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

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.

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.


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

  1. Hi..what can you tell me about his 2010-11 Prestige card # 187, it says on the back – Guaranteed by Panini authentic auto , but theres no auto on the front, is this an error card that has been corrected and would you exchange my no-auto card for a auto card ? Thanks and i’ll await your response…..!

      1. jp98, did you ever stop to consider that it really is an autographed card that is missing an auto? It could be that some quick verbal footwork on Panini’s part is taking advantage of a collector? Who knows?

        1. As you can imagine, this was a topic of much discussion when this product released and it was a regrettable printing error that led to the confusion. We are by no means attempting to dupe collectors. It was a mistake. And now as then, we apologize.

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  3. My friend and I went on a “Lin-scursion” to a number of card shops this weekend with no luck on finding one, even the sealed packs and boxes were gone. I haven’t seen a frenzy like this in a long time, great job covering it with this article Tracy!

  4. Its incredible what a stir this guy is causing. Its Linsane! I think it will deflate once melo and Amare are back in the lineup and the Knicks start to lose again. Thats right. lol. I was a huge Knicks fan back in their Ewing, Oakley, Starks days but I can’t watch em now. However I am enjoying the hightlights of Lin.

    Ps Tracy….it should be called the Knights Lince. Or PaLini America. I enjoyed your Lins..thought i would ad-Lin some of mine 🙂

  5. EVerytime i see articles like this or see him on SportsCenter, i start crying to myself because i actually pulled all of the above cards last year and at the time i was mad becasue i didnt pull a John Wall auto or a Kobe or Durant auto and to make things even worse, i sold them to my local cardshop owner for about $5 each! Yea i know, im a sucker but thats why i love this hobby because within a few weeks or even a few days, a player can come out of nowhere and go from the bottom of the hotlist to the very top! This is a good story for the NBA and for us card collectors, unless you are one of the dumb collectors that sold his autos for $5….Yea im that guy. Keep up the great work Panini!!!

  6. If I’m not mistaken, the Classics auto’d RC is the ONLY true rookie card with an on-card auto. The card from Elite Black is not considered a RC and the Timeless Treasure is a signed piece of simulated basketball that is then inserted intot the actual card so Lin never “touched” the card. The National Treasure RC that’s going for outrageous amounts is a lousy sticker auto. The Rookies & Stars and the Longevity RCs are also sticker autos. It seems the Classics card is the one to invest in.

      1. That’s true… it is hard signed but it’s not a TRUE rookie card. It’s a card from his rookie year. My point was that the Classics card is the only one that is considered an “RC” that is hard signed.

  7. I am glad to see last years Classic set get a nice bump. It is one of my favorite designs and it deserves this level of attention.

    I can’t wait to see the frenzy when his first card as a Knick hits the streets.

    Nice charts by the way.

  8. As great as this all is for the hobby, I have a hard time believing that people are actually honoring their bids. I’ve had 2 buyers back out of Lin sales. It seems that the frenzy grabs people, they make the bid and win, then have a bout of common sense and not pay. I would be really interested to see who is actually honoring their $500+ bids.

    1. I’m not trying to be a downer but this is a reality when dealing with buyers on Ebay. There is absolutely no reason why a buyer has to complete a deal once they win the auction. They can’t receive negative feedback and the sellers filing a Non-Payer alert is maybe 50/50. I can understand a legitimate auction of a Classics RC selling for $25-$30, but $225+? C’mon now.

    2. for me i have gotten paid on all my big lin sales, i think its legit although i haven’t sold a NT auto, only some Limited and boxes where you can pull him.

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