Justin Herbert (3/10/1998) was drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the 6th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and man alive are they glad he fell to the 6th overall.
Playing college ball at Oregon he appears to be the typical NFL QB standing at 6’6″ and tipping the scales at 236lb (198cm, 107kg) and sure as hell played like a future MVP in his rookie campaign.
Herbert could not have been more impressive in his rookie season, throwing for 4,336 yards and 31 TDs at a completion rate of 66.6%.
The young phenom outshined even top pick Joe Burrow, showing a cannon of an arm and elite accuracy along with above-average mobility.
Following his rookie season, the value of Justin Herbert’s rookie cards soared as he was named the Rookie of the Year Award.
Top Justin Herbert Rookie Card Investments
No other young quarterback has drawn the attention of sports card hobbyists like Justin Herbert. These are his top cards.
Let’s take a look at the top-rated Herbert RCs for investment purposes (we will update this page as more RCs are released throughout the season).
2020 Justin Herbert Panini National Treasures Patch Auto /99 RC #158
National Treasures are generally polished well-conceived cards. That’s what we find with the 2020 Herbert Patch Auto RC #158, which comes in a print run of 99 cards.
The player patch is the dominant feature, occupying the center and righthand quadrants of the card’s upper half. The base card generally features a blue, yellow, and white portion of the Chargers jersey.
Panini National Treasures are premium cards that you’ll find ranked highly across “Top” and “Best” lists of all kinds.
A Chargers-blue swatch connects the patch to the card’s upper border. Vertical “Chargers” text runs along the patch’s right side.
To the left of the patch is an image of Herbert, massive hands overwhelming the football as he prepares to throw in his white and gold Chargers uniform. His eyes are focused downfield through a clear visor, showing the poise that won him the 2020 NFL Rookie of the Year.
Herbert’s blue autograph, which is sneakily polished in its own right, dominates the card’s bottom third. It’s written on a stark white backdrop above the nameplate and NT logo.
Like most Herbert rookie cards on this list, you’re going to need a fat stack to acquire this card.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Contenders Auto RC #104
Also known as the “Rookie Ticket” card, the 2020 Justin Herbert Panini Contenders Auto RC #104 has a unique look that collectors have shown appreciation for.
The “Rookie Ticket” feature is the card’s most abnormal quirk. It is a rectangular faux ticket on the card’s lefthand side.
Herbert’s jersey number and completion percentage occupy the “Row” and “Seat” portions of the card (though the completion percentage could be coincidental).
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A Panini Contenders banner, Chargers logo, and Panini “RC” emblem are also present within the ticket portion of this card.
A white backdrop occupies the rest of the card. Herbert’s blue autograph fits snugly beneath the ticket portion of the card and the bottom edge.
A full-sized image of Herbert occupies the right side of the card. The rookie signal-caller displays Pro Bowl-caliber form, both arms flexed upward as he delivers a pass.
A thin, vertical yellow stripe along the right edge of the card reads “Los Angeles Chargers” in a repeating pattern.
Though not the most expensive Herbert rookie card, it’s got a high price floor.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Prizm RC #325
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Prizm RC #325 has emerged as a more affordable option for those who want to invest in the Chargers gunslinger.
The base card sticks to the Prizm formula. An image of Herbert is central, surrounded by a refractive silver border and a black, gold, and blue inner border.
The Justin Herbert Panini Prizm football card might just be one of the hottest cards of 2021 with a ton of potential. Prizms are consistent if nothing else. They’ve also displayed a level of price consistency that is necessary for any well-rounded collection.
The inner border contains a blue “Justin Herbert” nameplate at the bottom (Herbert’s name in white font) and a white, grey, and black “Panini Prizm” emblem at the top.
The image of a statuesque Herbert includes a refractive, cartoonish outer lining. Every inch of Herbert’s 6’6″ frame is on display, as is the crisp design of the Chargers whites.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Mosaic RC #204
When you think of Panini Mosaic, you might be wont to imagine one of the vibrantly colored Mosaic parallels. Don’t sleep on the base Mosaic, though.
Not only are they the best-looking football cards in 2020 but they hold up very well to high-end grading (the high-end parrellels, in particular, are our favorites).
The base version of the 2020 Herbert Panini Mosaic RC #204 has a quality yet understated design. A blue, >-shaped backdrop matches the shade of Herbie’s powder blue Chargers uni.
