Top 6 James Harden Rookie Cards to Buy Before Prices Explode

Top 6 James Harden Rookie Cards to Buy Before Prices Explode

James Harden went from sixth man to franchise cornerstone following a surprise preseason trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets. With that, collectors may want to consider James Harden rookie cards as they look primed to explode.

Learn more about all James Harden rookie cards.

In a short amount of time, the third overall pick in the 2009 draft went to the NBA Finals, won the 2012 NBA Sixth Man Award and was part of the gold medal-winning USA team at the 2012 Olympics. And while that helped garner some attention in the hobby, James Harden rookie cards still remained relatively inexpensive. But now as a member of the Rockets, things are primed to change quickly.

On the same day that he signed a contract extension with Houston, Harden dropped 37 points to go alongside 12 assists and six rebounds in his debut with the team. Although one game is hardly enough to go on as far as long-term returns on the card market, there have been a lot of signs leading up to this. The Rockets have openly said the shooting guard is a key part of their team's direction.

In Oklahoma City, Harden may have been part of a winning team, but he was the team's third man, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Houston has Jeremy Lin, but his long-term position in the league (and in the hobby) is on much shakier ground.

Collectors have more than 25 James Harden rookie cards to choose from. They're available in all price ranges. Seeing as how Harden won the NBA's Sixth Man, here are the six best James Harden rookie cards.

Top 6 James Harden Rookie Cards

1. 2009-10 Playoff National Treasures James Harden RC #203 Autographed Patch #/99

The 2009-10 Playoff National Treasures James Harden rookie card is the undisputed top choice. Limited to just 99 copies, the card also boasts an on-card autograph and a massive patch swatch. Should Harden continue to impress, it won't be long before this card hits four figures.

2009 10 Playoff National Treasures James Harden RC 99 260x184 Image

2. 2009-10 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection James Harden RC #45 Autograph #/225

Although Panini had an exclusive deal with the NBA beginning in 2009-10, the deal didn't kick in until the season began. Both Upper Deck and Topps released sets before the season began. As a result, the 2009-10 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection James Harden is considered a rookie card. With a low print run, an on-card signature and the pedigree of the Exquisite brand, this card is a strong second choice. It's also a nice alternative for those who like premium cards but either can't find or afford the high price tag that follows the National Treasures card.

2009 10 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection James Harden RC 213x300 Image

3. 2009-10 Panini Limited James Harden RC #153 Autographed Jersey #/299

The 2009-10 Panini Limited James Harden rookie certainly doesn't lack any shine. The busy design include both a jersey swatch and an autograph. It's print run of 299 is another major selling point, although the sticker autograph may be a turnoff to some.

2009 10 Panini Limited James Harden RC 299 260x184 Image

4. 2009-10 Panini Timeless Treasures James Harden RC #103 Autograph #/299

Also limited to 299, the 2009-10 Panini Timeless Treasures James Harden comes with an autograph on a piece of white basketball material. This gives the card a distinct look and feel. The uneven signing surface resulted in some autographs standing out more than others, so collectors may want to pay close attention when considering one.

2009 10 Panini Timeless Treasures James Harden 299 260x183 Image

5. 2009-10 Panini Crown Royale James Harden RC #104 Autograph #/599

For those concerned more with an autograph than a low print run, 2009-10 Panini Crown Royale is a strong choice. The print run of 599 is larger than many other cards, but it's still low enough to be a selling point. The die-cut crown design is instantly recognizable as well.

2009 10 Panini Crown Royale James Harden RC 599 215x300 Image

6. 2009-10 Playoff Contenders James Harden RC #103 Autograph

The Contenders brand has long been popular with collectors. Despite the lack of serial number the 2009-10 Playoff Contenders James Harden sells higher than most of his other rookie cards. Part of the Rookie Ticket subset, it offers a large canvas for an on-card autograph.

2009 10 Playoff Contenders James Harden RC 260x185 Image

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2009 10 PRESTIGE JAMES HARDEN 100 PSA 10 RC ROOKIE AUTO BLUE GEM MINT SP (LSL)
$28.00
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2009-10 Certified JAMES HARDEN 2-CLR G U Rookie Jersey SN#06 25 Super Nice RC
$5.99
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JAMES HARDEN 2009-10 Panini Limited Rookie Auto Jersey Refractor #251 299 RARE!
$79.95
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2009-10 Prestige Draft Picks JAMES HARDEN ROOKIE AUTO # 33 100 BGS 9 MINT
$79.95
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James Harden Houston Rockets 2009-10 Topps RC Lot X 6 Fear The Beard
$5.99
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James Harden 09-10 Absolute Memorabilia Rookie Premiere Materials Card #21 25
$34.99
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(2) 2009-10 EXQUISITE JAMES HARDEN ROOKIE RC AUTO'S 225 BGS 9 10 MINT! LOOK! $$
$799.99
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2009-10 ABSOLUTE JAMES HARDEN RC PLATINUM LOGO TAG PATCH ROCKETS TRUE #1 1
$399.99
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2009-10 CERTIFIED #173 JAMES HARDEN AUTO JERSEY ROOKIE RC 12 100 THUNDER ROCKETS
$67.45
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2009-10 UD Exquisite 45 James Harden RC Auto #ed 225 SP Autograph
$160.00
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2009-10 JAMES HARDEN UPPER DECK SP #227 ROOKIE RC HOUSTON ROCKETS ARIZONA STATE
$12.00
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2009-10 Panini James Harden Rookie OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
$5.99
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Ryan Cracknell

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Ryan's collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection. Ryan can be found on Twitter @tradercracks and Google+.

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