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Insane $10,000 price to grade Zion Williamson rookie card causes online stir

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

When you pull a high-end Zion Williamson rookie card out of nowhere, the first instinct that will come to mind is to have it graded right away. Rightfully so, because when a monster pull that features this New Orleans Pelicans’ All-Star is encased in a gem-mint slab, its value is going to shoot up straight to the moon. The thing is, grading this card can be more trouble than what most collectors can handle.

In a post shared by Cardporn, a 2019 National Treasures Rookie Patch Auto of Williamson was recently sent to PSA by its lucky owner, Bolillo Lajan San. Take note that apart from being signed by Williamson and containing a patch from his game-worn jersey, the card is also numbered 1 out of 99 copies. This makes it the first print among the series, which just increases its value all the more.

As fate would have it, the Zion Williamson card sent to PSA obtained a perfect 10. On the other hand, the corresponding fee that came along with the grade is a whopping $10,000 price tag. For the record, this is the only card of its kind that has achieved a 10, making it more valuable.

For most hobbyists, this amount is just too much for a young star who hasn’t done that much in the NBA. Ken Goldin, on the other hand, thinks otherwise. In a comment on the same post, the head honcho of Goldin Auctions said that those who bash PSA don’t understand the authentication process or the business behind it. Goldin added that this card would have cost $37,500 to get graded by SGC.

Speaking of that process, the main reason PSA has variable fees like this based on market value is because of the company’s Financial Guarantee of Grade. PSA will buy a card back from owners if it turns out to be counterfeit, altered or over-graded. This represents a potential liability for PSA, so they collect a “premium” based on the card’s market value. Hence that $10,000 fee for such a valuable card.

Whether you agree with the grading fee of this monster Zion Williamson rookie card or not, it can’t be denied that it is one pull that will look good in a slab. It remains to be seen whether the Pelicans All-Star can live up to the hype and the value of his card.

Editor’s note: This article initially claimed Ken Goldin stated this card would have fetched $37,500 if it got a perfect 10 from SGC. It has been corrected to portray his comment more accurately. The article has also been updated with more context on the grading fee.