Zion Lateef Williamson was born on July 6, 2000, in Salisbury, North Carolina, and has remained a basketball standout since the 8th grade. Zion attended Spartanburg Day High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he competed for the Griffins and put both himself and his team in the limelight.
After capturing three consecutive 2A SCISA state championships, Zion Williamson was the highest-ranked recruit heading into college. Zion's scoring ability and force on the defensive end had the top college basketball schools on notice, where he ultimately chose the Duke Blue Devils.
Zion's freshman and only season at Duke drew considerable attention from NBA teams' front offices. After the New Orleans Pelicans received the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion was a lock to become the first name called off the board.
While Zion's rookie season was delayed, he made significant noise after making his NBA debut. Although Zion missed the first three months during his rookie season, he showed enough composure to make the 2019-20 NBA All-Rookie Team. Zion later followed up his rookie campaign with a trip to the 2020-21 NBA All-Star Game and constantly showing flashes of brilliance.
Zion's career outlook is unprecedented, as he has the talent to become one of the NBA's most outstanding players of all time. With this in mind, the value of Zion's rookie cards is off the charts, as you'll see throughout the unveiling of the top 15 best Zion Williamson rookie cards.
2019 Panini Mosaic Zion Williamson Rookie Scripts Gold RC #RS-ZWL #'d/25
Recent sale: $8,100
Before Zion Williamson’s freshman year at Spartanburg Day High School, he competed for the South Carolina Hornets alongside teammate Ja Morant. As a member of the Hornets, Zion averaged 15 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game. His background with the South Carolina Hornets nourished Zion Williamson to mature and start his journey towards NBA stardom.
Panini issued the 2019 Panini Mosaic set on May 20, 2020 in hobby boxes and distributed retail boxes on April 29, 2020. Zion’s Rookie Scripts rookie card appeared from retail boxes, starring a 39-card checklist. The checklist offers Orange, Red Wave, and Gold parallels, including each Gold parallel limited to 25 cards. Zion’s Rookie Scripts Autographs Gold rookie card has a total PSA and BGS population of 18 cards. As 91% of Zion’s rookie cards are already graded, only three cards (17%) have merited a PSA or BGS 10.
When Zion competed with the South Carolina Hornets AAU team as an 8th grader, few had the understanding that Zion would become the dominant force he is today. A collector acquired a copy of a BGS 9.5 Zion’s Rookie Scripts Autographs Gold rookie card for $8,100, marking Zion's 15th best rookie card. One can only imagine what a PSA or BGS 10 would fetch.
2019 Panini Select Zion Williamson In Flight Signatures Tie-Dye Prizms RC #IF-ZWL
Recent sale: $8,700
In Zion Williamson’s freshman year at Spartanburg Day High School, he stood at 6’3” and weighed 175 pounds. In his 2014-15 freshman season, he averaged 27.5 minutes for the Griffins while racking up 25.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.3 steals, and 3.0 blocks per game. Williamson’s ridiculous stat line earned him the selection to the South Carolina All-State and All-Region team. Zion led the Griffins to the South Carolina Independent School Association Class AA state championship game before falling to Bethesda Academy in the championship game.
Panini issued the 2019-20 Panini Select set on March 4, 2020 in hobby, FOTL, and hobby hybrid boxes. The In Flight Signatures checklist highlights 29 NBA players, both past and present, showcasing Zion Williamson’s card listed number one on the checklist. Zion’s Tie-Dye Prizms rookie card is one of the most limited In Flight Signatures parallels, serial-numbered to 25 cards. As of today, Zion’s In Flight Signatures rookie card has an overall population of 12, with the highest card meriting a BGS 9.5. As this Zion rookie card earned a BGS 9, only one card is graded higher than this particular copy.
Zion Williamson and the Griffins may have fallen in the SCISA state championship this time around, though the trend wouldn’t continue. Zion’s In Flight Signatures Tie-Dye Prizms rookie card is almost set in stone as 80% of his cards are already graded. The highest copy is currently a BGS 9.5, yet a PSA or BGS 10 could skyrocket the appeal of his Tie-Dye Prizms parallel card.
2019 Panini Encased Zion Williamson Bronze FOTL RC #272 #'d/35
Recent sale: $8,700
Also of note in Zion's freshman year of high school, he received his first scholarship from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, just a ten-minute drive from his high school. Zion's unofficial visit to Wofford generated noise on campus, and he declared that he would not rule out going to school there.