The remaining backdrop, adorned with geometric shapes and lines, is slate grey. A compelling image of a confident-as-can-be Herbert catches the eye, blue-and-gold drip expertly assembled.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Mosaic Football Parallels: Mosaic, Silver, White Sparkle, Gold Wave /17Rookie Autographs Mosaic Parallels: Gold /10, Black 1/1Rookie Auto Choice Parallels: Fusion Red, Black Gold 1/1Hobby Mosaic Parallels: Red, Blue /99, Purple /49, White /25, Gold /10, Black 1/1Choice Mosaic Parallels: Peacock, Red & Green (only rookies), Fusion Red /80, Black Gold #8, Nebula 1/1Retail Mosaic Parallels: Camo Pink, Genesis, Green, Reactive Blue, Reactive Green, Reactive Gold, Reactive Orange, Orange Fluorescent /20, Gold Fluorescent /20, Blue Fluorescent /15, Pink Fluorescent /10No Huddle Parallels: Silver, Blue /75, Purple /50, Pink /20, Gold /10, Black 1/1
2020 Justin Herbert Flawless RPA RC #11
Another entry from one of Panini’s prime sets, we have the 2020 Justin Herbert Panini Flawless Auto RC #11.
The ultra-high-definition image of Herbert is the focal point. Eyes narrowed and mouth pursed, Herbert holds his left hand like a server carrying a tray as he prepares to deliver a pass.
The image is backed by a black backdrop and surrounded by an ornate border. A regal, cursive “Flawless” banner sits well with the card’s premium feel.
Herbert’s signature is another defining feature of the card. Herbert’s blue John Hancock pops atop a white slate towards the bottom of the card.
A true gem, that would make any card investor upon obtaining.
2020 Justin Herbert Prizm Color Blast SP RC #14
A bona fide favorite among collectors, the 2020 Justin Herbert Prizm Color Blast SP RC #14 is among the best-looking cards you’ll find.
A horizontally-oriented card, you can’t help but first notice the absolute explosion of color emerging from the image of Justin Herbert.
This is one of Herbert’s costlier rookie cards, as the Panini brand and absolutely outstanding design have proven popular.
You’re not alone if you find yourself immersed in the color blast.
Just as impressive is the image of Herbert on the run, about to throw a pass as he rolls to his right.
A small Chargers logo, Panini Prizm emblem, and nameplate round out the design.
The card’s white backdrop is akin to a painter’s canvas, with Herbert and the color cloud the work of art.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Absolute Kaboom RC #K-JH2
There are a couple of versions of the 2020 Justin Herbert Absolute KABOOM! RC, and we think #K-JH2 stands out.
The card features the trademark cartoon-ish KABOOM! backdrop, a series of refractive, explosion-like graphics emanating from Herbert’s image.
A “KABOOM!” banner, designed in a font similar to the Dragon Ball Z logo, stands loudly in the upper-left portion of the card. A small Panini “RC” emblem is to the right of the banner.
The chosen image of Herbert has a bit of an airbrushed look to it, lending to the cartoon theme. Herbert rolls aggressively to the right in his powder-blue uni, ball held defensively in the football equivalent of a three-point stance.
2020 Justin Herbert Kaboom Set Parallels: Gold (#/10) and Green (1/1) parallels
KABOOM! has always been for investors who don’t take their collection too seriously.
If you’re willing to have some fun, this is a high-quality card.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Absolute RC #167
By Panini’s standards, the 2020 Justin Herbert Panini Absolute RC #167 has a tame design.
It’s a trading card that would fit perfectly in the early 2000s. Crescent triangular banners in the upper-right and bottom-left corners withhold a two-tone Chargers logo and Absolute logo.
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The other two corners contain a grey rounded border with football lace-style graphics. A slim, black Justin Herbert nameplate sits slyly towards the card’s bottom edge.
The image of Herbert is the focal point. He advances forward in a white-and-gold LA getup, ball cradled with throw impending.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Absolute Parallels: Red /100, Orange /75, Blue /50, Green /25, Gold /10, Purple /5, Black 1/1. Retail Parallels: Blue, Green, Yellow, Red Squares /199, Orange Mosaic /149, Blue Diamonds /75, Green Waves /35, Gold Stars /10, Purple Rain /5, Black Galaxy 1/1
With blurred fans sitting mutedly in the bleachers behind him how can you not love this card?
