13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (2022)

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (1) by joe | Last Updated: August 5, 2020

Kobe Bryant rookie cards make for great investments into the hobby, as there is a great variety with lots of competing brands in the mid-90s.

Here is a list of 13 of the more popular Kobe rookie cards you can look to get from a hobby box, buy raw, or buy already graded.

Related: Kobe’s Most Valuable Cards.

(Wondering what to pay for these cards? Read the guide I put together on how to research basketball card values online.)

1 1996 Bowman’s Best #R23 Kobe Bryant

2 1996 Topps Finest #269 Kobe Bryant

3 1996 Fleer #203 Kobe Bryant

4 1996 Metal #181 Kobe Bryant

5 1996 SkyBox Premium #55 Kobe Bryant

6 1996 SkyBox Premium #203 Kobe Bryant

(Video) 13 Kobe Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest In

7 1996 SkyBox Premium – New Editions #3 Kobe Bryant

8 1996 SkyBox Z-Force #142 Kobe Bryant

9 1996 SP #134 Kobe Bryant

10 1996 Topps #138 Kobe Bryant

11 1996 Ultra #52 Kobe Bryant

13 1996 Upper Deck UD3 #43 Kobe Bryant

1996 Bowman’s Best #R23 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (2)

Kobe’s rookie year coincided with the release of Bowman’s Best – a set which had a glossy chrome design and bold font choices.

Included in this set are 25 rookies along with Kobe being the clear standout.

Refractor and Atomic Refractor parallels are the main attraction and can yield some top dollar if graded mint.

(Video) Top 20 KOBE BRYANT Rookie Cards to invest in before he gets into Hall of Fame!

There were also some Best Cuts and Best Picks inserts, with notable players such as Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal.

If you are hunting for any of these cards in a hobby box, you get 24 packs with 6 cards per pack.

1996 Topps Finest #269 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (3)

Topps released Finest for the first time in 1993. Over the years, Topps Finest festured a protective coating over each card you need to peel off (or not).

PSA will grade cards from this 1996 Finest basketball set with both a coating and non-coating designation on the slab.

Kobe has 2 cards in the set, #74 (Apprectices) and #269 (Heirs), each with a refractor version, and each have graded versions with and without the coating.

These cards and sets are quite hard to come by, as lots of the other notable hall of fame players such as Michael Jordan appear in the set and fetch good value on the marketplace.

1996 Fleer #203 Kobe Bryant

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Kobe’s 1996 Fleer #203 rookie card is a much more common card than some of the others in this list, and therefore does not fetch as high a price.

However, a PSA 10 will still fetch mid 3-figures ($400-$500) on the open marketplace in 2020.

Michael Jordan has a number of high value cards in the set, along with Allen Iverson as this is his rookie year as well.

Kobe is also featured in two of the insert sets – Kobe Bryant Lucky 13 #13 and Kobe Brant Rookie Senations #3.

1996 Metal #181 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (5)

Fleer introduced its Metal cards in 1995, and Kobe Bryant’s 1996 Fleer Metal rookie card has emerged as one of the hobby’s top staple Kobe rookie cards.

Kobe also has a Fresh Foundation #137 insert rookie card in this set, along with a Precious Metal parallel of his base rookie.

Only around 18% of his base rookie cards in this set receive a PSA 10 Gem Mint grade, making them quite rare and desirable.

This could easily be a mid 4-figures card down the road if the hobby continues to grow.

1996 SkyBox Premium #55 Kobe Bryant

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Skybox released this higher end 1996 Skybox Premium set, which injected a little more scarcity into the hobby.

(Video) Sports Card Investing Strategy: I bought 52 Kobe Bryant Raw Rookie Cards. What did I do next?

Besides the base version, Kobe also has a “Rubies” parallel version of this card.

Ruby parallels simply feature a red foil as opposed to the standard gold foil, but because of their rarity – can fetch up to ten times the price as a base at auction.

