The Meteoric Rise of Matthew Dellavedova’s Top Rookie Card . . . from $26 to $255

June 11, 2015

Panini America Matthew Dellavedova Rookie Cards (1)

You can learn a lot about a guy by watching him play a few games on basketball’s biggest stage. One week ago today, on the eve of Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals, Matthew Dellavedova was a relatively obscure presence tucked away harmlessly on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench. But that changed in a huge, global kind of way during Games 2 and 3. That’s when the fiery Australian took over for the injured Kyrie Irving and, in the process, initiated a worldwide “Delly” movement by helping Cleveland secure victories in both games to take a 2-1 series lead entering tonight’s pivotal Game 4.

“Delly,” it turns out, is a ferocious, feisty bundle of relentlessness with a scrappy disposition, a scruffy beard and a game that seems just as suited for Aussie rules football as it is for the NBA. He puts “guard” in the guard position (NBA MVP Steph Curry will attest to that) and seems to secure every loose ball with a dive-first, think-second mentality. He’s forever either on the ground, underneath a mass of humanity or completely bewildering Warriors with a pestering defensive presence and just enough timely offense. Indeed, while the second-year player hails from the land down under, he’s intent on putting Cleveland over the top. And the world is watching.

Dellavedova averaged just 4.8 points and 20 minutes per game during the 2014-15 regular season. In Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals, by comparison, he’s averaged 14.5 points and more than 40 minutes per game. Clearly, the Cavaliers have benefited as much as Dellavedova has from the increased exposure. So, too, have astute card collectors.

For a succinct illustration of Dellavedova’s meteoric rise, look no further than the market surrounding his top Rookie Cards, most notably his 2013-14 National Treasures Basketball #121 from Panini America that’s limited to 99 copies and includes a piece of Dellavedova-worn jersey and the Aussie’s appropriately bold autograph. A card currently valued at $80 by Beckett Media sold for a meager $26 on June 7 in an auction that ended during Game 2. Yesterday, following Dellavedova’s 20-point outburst in Game 3, a copy of the card sold for $255.

If you’re counting at home (and we know you are) that’s an increase in sale price of $229 in a span of three days. And one look at recent completed Dellavedova auctions on eBay reveals similar appreciation on all of his best Panini America cards. In the gallery that follows, we showcase several of Dellavedova’s best cards — a collection of in-demand gems that’s a lot more valuable today than it was just a few shorts days ago.

And just imagine where they’ll land if the fiery, fiesty, ferocious Australian helps engineer two victories over Golden State. Stay tuned.