By Ben Milch
What a difference a few weeks makes! Since he first stepped foot on the court against the Nets on Feb. 4, New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin has taken the league by storm. Not surprisingly, the value of his autograph has skyrocketed in value, as well.
Prior to Feb. 4, Lin was a third-string point guard who had been previously released by two other teams. Although he had potential, no one was willing to give him a chance. His lack of reputation was evident in the autograph collecting world as his John Hancock failed to even break $10. For example, on Jan. 5, a 2010-2011 Panini Classics Jeremy Lin signed rookie card sold on eBay for $5.50.
Finally, after some convincing by Knicks Star Carmelo Anthony, Coach Mike D’Antoni finally gave Lin some playing time and he erupted. Suddenly, a star was born. Since Feb. 4, Linsanity has taken over New York. Likewise, Lin’s autographs are breaking records everyday. For example, according to SigPrices.com, an online price guide for autographs, that same 2010-2011 Panini Classics Lin signed rookie card that sold on Jan. 5 for $5.50 has sold for as high as $220 on eBay on Feb. 14. That is an increase of more than 4,000 percent! Such increase is unheard of in this stage of the year in the NBA.
Such a perfect storm in a player has not gone unnoticed. According to SigPrices.com, Lin’s autographed rookie cards have soared to new heights, including a $10,100 bid for a 2010-11 Playoff Auto Patch limited-edition autographed rookie card on eBay on Feb. 20. And then on Feb. 23, a 2010-11 National Treasures Prime Patch Auto Jersey #17/25 BGS 9.5 RC sold for $21,580.
Because of Lin’s meteoric rise, Lin signed memorabilia (other than pre-produced basketball cards) is hard to come by. It is even more rare to find an item that has been authenticated by a reputable authentication company. But, that is not stopping collectors.
For example, a Lin signed Warriors Jersey (with authentication by a Warriors employee) just sold on eBay for $1,025. Meanwhile, a Lin single-signed basketball just sold on eBay on Feb. 15 for $305! To give a comparison, one could purchase a PSA/DNA authenticated single-signed basketball from a future hall of famer like Kobe Bryant for as little as $220. Although Lin still has a long way to go before reaching Kobe’s level, collectors are ready to anoint Lin as basketball’s next superstar.