is highly coveted by collectors. The 2022 Bowman University Chrome series offers his first base card and chrome autograph, both highly valued for their “1st Bowman” designation. The more accessible 2022 Bowman University Best series offers Wembanyama’s first live autograph and a base card.
Both Topps Now and Panini Instant have released limited-time offers featuring Wembanyama. Topps Now captures memorable moments such as his draft day and pitching at a Yankees game, while Panini Instant showcases him in his Spurs attire. Another collection to watch out for is Allen & Ginter’s 2023 edition, which includes Wembanyama featuring in base cards, parallels, and autographs, maintaining affordability due to their higher availability.
With Victor Wembanyama’s arrival on the basketball scene, the market for his cards has skyrocketed. Collectors are clamoring to add his memorabilia to their collections, driving sales into the millions. As the competition between card manufacturers intensifies, the popularity and value of Wembanyama’s cards continue to soar.