Supply Matters: How To Spot Inefficiencies In The Card Market

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

In this article we will be discussing the PSA population reports for a few of the most popular trading card sets in the hobby. For those who don't know what a "pop report" is, it is a cumulative breakdown of how many cards have been graded by PSA and the total quantity of each grade.

For example, we know there are (317) PSA 10 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie cards in existence. These reports are such an important metric because knowing the supply of a card helps in determining value!

The first cards we will be comparing the supply and price levels are the 1999 Pokemon Game: 1st Edition, Shadowless and Base sets. We will also be doing a deep dive in to some of the most popular Panini Prizm Basketball sets and comparing their base cards against their more collectible and valuable silver parallels.

For those who are unfamiliar with the terms, the "base" is the commonly produced example of a card. A "silver" is a rare shiny parallel that is short printed in low supply.

Below, I will illustrate how the population reports for these sets have changed over the years. The goal of this article is to inform and educate about supply levels while seeing if there are any inefficiencies in the market that would signal buying opportunities.

1. Pokémon: What's The Best Value?

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

When comparing the 1999 Pokémon Game 1st Edition, Shadowless and Base Set population reports, we are going to look at Charizard, Blastoise and Venusaur. These are the main 3 Pokémon with the highest number of PSA graded copies in the set.

Population Report:


Base: 22,194

PSA 10: 437

PSA 9: 5,530

PSA 8: 5,264

Shadowless: 4,453

PSA 10: 54

PSA 9: 655

PSA 8: 794

1st Edition: 3,103

PSA 10: 122

PSA 9: 668

PSA 8: 551


Base: 8,402

PSA 10: 327

PSA 9: 2,454

PSA 8: 2,171

Shadowless: 2,033

PSA 10: 41

PSA 9: 443

PSA 8: 536

1st Edition: 1,908

PSA 10: 100

PSA 9: 553

PSA 8: 400


Base: 7,282

PSA 10: 459

PSA 9: 2,536

PSA 8: 1,706

Shadowless: 1,888

PSA 10: 90

PSA 9: 523

PSA 8: 426

1st Edition: 1,713

PSA 10: 137

PSA 9: 526

PSA 8: 331

Supply Ratios:


Base vs. Shadowless: 4.98:1

Base vs. 1st Edition: 7.15:1

Shadowless vs. 1st Edition: 1.43:1


Base vs. Shadowless: 4.13:1

Base vs. 1st Edition: 4.40:1

Shadowless vs. 1st Edition: 1.06:1


Base vs. Shadowless: 3.86:1

Base vs. 1st Edition: 4.25:1

Shadowless vs. 1st Edition: 1.10:1

Average Ratios:

Base vs. Shadowless: 4.32:1

Base vs. 1st Edition: 5.27:1

Shadowless vs. 1st Edition: 1.19:1

Summary: The supply level between Shadowless and 1st Edition is very similar (1.19/1) with the base as the outlier. Next, I'll compare the supply ratio to the price using Charizard PSA 8 as an example. 1st Edition is valued at $18,000, Shadowless is valued at $3,300, Base is valued at $840. There is a huge difference in price between 1st Edition and Shadowless while the supply levels are very similar. The price between Shadowless and Base are much closer together than the supply levels are. This catches my eye and makes me think that long term, Shadowless may currently be of great value. 

2. Panini Prizm Basketball: Buy the Silvers?

Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Panini Prizm is the flagship product for basketball and is one of the most in-demand sets in the hobby. Here we will be looking at some of the most popular cards from these sets, the 2012 Kawhi Leonard, 2013 Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2018 Luka Doncic and 2019 Zion Williamson base vs. silver population reports, as these players have the most graded copies via PSA.

2012 Kawhi Leonard:

Base: 2,120

PSA 10: 1,086

PSA 9: 888

PSA 8:  117

Silver: 71

PSA 10: 39

PSA 9: 28

PSA 8: 3

Ratio: 29.36:1

2013 Giannis Antetokounmpo:

Base: 3,887

PSA 10: 2,564

PSA 9: 1,061

PSA 8: 185

Silver: 151

PSA 10: 75

PSA 9: 66

PSA 8: 6

Ratio: 25.41:1

2018 Luka Doncic:

Base: 29,328

PSA 10: 16,859

PSA 9: 11,993

PSA 8: 783

Silver: 4,291

PSA 10: 2,041

PSA 9: 2,004

PSA 8: 229

Ratio: 6.83:1

2019 Zion Williamson:

Base: 31,741

PSA 10: 17,134

PSA 9: 13,454

PSA 8: 844

Silver: 3,667

PSA 10: 1,228

PSA 9: 2,167

PSA 8: 246

Ratio: 8.51:1

Summary: The ratios tell us that silver parallels were very limited when they were first introduced. As the numbers show, Panini ramped up production across the board in their 2018 set, which is understandable because the sports card market was surging and the draft class was extremely talented. As the print runs increased, so too did the base and Silver parallels.

An interesting part about the data is the 2018 vs. 2019 ratio, where there were more silvers graded by PSA in 2018 than 2019. Panini realized how much demand silver prizms brought in 2018 and decided to keep them limited in 2019, making the chase for silvers a big deal.

Looking at the numbers from an investment mindset, the silver prizms are what I would be going after. With such a low population compared to base, silvers should have a higher rate of growth, and with less supply the value should hold better in a soft market. I know Silvers cost a lot more, that’s why we need to look at percentages.

Using Card Ladder, let’s look prices over the past year (4/28/20-4/28/21)

Luka Doncic 2018 Prizm PSA 10: The rate of growth for his base is 123% while his silver is 250%.

Zion Williamson 2019 Prizm PSA 10: The rate of growth for his base PSA 10 is 5% while his silver is 49%.

You will also notice that the Kawhi and Giannis base vs. silver rates of growth are more closer than that of Luka and Zion. I believe this is because both the 2012 and 2013 sets have such a smaller supply than that of the 2018 and 2019 sets. There are only 71 Giannis silvers, so the sales are few and far between. This may cause the rate of growth to be a bit skewed. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013 Prizm PSA 10: The rate of growth for his base PSA 10 is 49% while his silver is 27%.

Kawhi Leonard 2012 Prizm PSA 10: The rate of growth for his base PSA 10 is 54% while his silver is 57%.

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