As the 2014 World Cup approaches its final stages, the autograph heavyweights found in 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup have begun separating themselves from the rest of the 50-card checklist. This top tier is a solid mix of superstars and former greats, as well as current and future stars.
With a $100+ price tag and no guarantees on autographs, 2014 Prizm World Cup is very hit-or-miss. However, the following ten autographs have all proven to be valuable options for collectors, and when sold, each should at least cover the cost of the box, and possibly much more.
It is important to note that all of the cards come with sticker autographs. Because of this, a certain premium is placed on cards where the signature does not run off the side of the sticker. Although it varies for each player, some of the options for fully-intact signatures can be very limited.
Top Selling 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Autographs
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*Ranking is based on the overall average eBay.com sales information to 6/30/14. All graded and parallel cards were excluded to present a consistent representation of value.
Cristiano Ronaldo may not be the most likable superstar, but his Prizm card values suggest that collectors don't mind his prima donna reputation. Card prices started around $400, but have actually pushed much higher and currently sit around $800-900. This is despite a rather underwhelming World Cup from Ronaldo, which saw his team eliminated during the group stage.
The main explanation for this is due to the apparently limited print run for these Cristiano Ronaldo autographs. Based on the cards that have been listed online, this looks to be one of the rarest cards in the entire product and that fact has not been lost on collectors.
Lionel Messi is one of the only players on the list to continue progressing through the tournament, and this allows him the shot at considerable gains, depending on how Argentina does. Not nearly as rare as the Ronaldo cards, roughly twice as many Messi cards have sold during the same period. Although he has played well and the team has made it deep into the tournament, Messi's card values have virtually remained the same and currently sit around the $600 mark.
One thing that is immediately clear is that it does not matter to collectors that Pelé has been retired for decades. The Brazilian great is the top selling option among former players and also appears to be one of the most limited cards in the product, based on the amount that has surfaced. The sales range is little wider, but average prices have remained consistent at around $450.
The market for Roberto Baggio autographs follow the typical result seen in most card products. Out of the gate, prices were quite strong, with sales around $600. However, over time, the cards have come down. The total average is close to $350 and current values sit between $250-300.
As the only up-and-coming star on the list, Neymar attracted additional attention based on this being his first pack-pulled autograph and because his first World Cup appearance came as a member of the host team. Neymar's autographed cards started out at around $250-300 and have pushed slightly higher due to his scoring success.
Although Brazil made a good showing at the World Cup, Neymar suffered a serious injury that cut his time short. This will likely derail the ascent of his card values for a time, but it does not appear to to be an injury that will have any long-term effects. Current values hover around $350.
Although there are a few outliers, sales of Franz Beckenbauer autographs in Prizm World Cup have remained very stable. Current card values for the the retired German star stick close to the average of just over $150.
The former coach for Ajax, AC Milan and the Netherlands National Team, Marco van Basten is best remembered for his scoring prowess during his prime in the 1980s and 1990s. Basten's Prizm autographs have stayed mainly in the $100-150 range, and average around $130.
Basten's teammate with the Netherlands and a former manager of Chelsea, Ruud Gullit also checks in on the top sales list. Gullit was named the top player in Europe and worldwide in 1987. Although the range of sales has been more varied, Gullit's Prizm autographs sell for around $115, on average.
Bobby Charlton remains one of the biggest names in English soccer and this former World Cup champion is still popular with collectors. Prices started around $150, but have since come down to around the $110 mark. Despite being more limited than many of the other autographs, Charlton's autographed card has not seen any real increase.
Before he was the American head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann was a legitimate star for Germany and helped them win the 1990 World Cup. Klinsmann's card sales average around $100, but they have dipped below that amount recently.
Other Notable 2014 Prizm World Cup Autographs
Despite not making the top ten, several current players have shown strong collecting interest and/or potential for growth, and are highlighted below.
Many may wonder why he did not crack the top ten after his much-publicized emergence at the World Cup. James Rodríguez is now easily one of the biggest names in this product, but his sales did not really pick up until his performance against Uruguay in the Round of 16. Until that point, James' cards were mostly selling in the $30-$60 range, which brings down his overall average.
Plus, the time period covered does not account for the many of his recent sales, where most of his cards sold for $300+. If that average price holds true in the long run, it puts him just behind Neymar in the top ten.
Robin van Persie has been on the collecting radar for years thanks to his stellar club play, but he really got the attention of fans with his impressive goal against Spain. If he can finally lead the Netherlands to the World Cup title, there is plenty of opportunity for increases in value.
Similar to his teammate, van Persie, Arjen Robben is a star player with good name recognition. His values will surge if the Netherlands can finally win the World Cup.
Injuries and an early Italian exit resulted in a less-enthusiastic market for Gianluigi Buffon Prizm autographs. Likely nearing the end of his international career, Buffon's best days are behind him, but he is a legend in Italian soccer thanks to his 2006 World Cup win, and this will keep his values steady.
Like Buffon, Andrea Pirlo's values suffered somewhat because of the disappointing performance of Italy in the 2014 World Cup. However, his ability to dominate a game is unquestioned, and this makes Pirlo's signed cards a notable option. While his international career is likely done, Pirlo can still boost his values by continuing his strong play with Juventus.
England also put forth a disappointing performance in the World Cup, but Steven Gerrard commands plenty of collecting respect. It remains to be seen how much Gerrard has left, but collectors still have considerable interest in the Liverpool midfielder.
He might be mentally unstable and he clearly has a problem with biting people, but it is hard to overlook the talent of Luis Suárez. If he can get his act together and repeat the form he displayed during the 2013-14 EPL season, this card is in line for some serious gains.