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Basketball Card Market Energized by Victor Wembanyama's Arrival

Victor Wembanyama has electrified a previously unsteady basketball card market. As his career unfolds, collectors eagerly await the release of his cards, bolstered by a surge in draft products and on-demand printing. This vitality is further amplified by the competition between two card manufacturing giants vying to distribute his coveted cards.

The towering 7-foot-4-inch French prodigy has sparked a collector's gold rush, with enthusiasts scrambling to acquire any Wemby memorabilia. Since his initial card release last spring, eBay has witnessed the sale of over 62,000 Wembanyama cards, amounting to a staggering $6.3 million in sales. Notably, eighteen cards have fetched upwards of $10,000 each. Coinciding with his NBA debut, the past month alone has seen over 27,000 cards sold, totaling over $2.6 million.

A highlight sale includes one of five Bowman Chrome University Red Refractor redemption cards from the 2022-23 season, which commanded an impressive $20,000 in August. Another, a PSA 10 Gold Refractor autograph card from 2022 Bowman U, limited to 50, sold for $15,850.

Wembanyama's journey over the past two years has been meteoric. Compared to the likes of LeBron James, Wembanyama started his professional career in France at 15. His exceptional skills, including his shot-blocking, agility, and surprising shooting range for his height, have been the talk of fans and scouts. His NBA-ready talents were on full display against the G League’s Ignite team, where he scored 73 points across two games. Post his tenure with Metropolitans 92, he was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs following their lottery win.

Wembanyama’s style is a blend of old-school and modern play. His interior dominance and three-point shooting create challenging dynamics for opponents. His advanced basketball intellect, game-reading skills, and decision-making under pressure accentuate his on-court presence. His record of 35+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 2+ blocks in a game places him among elite company, including Durant and James.

While a rookie card featuring Wemby in a Spurs jersey is pending, his collegiate and other unlicensed cards remain in demand.

A review of his top cards includes the 2022 Bowman University Inception, where his autograph, a redemption, is especially prized. The 2022 Bowman University Chrome offers his first base card and chrome autograph. Despite a lackluster finish, these cards are valued for their '1st Bowman' tag. The 2022 Bowman University Best provides a more accessible base card and Wembanyama's first live autograph.

Topps Now and Panini Instant have both featured Wembanyama in limited-time offers. Topps Now cards capture moments like his draft day and a Yankees game pitch, while Panini Instant showcases him in Spurs attire. Allen & Ginter's 2023 collection includes Wembanyama with base cards, parallels, and autographs, maintaining affordability due to high availability.

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