New York Media + Jeremy Lin = Trading Card Frenzy

I decided to escape the winter doldrums of Wisconsin for a bit and head to an indoor waterpark for a few days over the weekend. Little did I know I was missing the latest greatest thing since sliced bread.

In a matter of days, New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin has caused ESPN to go into hyper overdrive (who knew it was possible to make a bigger deal than Tebowmania?) and some wondered how Twitter didn’t explode. This little-known player out of Harvard didn’t even crack the Knicks lineup this season until February and played sparingly his rookie season at Golden State.

With an onset of injuries, Jeremy Lin got his shot, and that’s just what he did, shoot and shoot well, posting a career-high 38 against the Lakers that really put the talking heads on alert. In the last five games (he’s played in 10 as of Feb. 12), he has averaged 26.8 points.

He has basically played in five games, and done quite well. So what happens? His card prices skyrocket. Cards that sold on eBay for under $10 as of the end of January are now selling for $200. Autographed cards that were trending in the $20-$30 range are now selling for $800 and for his 2010-11 National Treasures card, prices are in the thousands, topped by a selling price of $4,800 for a 1-of-1 version.

This is after five games.

It’s a great story. An Asian-American player comes off the bench for one of the most famous NBA teams and takes over. His numbers weren’t even this good in college. Now comes the tough part. He likes to shoot, a lot. So does Carmelo Anthony, who hasn’t played with Lin extensively yet. Carmelo really likes to shoot, too. Can they exist?

I remember when Ronald Murray went crazy on the Milwaukee Bucks for a short spurt. He was really popular, and then, poof, teams started guarding him, he didn’t adjust and soon he was just another role player.

A lot of people have never seen such a frenzy like this in the hobby in years (although I’d say Strasburg cards were on the level). It’s great for the NBA card market, hobby shops and Panini in particular. And I’m sure many collectors have gone back to their stash to pull their long-forgotten Lin cards.

Sell now folks – buying frenzies like this  don’t last long.

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