There is a lot of speculation online as to how many cards of this set were made and how many Rubies are out there, but based on population reports – they are extremely rare.

1996 SkyBox Premium #203 Kobe Bryant

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This Kobe Bryant #203 Skybox Premium rookie can be found in series 2 hobby boxes, where as his #55 would have been found in series 1 boxes.

Both hobby boxes currently sell for over $500 on eBay in 2020.

1996 SkyBox Premium – New Editions #3 Kobe Bryant

The 1996 Skybox Premium New Editions #3 Kobe Bryant insert features a die-cut and video game controller or alien-like design.

As a rare insert, this Kobe card fetches top dollar at a PSA 10 since it is also tough to grade gem mint.

You’ll be looking to spend $2000-$3000 or more going forward for a Gem Mint version of this card. As of publishing this article, there are only 20 in existence, according to the PSA pop report.

Overall, this year of Skybox Premium has some crazy high value insert cards, including a bunch of with Michael Jordan.

1996 SkyBox Z-Force #142 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (9)

Skybox Z-Force has a stark, vibrant graphic design.

The 1996 SkyBox Z-Force #142 card is featured in the Series 2 box, as the set has 100 cards in each Series 1 and Series 2 boxes.

Other notable insert cards from this set include Big Men on Court and the very rare Slam Cam, which could only be found in 1 in 240 packs.

A PSA 10 version of this card will fetch $500+, as there are only 200 of them in the pop report as of early August 2020.

As with many of these 1996 sets, because of Kobe’s rookie year and prime Michael Jordan, expect to pay top dollar for one of these hobby boxes.

1996 SP #134 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (10)

Kobe’s 1996 SP #134 rookie card look average enough, but this SP set had lots of unique aspects to their cards, including foils, holograms, and die-cuts.

(Video) PairaGamers: "Top Kobe Bryant ROOKIE Cards to Get" (Before they go up)

This card is not all that uncommon, and has been graded nearly 7000 times.

However, it only gems at a rate of about 12%, according to PSA pop reports – which means it can fetch $1,000+ on ebay as of August 2020.

1996 Topps #138 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (11)

Topps has become such an iconic brand in the hobby, that this rather pedestrian 1996 Topps Kobe Bryant #138 rookie card has emerged as a popular staple for collectors.

It gems at a rate of about 20%, according to PSA pop reports, which is not a tough grading card compared to many other Kobe rookie cards.

In late July, early August of 2020, there was a big surge in prices for these cards. A Gem Mint 10 currently is surging to $5000 as of August 2020.

1996 Ultra #52 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (12)

The 1996 Ultra Kobe Bryant #52 rookie card is on the lower end of the scale overall, but it is a super tough card to Gem Mint, at only 7.5% according to PSA pop report.

In fact, there are only 284 PSA 10s in existence, which explains the $2000+ price tag on an auction in July 2020.

However, you can still pick up a PSA 9 for a few hundred bucks.

While not a particularly exciting hobby box, it still will sell in excess of $500 and continue to rise over time as supply shrinks.

1996 Upper Deck – Rookie Exclusives #R10 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (13)

The 1996 Upper Deck set included these Rookie Exclusives inserts, starring both Kobe Bryant #R10 and Allen Iverson R1.

These inserts can be found in the Series 2 Hobby Boxes, which also feature a unique Jordan’s Viewpoint insert series.

These Kobe rookie cards are not a particularly tough grade, with an equal amount of PSA 8s and 10s, with the bulk falling into the PSA 9 range.

1996 Upper Deck UD3 #43 Kobe Bryant

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest (14)

The final card in the Kobe Bryant rookie card list is this 1996 UD3 Kobe Bryant #43 Aerial Artists.

Kobe has another rookie card from this set called “Hardwood Prospects“, but I feel this one stands out from a design and action photo perspective.

Upper Deck released UD3 in 1996 and 1997. A hobby box from Kobe’s rookie year will set you back $500+, like many of the other hobby boxes from Bryant’s rookie year.

