“Linflation” Rate: Charting the Skyrocketing Values of Jeremy Lin’s Best Basketball Cards

February 14, 2012

Are these heady times for New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin? Lindeed. In the span of a week, the Harvard-educated Lin has gone from an oft-discarded NBA afterthought to an unprecedented international — ahem, Linternational — phenomenon.

His every move these days — on the court and off — is a must-see social media movement. He’s made a Knicks team playing without Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire truly relevant again by averaging 26.8 points and 8 assists during the current five-game winning streak.

Rumor has it that global reaction to Lin’s career-high 38-point outburst Friday night against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on ESPN almost broke the Internet, er, Linternet. Indeed, the unassuming, likable Lin also has spawned a entirely new lexicon, an entire dictionary’s worth of Lin-littered puns like . . . Linsanity, Linsational, Linfinity, Linteresting, Lincredible, Linexplicable, Linvincible, Linspirational.

Oh, and apparently, all he does is Lin, Lin, Lin. No matter what.

Certainly that’s the case in the world of sports collectibles, where Lin’s best Rookie Cards from have rivaled the player on them in terms of upward mobility, exploding in value during the last week at an absolutely Linsane rate. Common cards that were selling for just a few hundred pennies two weeks ago are now selling briskly for a few hundred dollars and, in some cases, a few thousand dollars.

The following charts illustrate recent eBay selling patterns for four of Lin’s key 2010-11 rookie-season trading cards from Panini America. And right now, the trend shows absolutely no signs of softening. The prices seem to escalate with every Lin win, point or highlight. So stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for updates to the hysteria.

Like seemingly everyone else on the planet right now, Panini America is all in on Lin. Or All Lin. Or Linfatuated. You get the picture.