Basketball Hall of Fame Induction 2021: How Did It Affect Card Prices?

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The 2020 Hall of Fame Class brought nine inductions on May 15, 2021, headlined by Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett. Enshrinement in the Hall of Fame cements a player’s career and legacy, but what does that mean for their card prices? 

Does it become the moment where their cards rise in value due to the permanence of their induction? Do they fall because of an influx of supply? How do rarer cards behave after the induction versus the more common, flagship rookie cards?

Let’s dive into the data to find out! 

1. Kobe Bryant

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Bryant’s induction carried the most significance in the hall of fame class, given his passing in early 2020. His cards have had a tremendous increase in value, but after peaking in February, they have fallen in value in the recent months. 

While certain popular cards like his Topps Chrome Refractor have not had any recent sales, Goldin Auctions does have two copies for sale currently, and one copy is above the most recent sale value of $270,600:

Goldin Auctions

The current $280,000 bid is a 3% increase from its previous sale, and there are 5 days left in the auction. 

Up next is his 1996 Topps Chrome Base PSA 10:


On 4/19/21 this once $45,100 card hit its lowest valuation since early January at $22,950, a 49% dip. It’s worth noting, however, that while the card significantly dropped in value from its record high, it could have been purchased for under $10,000 as recently as November 2020. 

On 5/10/21, just a few days prior to his induction, the card rebounded to $23,500, for a 2% gain. 

On 5/12, the card increased in value again, this time to $25,000:


This represents a gain of 6% in value from the previous sale. It’s worth noting that the card got as high as $27,500 on 4/30, but has generally declined in value since its record sale on 2/14. There are currently twenty-two copies of this card available on eBay (2.6% of the total population), two copies listed on MySlabs, and four copies at Goldin Auctions currently. 

The same general pricing pattern is occurring with the Kobe Bryant Topps PSA 10:


The Topps base card is in a decline with a number of peaks and valleys but has found a bit of upward momentum with its recent $5,300.99 sale, a gain of 4% over 48 hours. There are about 50 copies of this card listed on eBay currently, indicating an abundance of supply for ready buyers. 

It’s clear that the hall of fame induction didn’t automatically drive prices back up to their late-winter highs, and even lower pop, autographed cards haven’t yet rebounded: 


This chart shows recent prices for his 2012 Prizm auto (first year of that set, pop 78). The latest sale on 4/22/21 represents a 20% drop in price since March. We don’t yet have any sales post Hall of Fame induction, but given the patterns of Bryant’s other cards, we wouldn’t likely see a major jump in price.

2. Tim Duncan

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ESPN ranked Tim Duncan one spot ahead of Kobe Bryant on its best NBA players of all-time list. However, Duncan’s cards have generally commanded significantly less value. 

It’s been attributed to his quiet demeanor and fundamental style of play, as he’s also known as “The Big Fundamental”. 

Cultural relevance matters more than just a rank, and it’s reflected in Duncan’s Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10 prices: 


The card is a pop 106, compared to Bryant’s pop 63 refractors PSA 10, but is worth about 10 times less

However, Duncan’s refractor has been less volatile than Bryant’s: 

Tim Duncan 1997 Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10: 22% drop from peak value on 2/14 

Kobe Bryant 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor PSA 10: 46% drop from peak value on 2/2/21. 

There are currently 3 copies (2.8% of the population) of Duncan’s rookie refractor PSA 10s on eBay. 

Leading up to Duncan’s enshrinement, his Topps Chrome base PSA 10 hit a low of $1,462.50 on 5/8:


The card rebounded to $1,950 on 5/11/21, a 33% increase from the low, but it still hasn’t neared its peak prices from February. There are 77 copies of this card currently listed on eBay (3.2% of the population). While it’s a small portion of the population, buyers likely don’t feel a sense of urgency to purchase given the number of active listings for the card. 

The PSA 9 version of this card hit $402.50, on 5/12, an increase of 26% from 5/9/21:


While we aren’t looking at record-breaking prices, and this analysis is contained in small windows, there is a general trend of small, upward momentum in the days leading up to the Hall of Fame induction. Supply is abundant, indicating that an influx of demand would be needed to push prices up further.

3. Kevin Garnett

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Garnett’s flagship rookie is Topps Finest, given that the Topps Chrome set didn’t hit the market until 1996. Much like Duncan and Bryant, his cards have generally been trending downward since February and March: 


Garnett’s Topps Finest Base PSA 10 dropped by 5% from 4/29/21 to 5/6/21 and hasn’t seen a sale since. There are currently 17 copies of the card listed as “Buy It Now” options on eBay. 

Since its peak on 3/11, this card has dropped 57% in value, the largest drop out of all three Hall of Fame inductees. 

The 1995 Topps Kevin Garnett has also seen similar declines:


The card dropped 4% from 5/2/21 to 5/6/21 and is down 62% since its high on 2/14/21. 

4. What’s the conclusion?

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The data shows that the hall of fame inductions did not produce significant price increases for these three player’s cards. However, the typical explanation for this behavior is that there’s a flood of supply, with sellers knowing that the Hall of Fame or any other significant career moment might be a good time to capture the most value. 

While we are mostly seeing 2-3% of the total population of cards listed, the absolute numbers are fairly high and it does appear that a flood of supply has entered the market from sellers hoping to capitalize on the announcement. 

On top of the influx of supply, it’s likely that the average 46% price drop across these cards since February / March may have buyers a bit more cautious during this cycle of the market. It’s possible that the Hall of Fame anticipation started much earlier and as a result, these cards hit record prices months prior to the actual event taking place. 

Post Hall of Fame induction, there’s plenty of copies to go around with many recent listings. We saw the same thing happen in football, with a flood of supply hitting the market after a Superbowl win, and it drove prices down. This is likely the same behavior - it might be a time for a buyer to take advantage of the available supply! 

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