(Video) Complete Kobe Bryant Base Rookie Card Collection & Checklist

FAQs

13 Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards To Collect and Invest? ›

Contents hide
  • 1 1996 Bowman's Best #R23 Kobe Bryant.
  • 2 1996 Topps Finest #269 Kobe Bryant.
  • 3 1996 Fleer #203 Kobe Bryant.
  • 4 1996 Metal #181 Kobe Bryant.
  • 5 1996 SkyBox Premium #55 Kobe Bryant.
  • 6 1996 SkyBox Premium #203 Kobe Bryant.
  • 7 1996 SkyBox Premium – New Editions #3 Kobe Bryant.
  • 8 1996 SkyBox Z-Force #142 Kobe Bryant.
Aug 5, 2020

Is a Kobe Bryant rookie card a good investment? ›

Kobe Bryant rookie cards are not only a good bet in the short term, but also an excellent long term investment. In fact, some would say that you would be downright crazy not to have a few Kobe rookie cards in your sports card investment portfolio.

How much can I get for my Kobe Bryant rookie card? ›

Out of Kobe Bryant's base rookie cards, the most valuable is the 1996-97 Topps Chrome #138 card. Copies of the card in Mint (PSA 9) condition average $3000 at auction, however ungraded copies can typically be found for cheaper on eBay. Just be careful as reprints have been floating around.

How many different Kobe Bryant rookie cards are there? ›

Each of the 16 primary rookie cards for Kobe Bryant can be seen below. They are all traditional base offerings as autographed or serial numbered cards had not become common with rookie cards yet. When available, parallels are referenced for the rookies.

What makes a rookie card valuable? ›

Rookie cards are worth more than other cards of the same player because they were historically scarcer and harder to come by in top condition than cards issued later in a player's career.

How much is a Kobe Bryant trading card worth? ›

The reported sales price on that card is US$1.75 millon, according to PWCC. This card appears to be one issued during the 1997-98 NBA campaign, which was Bryant's second season in the National Basketball Association. He was named an All-Star that season.

How much is Shaquille O Neal's rookie card worth? ›

Shaquille O'Neal is featured in at least 258 basketball cards in our database including this 1992 Topps Base. We track this card in 6 grades including PSA 10, PSA 9, PSA 8, BGS 9.5, BGS 9 and Raw. The highest price we're tracking for Shaquille O'Neal's 1992 Topps Base is $10,000.00 and the lowest price is $9.99.

What is a Michael Jordan rookie card worth? ›

Autographed Michael Jordan Rookie Card Could Fetch up to $3 Million at Christie's. A 1986 Michael Jordan rookie card, signed by the basketball legend, will be offered at a Christie's online-only auction next month with an estimated value between US$2 million and US$3 million.

Are Larry Bird cards worth anything? ›

While mint condition cards can go for $700, you can grab a near-mint for around $20 to commemorate this legendary year in Bird's career. Clearly, the Michael Jordan rookie card is the key to this famous set but Bird's card is essential, too.

What is the most valuable sports card ever? ›

Honus Wagner T206 – $6.6 million

Today, they are considered the Holy Grail of baseball card collecting. In August 2021, a copy of the card became the most valuable sports card in history when it sold for $6.6 million. Only 60 of the Wagner cards are known to still exist.

How do you tell if a basketball card is a reprint? ›

A reprint card is one that is created with the sole purpose of being utilized as a collector's item, while fully acknowledging that the card is a reproduction. Sometimes, but not always, a reprint has some text such as 'reprint' printed on the card to help distinguish it from the authentic card.

How do I sell my rookie card? ›

No matter what types of cards you have in your collection, eBay can be a great option--especially if you need to sell your cards quickly.
...
With eBay, you can have several formats in which you can sell your cards:
  1. auction.
  2. fixed-price.
  3. fixed-price with ability to accept offers.