This marks the only appearance of 2019-20 Panini Encased of the top 15 best Zion Williamson rookie cards. Panini released 2019-20 Panini Encased on October 1, 2020 in a hobby box and a FOTL box. Each hobby box offers one graded Autograph, an additional autograph, and two memorabilia cards. A FOTL box features one Exclusive Graded Rookie Jersey Autograph, one additional autograph, and two memorabilia cards. Zion's rookie card is from the Dual Rookie Jersey Autographs checklist, highlighting 42 players. This remarkable Zion rookie card is a Bronze parallel, serial-numbered to 35. Since the card's release, collectors have yet to send Zion's Dual Rookie Jersey Autographs card to PSA, though 33 cards have been obtained by BGS. Only two cards or 6% of the 33 cards in Beckett's population report have received a BGS 10, this card included.
While Zion ultimately didn't end up at Wofford College, his appearance at Wofford was not a publicity stunt. Wofford has achieved five of the last 10 Southern Conference titles and five NCAA tournament appearances in the previous decade. Zion's Dual Rookie Jersey Autograph card has tremendous value, considering only two cards have ever merited a BGS 10, with only two cards yet to surface.
2019 Panini One and One Zion Williamson Downtown RC #6
Recent sale: $9,600
In Zion's sophomore year at Spartanburg Day High School, his counting stats continued to increase. Through 26 games in his sophomore year, Zion averaged 28.3 points, 104. rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.7 steals, and 3.9 blockers per game. At the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, Zion led the Griffins to a state championship, the first of three consecutive state titles for Spartanburg Day High School.
The release of 2019-20 Panini One and One was the inaugural release for basketball collectors. Zion's Downtown insert rookie card stars 20 NBA players, including a mix of rookies and current NBA stars. Zion's Downtown rookie card is one of only five cards not serial-numbered of his 15 most valuable rookie cards. Among a PSA population of 41 and a BGS population of 14, Zion's Downtown rookie card from 2019-20 Panini One and One presents the third-highest population of his rookie cards. As PSA graded 41 cards, 35 received a PSA 10, roughly 85%. Of the 14 cards graded by BGS, only two received a BGS 10, or 14%. Overall, collectors have obtained a PSA or BGS 10 at a 67% clip for Zion's Downtown rookie card.
Even though Zion's Downtown rookie card insert has low condition sensitivity and doesn't showcase a serial number, it is the most coveted card from 2019-20 Panini One and One and remains one of the top Zion Williamson rookie cards.
2019 Panini Donruss Zion Williamson Rated Rookies Signatures Gold Infinite RC #201 #'d/10
Recent sale: $10,000
Zion followed up his sophomore year with an even more impressive junior season at Spartanburg Day High School. Through 35 contests, Zion amassed 36.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.0 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game. Zion yet again led the Griffins to a Class 2A SCISA state championship. The game's final score versus Christian Academy was 76-51, starring Zion going off for 51 points, the same number of points as his opponent.
The 2019-20 Donruss set was released on December 13, 2019, starring 200 veterans and 50 rookies. Panini issued 10 packs containing 30 cards for its 2019-20 Donruss set. A hobby box comprised one autograph card, one relic card, and an assortment of 60 inserts and parallels. A choice box of 2019-20 Donruss offered two autographs, three parallels, and five Rated Rookies. Zion's card from 2019-20 Donruss arose from the Rated Rookie Signature checklist, exhibiting 47 NBA rookies. The checklist presents several parallel variations, as Zion's rookie card is designated an Infinite Parallel. Zion's Gold Infinite parallel rookie card is serial-numbered to only ten copies.
Zion's success in his junior year at Spartanburg Day High School firmly solidified him as the number one overall prospect heading into his senior year of high school. Zion's Rated Rookie Signature rookie card is tied for his second-most limited; as such, it remains highly sought-after by collectors.
2019 Panini One and One Zion Williamson Red RC #107 #'d/15
Recent sale: $10,088
In his junior year at Spartanburg Day High School, Zion Williamson went viral for his high-flying dunks and his height advantage over his opponents. In a game between Spartanburg Day High School and Spartanburg Christian Academy in 2017, a 5'6" 8th-grade player named Bryson Bishop attempted to guard and intimidate the 6'7" Zion Williamson. While Bishop didn't allow him to score, Zion drew a foul and went to the free-throw line. Interestingly enough, Bishop has since surpassed 6'0" and led Spartanburg Christian Academy to back-to-back state titles.
