Zion Williamson’s early hype meant that his NBA rookie cards gained lot of attention from basketball collectors.
In my opinion, his best rookie card is his 2019-20 Panini National Treasures Patch Autograph card, but the price to buy a copy puts it out of reach for most collectors; There are great options for all budgets though, and I’ve covered them all further down.
All of Zion’s rookie cards are produced by Panini, in products released during the 2019-20 NBA season; Let’s take a look at the top picks.
Table of Contents
Quick Summary: Top Picks
The Best Zion Williamson Rookie Cards
2019-20 Panini Revolution Zion Williamson #101
The 2019-20 Panini Revolution Zion Williamson rookie card features a bold and slick design.
The contrast in colors with the foiled background, and the different shapes and lines within the design makes the card really stand out – more of a throwback style card.
The base card comes with lots of different parallels, which have alternative foil patterns.
2019-20 Panini Crown Royale Zion Williamson #19
This Zion rookie card, from the 2019-20 Panini Crown Royale set, has a distinct design, on a landscape card.
The base card features a classic die-cut crown shape, which makes it hard to find in good condition – there are also a number of different crystal parallels.
I’d recommend going for graded copies of this one, because they’re easy cards to damage in my experience.
2019-20 Panini Crown Royale Kaboom! Zion Williamson #18
The 2019-20 Crown Royale set also included the popular Kaboom insert subset, and this Zion Williamson first-year Kaboom is one of the most expensive base Kaboom cards out there; In 2021, a BGS 10 graded copy sold for $18.6k.
The comic-style design resonates well with collectors; In terms of design, it’s my favorite Zion rookie option.
2019-20 Panini Spectra Zion Williamson #109
The Panini Spectra set is a more premium set than the Donruss and Prizm sets, the cards are also more scarce and harder to get hold of.
Zion’s 2019-20 Spectra rookie card offers another chromium option, but more high-end, with a slick design and a stronger, thicker card.
Zion Williamson is one of the players in the set to have a variation, which features a slightly different image of him, holding the ball above his head.
The base cards also have some nice looking colored parallels, including the 1/1 Nebula card.
2019-20 Panini Clearly Donruss Zion Williamson #51
The 2019-20 Clearly Donruss Zion Williamson rookie card offers a unique option for a Zion rookie card – It’s design is on acetate stock as opposed to the standard glossy stock of Donruss.
The card has a variation which shows a different image of Williamson, one where he’s holding the basketball over his shoulder. The base cards also have a number of different colored parallels.
2019-20 Panini Select Zion Williamson #1
Panini released 3 different base Select Zion cards in the 2019-20 set – They’re a popular chromium option, with a lot of different popular parallel versions for each card.
The Concourse card has the RC tag, because it’s the first in the set, and it’s also the most common.
Zion also has the Premier Level and the Courtside cards which have different photos and designs. Both cards are rarer and harder to find than the Concourse card, particularly the Courtside card.
2019-20 Panini Obsidian Zion Williamson #157
Another chromium option for a Zion rookie is the Panini Obsidian card from the 2019-20 set.
The card itself has a nice design, with a dark theme, and includes the RC tag. The base cards come with a number of different parallels, which look nice with the contrast of colors against the dark theme of the card.
The rarest parallel of this card is the 1-of-1 Electric Etch White Mojo parallel.
2019-20 Panini Prizm Zion Williamson #248
The Panini Prizm Zion rookie is one of his best and most popular options.
A lot of Zion collectors and those in the basketball card hobby see this as the big one – His go-to rookie.
The base card itself isn’t rare, which is normal for the Prizm brand, but it’s the best low-budget Zion Williamson rookie.
This one comes with over 40 different Prizm Parallels, with differing prices depending on the varying scarcities; That’s normal for the Prizm brand and something that makes it great for all collectors – There should be a version for all budgets.
A copy of the Black Gold Prizm parallel (/5) sold for $192k in 2021, which puts it among the most expensive Zion basketball cards ever.
The Best Autographed Zion Williamson Rookie Cards
2019-20 Panini Contenders Zion Williamson Autograph #108
The Contenders Rookie Ticket cards are a solid rookie card option for any modern player, and they’re generally very popular; I think this is one of his best rookies – It offers the ticket style design with an on-card signature, and it can be picked up for a reasonable price.
There is also an image variation version, which features a different image of Zion (holding the ball with both hands); You can easily identify these by the ‘V’ on the back of the card.
Both versions have multiple parallel options, with the most coveted option being the 1-of-1 Gold Vinyl parallel – In 2022, it sold for $63k (graded PSA 10) for the standard image card.
2019-20 Panini Flawless Zion Williamson Vertical Patch Autograph #22
Panini’s Flawless brand is one of the premier basketball products for high-end cards, and the 2019-20 Flawless set contains multiple premium Zion Williamson rookie cards.
Aside from his 1-of-1 Logoman patch autograph card from the set, I would say the pick of them is this Vertical Patch Autograph card, which is limited to only 15 numbered base copies.
The relic piece and on-card signature are appealing features, and it offers a good lower-cost alternative to his National Treasures RPA card.
This one has a few low-numbered colored parallel versions.
2019-20 Panini National Treasures Zion Williamson Patch Autograph #108
This is the best Zion Williamson rookie card, but it’s also the most expensive by some way.
The National Treasures brand is Panini’s most premium for the basketball cards of the era, and these RPA cards are very sought after.
With 99 numbered base copies, a large relic patch, and hard-signed autograph, it ticks all the boxes.
A copy of the base card, graded a 9.5 by BGS, sold for $594k in 2022. There are some parallel versions as well.
When Was Zion Williamson’s Rookie Season?
Zion’s rookie season was the 2019-20 season – In the 2019 NBA draft, the New Orleans Pelicans drafted him with the 1st pick.
What Is The Most Expensive Zion Williamson Rookie?
His most expensive rookie card to buy is his 2019-20 Panini National Treasures RPA card, which has only 99 numbered base copies, with some limited parallel versions.
The card has had multiple sales of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past, with the base card selling for as high as $594k, back in 2022.
Are Zion Williamson Rookie Cards A Good Investment?
Zion Williamson has the potential to be a star, and many basketball fans believe he can go on to fulfill his big potential – if he does, then his rookie cards will obviously do well.
However, he’s had his fair share of injury problems in the early stages of his career, and it remains to be seen whether that will affect his long-term prospects.
The hype he had around him in his rookie year led to some high valuations on his rookie cards, so success was arguably already priced in – the values have fluctuated a bit since, but his rookie cards are certainly one to keep an eye on long-term.
Zion Williamson: A Background
Zion Williamson burst onto the NBA scene with a lot of hype behind him.
Drafted 1st by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2019 NBA Draft, ahead of prospects like Ja Morant and RJ Barrett, Zion’s athleticism and on-court performance turned a lot of heads and had many saying he’s the biggest rookie since LeBron James.
The power forward, born in 2000, is surprisingly quick, given his size. In 2020, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and In 2021, he became the 4th youngest NBA player to be selected to an All-Star game.