Halley's Comet comes around about every 75 years. Over the past week, sports fans witnessed something even rarer. Jeremy Lin shot from relative obscurity, both in the NBA and in the hobby, to instant superstar. Just a couple of weeks ago, even the best Jeremy Lin cards weren't getting much attention. Skip ahead to today. Since February 7th, 13 Jeremy Lin cards sold on eBay for more than $1,000 (with a couple more going for $999).
It's likely that only basketball diehards were giving Lin much attention at the start of the month. But going under the radar has been Lin's specialty. Playing for Harvard, he didn't get an athletic scholarship because Ivy League schools don't offer them. After going undrafted, Lin signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2010.
Jeremy Lin cards didn't do much as he saw little playing time in his rookie season. He was sent to the Warriors' D-League team three times. Golden State waived Lin this past December, on the first day of training camp after the lockout. The Houston Rockets picked Lin off the waiver wire a couple of days later, but waived him on Christmas Eve. The New York Knicks claimed him three days later, likely with very low expectations.
Jeremy Lin arrived in the eyes of collectors and basketball fans on February 4th after scoring 25 points to go with five rebounds and seven assists against the Nets. This was enough to earn a starting spot the following night versus the Utah Jazz where he scored another 28 points. The fairy tale continued with another stellar performance against the Washington Wizards with Lin scoring 23 points. At this point, Jeremy Lin cards were really starting to move, but he wasn't done yet.
On February 10th, the Knicks were taking on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Lin set a new career high with 38 points, leading New York to a tight victory. The following night, the Knicks beat Minnesota 100-98 on Lin's 20 points and eight assists. More important than Lin's individual stats, the Knicks were winning and back in contention for a playoff spot.
Just a couple of weeks ago, collectors could have had the best Jeremy Lin cards for less than $15. On January 26th, a two-card lot with a 2010-11 National Treasures Basketball autographed jersey #/99 and a 2010-11 Playoff Contenders autographed manufactured patch sold on eBay for $26. On February 11th, two separate auctions featuring one of the National Treasures autographed jersey cards peaked at $1950. A 1/1 laundry tag version of the card sold for an astonishing $4800 on February 10th.
Simply put, the rise of Jeremy Lin cards is hard to comprehend. While he makes for a fantastic story, it's going to be near impossible for these prices to keep up. And I doubt many collectors expect them to. That being said, the days of being able to get an autographed Jeremy Lin rookie for $10 are long gone. Even the most basic and common Jeremy Lin rookie cards are going for more than that now.
To really get a perspective on the rise of Jeremy Lin cards, here are the top sales recorded on eBay in the past week versus the last week of January.
Top eBay Sales of Jeremy Lin Cards - February 7-13
- 2010-11 National Treasures Prime Laundry Tag Autograph #194 1/1 $4800 (Feb. 10)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey 33/99 #194 $1950 (Feb. 11)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey 66/99 #194 $1950 (Feb. 11)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey 93/99 #194 $1825 (Feb. 11)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey 62/99 #194 $1800 (Feb. 12)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey 46/99 #194 $1650 (Feb. 11)
- 2010-11 Panini Absolute Spectrum Black 1/1 #136 $1599.99 (Feb. 12)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey 07/99 #194 $1499 (Feb. 10)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey ?/99 #194 $1475 (Feb. 11)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey 08/99 #194 $1450 (Feb. 11)
Top eBay Sales of Jeremy Lin Cards - January 25-31
- Two-card lot: 2010-11 National Treasures Autographed Jersey #194 10/99 and Playoff Contenders Rookie Patch Autograph #141 $26 (Jan. 26)
- 2010-11 National Treasures Autograph 75/99 #194 $24.95 (Jan. 27)
- 2010-11 Panini Timeless Treasures Autograph RC ?/299 #131 $9.50 (Jan. 31)
- 2010-11 Panini Season Update Dual Autograph with Omer Asik 01/99 #60 $9.01 (Jan. 26)
- 2010-11 Rookies & Stars Longevity Autograph 485/599 #129 $9 (Jan. 29)