Making its second and final appearance on the list is Zion's Red rookie card from the 2019 Panini One and One set. The set offers a 180-card base checklist, featuring each card serial-numbered to 99, although the base set also features more limited parallel cards. Zion's Red parallel from the base set of 2019-20 Panini One and One is the fourth most limited parallel card from the set, seral-numbered to 15 cards. To date, only four of Zion's Red 2019 Panini One and One rookie cards have surfaced, with three cards meriting a PSA 10.
Zion Williamson has used his height advantage since middle school to overpower and outmatch his opponents. As four collectors reap the rewards of Zion's 2019-20 Panini One and One Red rookie card, the remainder of collectors are in the pursuit for Zion's coveted card, while basketball fans are looking forward to the sight it would be if Zion and Bishop faced each other down the road.
2019 Panini Crown Royale Zion Williamson Kaboom! RC #18
Recent sale: $10,125
In Zion's senior year of high school, he continued his remarkably elite level of play while leading the Griffins to their third consecutive state title behind 36.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.4 steals, and 2.3 blocks per contest. In 2018, Zion earned the highly cherished Mr. Basketball award for South Carolina and received a spot on the 2018 McDonald's All-American team. Zion's ability to dunk put him on the map as an 8th grader, and he would continue his craft while winning the 2018 McDonald's All-American Dunk Contest.
The highlight of Panini's release of 2019-20 Panini Crown Royale is its Kaboom! insert cards. The Kaboom! checklist exhibits 25 NBA players, both past and present, from Zion Williamson to the late Kobe Bryant. Zion's Kaboom! insert rookie card has the third-highest population of his rookie cards, with 77 cards graded between PSA and BGS. Although Zion's Kaboom! insert isn't serial-numbered and features a high population, collectors have received a PSA or BGS 10 only 25% of the time.
Zion's high school basketball career was phenomenal, to say the least, and his draft stock continued to rise. From his scoring ability to his intensity on the defensive end, Zion became a household name. As a result, the price of Zion Williamson's 2019-20 Panini Crown Royale rookie card is one of his most valuable.
2019 Panini Donruss Optic Zion Williamson Rated Rookies Signatures Holo Prizms RC #158
Recent sale: $10,905
While Zion Williamson's first college basketball scholarship came from Wofford College, he received countless other scholarships from other prestigious basketball schools. In fact, Zion had 20 universities offer him a scholarship, though he was only genuinely interested in five: Clemson, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke. Many believed Zion would choose Clemson because his stepfather played basketball with the Tigers, though Zion ultimately decided to compete for the Duke Blue Devils.
Zion's rookie card from the 2019-20 Panini Donruss Optic set emerged from the Rated Rookie Signatures checklist. The checklist features 50 NBA rookies, presenting numerous parallels. Zion's rookie card from the set is designated a Holo parallel and is one of two parallel varieties of the checklist that doesn't emphasize a serial number. With that said, Zion's Rated Rookie Signatures rookie card possesses the highest population of any other Zion rookie card on the list, showcasing 730 cards. Despite the high population, it remains one of his most condition-sensitive cards, as one of four cards received a PSA 10, and six of 726 cards merited a BGS 10.
Zion had more options than anyone in recent memory heading into his college basketball career. On July 1, 2018, Zion ultimately began the next chapter of his basketball career as a member of the Duke Blue Devils. As one of his most popular and recognizable rookie cards, the value of Zion Williamson's Rated Rookie Signatures Holo card continues to rise and remains one of his most sought-after by collectors.
2019 Panini Prizm Zion Williamson Rookie Signatures Prizms Mojo RC #RS-ZWL #'d/25
Recent sale: $12,600
Zion led the Blue Devils to a 32-6 record in his lone season with Duke, including 14-4 in the ACC. Duke won the ACC tournament title and captured the number one overall seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. While Duke fell to Michigan State in the Elite Eight, it was a season to remember for Zion Williamson. Through 33 games, Zion averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game. Along with his high level of play, Zion was recognized as the Naismith Player of the Year, John R. Wooden Award winner, and the AP Player of the Year.