2020 Justin Herbert Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Auto RC #303
The 2020 class of Justin Herbert RCs from Donruss Optic are among our favorites. They have a timeless design that is busy without being obnoxious.
The Optic Rated Rookie Auto RC #303 shows Herbert, as he always seems to be, with his eyes locked downfield.
He wears the white Chargers uniform, ball gripped tightly in his right hand as his left-hand hovers closely.
The card’s color scheme is tailored to the blue, gold, and white of the Chargers getup.
The white outer border leads into the blue-gold inner border, with multi-tone graphics connecting the two.
Some versions have a black autograph, while others contain a blue signature. Donruss Optics are not the most expensive Herbert rookie cards but command strong.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Origins Auto RC #RA-JH
Like the Color Blast, the 2020 Justin Herbert Panini Origins Auto RC #RA-JH goes heavy on color.
A blue, red, purple, and white backdrop immediately captures the viewer’s attention.
In front of the artfully designed backdrop is the same image Herbert used on the Donruss Optic Rated Rookie #303.
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The bottom third of the card is white and is the perfect landscape for Herbert’s blue signature. Beneath the signature is a stacked silver nameplate including Herbert’s name and team.
With the signature, autograph, and Panini name, this is a card that goes for a significant (albeit not prohibitive) price point.
2019 Justin Herbert Panini Select XRC PRZ Auto RC #325
Another super pricey Justin Herbert Panini card in the form of the Select brand.
We have never been a fan of the Select cards but apparently, most in the hobby love them as they are pricey and sell well. Just not our bag as we prefer other Herbert investing options.
2020 Panini Select Prizm Parallels XRC: Tie-Dye #/25, Gold #/10, Black 1/1
Justin Herbert Rookie Card Checklist
- 2020 Prizm Refractor Justin Herbert RC #102
- 2020 Panini Prizm Rookie Color Blast Chargers Justin Herbert RC #2
- 2020 Panini Prizm DP Auto Justin Herbert RC #102
- 2020 Panini Fusion Mosaic Prizm Auto Justin Herbert RC #4
- 2020 Panini Donruss Rated Rookie Justin Herbert RC #303
- 2020 Panini Prizm Color Blast Justin Herbert RC #2
- 2020 Panin Prizm Refractor Justin Herbert RC #102
- 2020 Panini Prizm Draft Picks Justin Herbert RC #102
- 2020 Panini Select ’20 XRC Justin Herbert RC #325 #303
- 2020 Panini Absolute Kaboom Justin Herbert RC #K-JH2
- 2020 Panini Chronicles Psychedelic RC Logo Patch AUTO Justin Herbert RC
- 2020 Leaf Metal Draft Justin Herbert RC #BA-JH
- 2020 Leaf Ultimate Draft Auto Justin Herbert RC #BA-JH2
“The 22-year-old rising star has already proven the draft doubters wrong and he shows no signs of stopping. Move over Burrow, Herbert is the NFL’s next star.” – Lindsey Wisniewski (@lindsniewski)
Most Valuable Justin Herbert Rookie Cards
The value of Justin Herbert’s rookie cards is just sitting off all-time highs and now might be a great time to buy in before the 2021 NFL season begins.
Just realize with the great reward comes great risk. Imagine buying a $40,000 Herbert rookie card like the one above and suffers a year-long injury in week one.
This is very unlikely but a great example of why you want 80% HOF RC’s and 20% first or second-year RC’s.
Justin Herbert Rookie Cards: Investment Outlook
Since his unexpected explosion onto the NFL scene in 2020, Justin Herbert’s trading card stock has risen precipitously.
Few young quarterbacks offer as much promise to investors as Herbert does. With rare physical tools, requisite intelligence, and quality receiving weapons around him, Herbert’s arrow is pointed up.
For collectors of modest means, certain Herbert rookie cards will be prohibitively expensive (such as the Panini National Treasures Patch Auto).
There are, however, Herbert rookie cards available to investors of all means, with the Panini Mosaic RC #204 being one of the more affordable options.
Whichever Herbert rookie card you choose, just make sure to invest sooner rather than later. As Pac said: “Get while the getting is good.”
When the next NFL season comes to a close, Justin Herbert cards may have already doubled in value.
The rising tide of Justin Herbert’s continued ascendance should lift all boats.