What is the highest value rookie card? ›

A 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Patrick Mahomes rookie autographed card sold at a private auction for $4.3 million, making it the most expensive NFL trading card sale to date. The card is a BGS 8.5 and 1-of-1.

Which type of rookie cards are most valuable? ›

It's believed there are only three PSA 10 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie cards that exist, making it the most valuable rookie card of all time, in any sport.

How much money does it cost to grade a card? ›

PSA grading costs range anywhere from $20 per card all the way up to $10,000 per card, depending on the value of the card, the age of the card, how many cards you're submitting at one time, how fast you want the turnaround to be, and other factors. Below is a complete rundown of the PSA grading cost levels.

Can you make money selling sports cards? ›

It is possible to make money buying and selling trading cards without following the game closely. However, you are definitely putting yourself at a disadvantage. So if you're not a fan, learn the basics of the pro game. Being able to talk baseball builds a lot of trust with both buyers and sellers.

How much is Ken Griffey rookie card worth? ›

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $300

Along with the flagship Donruss set, Griffey also appeared in the smaller (336 cards in total) "Baseball's Best" box set that Donruss released through retail stores that year.

How much is Larry Bird's rookie card worth? ›

1980-81 Topps Larry Bird, Magic Johnson Rookie Card Sells for Over $74,000.

What is LeBron James rookie card worth? ›

Collectors continue to seek out rare and valuable LeBron James cards. Goldin Auctions set a new record price when a 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Patch Autograph sold for over $2 million dollars.

How many Tom Brady rookie cards are there? ›

In total, there are 44 different Tom Brady rookie cards (45 if you count the second base option in Omega). This staggering number includes 26 serial-numbered cards (2,000 copies or less) and just one autograph.

What is the rarest basketball card? ›

Panini's 2009-10 Panini National Treasures is one of the most coveted sets of all time, with Curry's Logoman rookie card leading the way. Not only is Curry's Logoman serial-numbered 1-of-1 autograph rookie card the most expensive basketball card ever sold, but also one of the most valuable sports cards in the hobby.

Is there an app to scan baseball cards? ›

CollX (pronounced “collects”) answers the question every collector has: “What's it worth?” The app lets you scan any baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, or wrestling card and instantly identify it and get the average market value.

How much is Shaquille O Neal's rookie card worth? ›

Shaquille O'Neal is featured in at least 258 basketball cards in our database including this 1992 Topps Base. We track this card in 6 grades including PSA 10, PSA 9, PSA 8, BGS 9.5, BGS 9 and Raw. The highest price we're tracking for Shaquille O'Neal's 1992 Topps Base is $10,000.00 and the lowest price is $9.99.

What is a Michael Jordan rookie card worth? ›

Autographed Michael Jordan Rookie Card Could Fetch up to $3 Million at Christie's. A 1986 Michael Jordan rookie card, signed by the basketball legend, will be offered at a Christie's online-only auction next month with an estimated value between US$2 million and US$3 million.

How much is LeBron James rookie card worth? ›

Collectors continue to seek out rare and valuable LeBron James cards. Goldin Auctions set a new record price when a 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Patch Autograph sold for over $2 million dollars.

Videos

1. From $10 to $1000! | Hunt Kobe Bryant Rookie cards & 90s FIRE | 1996-97 Collector’s Choice [S3 E49]
(90s Bball Cards)
2. Kobe Bryant Collections | Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards | Is it worth it? | Build Giveaway Winners
(TowerPH TV)
3. *Invest In Basketball Cards | Kobe Bryant Rookie
(SuperJam Sports)
4. Kobe Bryant Sports Cards to Invest In
(Mai the Sports Eye)
5. Kobe Bryant Basketball Card Rookie Card Values Due for Correction in 2022? We believe so see WHY!!
(Cardboard Stories)
6. Kobe Bryant, Mitchell Rookie Cards, and Hobby Box index funds! INVEST!
(Emu Cards)

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