Panini released the 2019-20 Panini Prizm basketball set on December 4, 2019, emphasizing Zion Williamson as the set's highlight. The Rookie Signatures checklist highlights 40 NBA rookies, distributed among Prizm, Choice, and FOTL Shimmer parallels. Zion's 7th most valuable rookie card emerged from the Prizm checklist as a Mojo parallel, with each card serial-numbered to 25. To date, three of six cards have merited a PSA 10, though none of the 14 cards graded by Beckett merited a BGS 10. The highest awarded grade by Beckett is a BGS 9.5 exhibiting a population of six.
To say Zion's lone season at Duke was a success is an understatement. As the sale of this particular card earned a BGS 9, a copy of Zion's Rookie Signatures Prizms Mojo rookie card has a ton of potential.
2019 Panini National Treasures Zion Williamson Rookie Patch Autographs Horizontal RC #108 #'d/75
Recent sale: $12,688
After his successful season at Duke, Zion declared himself eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft. Despite having the 7th highest chances of securing the number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, the New Orleans Pelicans received just that. Surprising nobody in the basketball landscape, the Pelicans selected Zion Williamson of Duke as the first overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft. At the time when he was drafted, Zion was only 18-years young.
Making its only appearance in Zion's top 15 best rookie cards is the 2019-20 Panini National Treasures set. The set's release was one of the year's highlights, catered towards high-end basketball card collectors. The Rookie Patch Autographs Horizontal checklist showcases 50 players, each serial-numbered to 75 copies. Zion's Horizontal RPA has a PSA population of five and a BGS population of 34. Zion's Horizontal RPA is one of only six cards on the list that a collector has yet to receive a PSA or BGS 10. Graded a BGS 9, only 9% of Zion's Horizontal RPA have merited a higher grade.
Zion's brief yet remarkable college basketball career set him up to become the number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. As one of the most promising NBA prospects in recent memory, Zion's Horizontal RPA from the highly treasured 2019-20 Panini National Treasures set is one of Zion Williamson's best rookie cards.
2019 Panini Contenders Optic Zion Williamson Gold RC #135 #'d/10
Recent sale: $13,500
After the New Orleans Pelicans drafted Zion as the number one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, he signed a four-year $44,271,137 contract with the franchise. However, Zion Williamson’s highly anticipated NBA debut was set back three months into the 2019-20 season due to a torn meniscus in his right knee. Zion ultimately made his NBA debut on January 22, 2020, versus the San Antonio Spurs. In only 18 minutes of action, Zion scored 22 points on 8 of 11 from the field, including four of four beyond the arc, in addition to seven rebounds and three assists.
Zion's fifth most valuable rookie card emerges from the 2019-20 Panini Contenders Optic set. The Rookie Ticket checklist stars 40 NBA rookies, offering parallel cards ranging from limited to 149 down to 1 of 1. Zion's parallel card from the 2019-20 Panini Contenders Optic set is a Gold parallel, serial-numbered to 10, making this tied for Zion's second most limited rookie card on the list. Zion's Gold parallel has a total population of six, including no cards awarded a PSA or BGS 10.
While Zion's NBA debut was postponed, his first NBA appearance made it worth the wait. Zion's NBA career began with a bang, and his 2019-20 Panini Contenders Optic Gold parallel card prevails as one of his most coveted rookie cards.
2019 Panini Prizm Zion Williamson Prizms White Sparkle RC #248
Recent sale: $21,100
Through Zion's first 15 career NBA games, he totaled 362 points or 24.1 points per game. The only three players to record more points in their first 15 NBA games were Michael Jordan (411 points), Bernard King (391 points), and Terry Cummings (366 points). Although Zion missed the first three months of the season, he posted 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists down the stretch to earn him a spot on the 2019-20 All-Rookie Team.
On December 4, 2019, the iconic 2019-20 Panini Prizm set was issued in multiple configurations, including hobby boxes, FOTL boxes, retail boxes, blaster boxes, and multi-packs. The base set features a 300-card checklist offering endless parallels. Zion's rookie card from the set is designated a Prizm White Sparkle parallel. To date, Zion's White Sparkle rookie card has yet to earn a PSA or BGS 10, as the highest card obtained a BGS 9. With an overall population of 25, five cards received a BGS 9, and five cards received a PSA 8.
