Modern Sports Cards with the Potential to be Future Classics

Sports Cards

Many of the most valuable sports cards fit into the “vintage” category. While the definition varies based on who you’re talking to, most people consider vintage anything that was produced before 1980.

Vintage sports cards continue to increase in value, which makes it increasingly more difficult for the average collector to obtain them. This is especially true of high-end cards such as the iconic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. Recent high-grade Mantle’s have sold for well into the seven figures.

Fortunately, there’s another option: modern sports cards. When buying modern cards, there are a few things to remember.

  • Modern base cards are produced in higher quantities than vintage cards.
  • Inserts, parallels, and cards from premium brands — such as National Treasures — have the best chance of turning into the “must-have” cards of tomorrow.
  • Sports cards of the best modern players are most likely to hold their value in the future.

With all this in mind, let’s turn our attention to the modern sports cards with the most potential to be future classics. For the sake of this list, we’ll stick to cards that were produced from 2000 to the present.


  • 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James #111: Recent sale – PSA 10, $8,523
  • 2018-19 Panini Prizm Luka Doncic #280: Recent sale – PSA 10, $429
  • 1992 Upper Deck Shaquille O'Neal #1: Recent sale – PSA 10, $1,750
  • 2019 Panini Prizm Zion Williamson #248: Recent sale – PSA 10, $103.50
  • 2009 Topps Stephen Curry: Recent sale – PSA 10, $7,301


  • 2019 Topps Chrome Fernando Tatis Jr. #203: Recent sale – PSA 10, $72
  • 2018 Topps Update Ronald Acuna #250: Recent sale – PSA 10, $45
  • 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout #175: Recent sale – PSA 10, $1,670


  • 2020 Panini Prizm Justin Herbert Silver #325: Recent sale – PSA 10, $1,875
  • 2017 Panini Prizm Patrick Mahomes Silver #269: Recent sale – PSA 10, $4,450
  • 2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady #236: Recent sale – PSA 10, $12,198

Hockey and Soccer

  • 2005 Upper Deck Sydney Crosby #1: Recent sale – PSA 10, $195
  • 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi #89: Recent sale – PSA 10, $3,950
  • 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup Kylian Mbappe #80: Recent sale – PSA, $202.50

These cards range in value from several hundred to more than $10,000, so take the time to research each one before investing. Card Ladder is the leading tool for tracking long-term pricing trends, while the PSA Population Report is the go-to resource for uncovering grading data from the world’s leading card grader.

As with any sports card, condition plays a big part in value. For example, a 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James PSA 10 Gem Mint recently sold for $8,523. That’s in comparison to a PSA 9 that sold for $2,075 within days of the PSA 10.

So, if you plan to buy modern sports cards as an investment, condition should play a major role in every purchase that you make. The higher the grade, the rarer the card. And with that, there’s a greater chance of the value increasing over the long run.

Remember this: the word “classic” means something different to everyone. Maybe you’re investing in modern cards today with the hopes that they’ll 10x in value over the next X number of years. Or perhaps you’re interested in short print run cards that put you in exclusive company among collectors.

Regardless of your long-term goals, consider if any of these sports cards fit within your investing strategy.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.