5 Most Valuable Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards

Kobe Bryant entered the NBA in 1996-97, fresh out of high school, and was pushed into the spotlight by playing in Los Angeles. There are many Kobe Bryant rookie cards, with many as exciting in eye appeal as his play on the court.

Important: Always do your research. Don’t purchase a card without ensuring it’s in the condition you expect and a legitimate authentic card.

5. 1996 Ultra Platinum Medallion #P52, $3,500

The design of this Kobe Bryant rookie card is exciting as it features the young legend floating gracefully through the air for a layup accompanied by electrifying text and font. The borders can be highly susceptible to showing wear and chipping so always review the condition. The estimated PSA 10 value is $3,500.

4. 1996 Finest Gold Atomic Refractor #269, Up To $5,000

The finest products remain heavy collector favorites across the hobby, and this gold atomic refractor of Kobe Bryant’s 1996 “Heir” subset issue is no exception. The cards were distributed with a thin plastic coating to protect the highly condition-sensitive fronts.

The imagery on this card is one of the more exhilarating of Kobe Bryant’s rookie cards as it shows him going up for a reverse slam. The estimated value depending on the grading company is between $3,500 and $5,000.

3. 1996 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 0 #31, $5,000

The 1996 Flair Showcase set offered an exciting yet complicated grouping of base cards that were broken into tiers of scarcity that they called “Row 0”, “Row 1,” and “Row 2”.

Each player had only one card per row.  Row 0 was the most scarce, Row 2 was the least scarce. These cards can cost around $5,000 each, depending on the condition.

2. 196 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials #30, $13,000

The 1996-1997 Skybox E-X2000 featured a limited number of cards but was loaded with high-quality, cutting-edge designs. The credentials parallels numbered 499 and featured die-cut images of the players along with off-white colored foil borders.

These don’t come up for sale very often in top grades due to extreme condition sensitivity, but they go for huge bucks when they do. They are estimated to cost around $13,000 each.

1. 1996 Topps Chrome Refractor #138, Up To $156,000

This is, without a doubt, the most sought-out Kobe Bryant rookie card. The base version is expensive, but it’s the refractor parallels whose prices are off the charts.

Examples of this card that have been graded in PSA 10 condition have been selling for above $130,000. The last time one of these in PSA 10 Gem Mint condition sold in 2022, it went for an incredible $156,000.

While a Black Label Pristine 10 and PSA 10 are the highest grades a card can obtain, that isn’t to say that other grades aren’t of value. Shop around before you sell this kind of card because you never know who will pay top dollar for it.


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