To be mentioned in company with Michael Jordan through his first 15 NBA contests in his rookie season is a noteworthy accomplishment. Zion's rookie season may have been brief, though he showcased his supernatural talents in all 24 contests he appeared in. As a result, the budding superstar's White Sparkle parallel card from the 2019-20 Panini Prizm set continues to be in enormous demand.
2019 Panini Select Zion Williamson Neon Orange Pulsar Prizms FOTL RC #199 #'d/13
Recent sale: $22,322
Zion was back at full strength heading into his sophomore campaign, starting in 61 games for the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2020-21 NBA season. Zion recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds in his season debut, recording his first of 14 double-doubles for the season. On March 26, 2021, Zion recorded a career-high 39-points along with 10 rebounds. Zion's 39 points came on a ridiculous 16 of 19 from the field, shooting 84% for the game.
Zion Williamson's 2019-20 Panini Select rookie card emerged from a FOTL box, featuring one exclusive Neon Orange Pulsar Prizms autograph card in each FOTL box. Zion's Neon Orange Prizm parallel is featured from the Base Premier Level checklist, showcasing each card serial-numbered to 13 cards. The two cards graded by PSA each earned a PSA 10, while only one of seven cards deserved a BGS 10.
Zion's field-goal percentage was a remarkable 60.4% for the season, marking the 59th highest field goal percentage for a single season in NBA history. It so happens that the particular sale of Zion's Neon Orange Pulsar Prizms autograph card is the lone BGS 10 ever awarded. As the lone card to obtain a PSA or BGS 10, the significance of Zion's third most valuable rookie card is in a league of its own.
2019 Panini Select Zion Williamson Green Prizms RC #297 #'d/5
Recent sale: $25,000
Through his first 34 games of his sophomore campaign, Zion recorded 25.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. As a result, he was selected to the 2021 NBA-All Star Game as a reserve, becoming the 10th player in league history to make the team before the age of 20. At the same time, Williamson was the fourth-youngest player to compete at the NBA All-Star Game and only the ninth player in franchise history to represent the team.
Like Zion's Neon Orange Pulsar Prizms rookie card, Zion's second most valuable card emerged from the 2019-20 Panini Select set. Zion's rookie card surfaced in the Base Courtside checklist, which reveals 100 NBA players. The Base Courtside Prizms checklist has several configurations, with the Green parallel the second-most limited, serial-numbered to five copies. On that note, Zion's Green Prizms rookie card showcases his most limited rookie card on the list.
To earn a spot on the All-Star Team is never an easy feat, though Zion's presence on the court earned him the honor. While Zion's first half of the season was remarkable, his second half was even better, increasing his counting stats across the board behind 28.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. Zion's supernatural talents continuously have collectors intrigued by his rookie cards, though few can compete with his Courtside Green parallel card from 2019-20 Panini Select.
2019 Panini Contenders Zion Williamson Cracked Ice Ticket RC #108 #'d/25
Recent sale: $42,100
When the 2021-22 NBA season kicked off on October 19, 2021, Zion Williamson was once again dealing with an injury. Zion received surgery on his foot in the offseason and has yet to appear for the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2021-22 season through the first 22 games of the season. For that reason, the New Orleans Pelicans continue to struggle, currently seeded 14th in the Western Conference with a 5-17 record. If anyone can turn around the Pelicans season, it's Zion Williamson and his presence on the court.
Emerging from 2019-20 Panini Contenders is Zion Williamson's most valuable rookie card. Released on January 3, 2020, Zion's Cracked Ice Ticket rookie card is highlighted in the Rookie Season Ticket checklist, featuring 45 of the top NBA rookies. Zion's rookie card is a Cracked Ice parallel, each serial-numbered to 25 copies. Zion's Cracked Ice rookie card has a total population of 22, including the highest card receiving a BGS 9.5.
While Zion has yet to appear for the Pelicans in the 2021-22 season, the value of his rookie cards has proceeded to soar in value. As Zion Williamson's most valuable rookie card, one can only imagine what a PSA or BGS 10 would fetch on the secondary market.
Zion Williamson's Path to Greatness
Zion may be only in his third NBA season, though he has produced staggering statistics when he is healthy. Although Zion has yet to play in the 2021-22 NBA season, he will explode onto the scene once he makes his NBA season debut. If Zion Williamson can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for the third-year NBA phenom, directly correlating with his rookie cards' inherent value.