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Luka Doncic does not look like the best NBA player in the league (or one of the best) but does not let looks fool you as Luka can ball with the best of them and, in time, may turn out to be one of the top 5 players the league has ever seen.
Luka Doncic (02/28/99) has to be seen as the best young player in the world right now, and if you haven’t already invested his rookie cards, now is a great time to start.
Luka is one of the league’s most dominant players and also one of the youngest. In the 2019 Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star at the age of 22, he notched a career-high 46 points along with 12 assists, 8 rebounds, a block, and a steal in a win over the Pelicans in late February 2021.
He’s trying to downplay comparisons with Larry Bird, despite his apparent ability to improve those around him. Doncic’s rookie cards are currently making headlines due to their record-breaking prices. Luka Doncic is a constant triple-double threat whenever he takes the court and is only 21 years old, so the best is yet to come.
Luka Doncic Rookie Year Stats: 72 games, 21.2 ppg, 6.0 assists, and 7.8 total rebounds per game.
He has exceptional court vision, can shoot off the dribble, post up smaller players with ease, attack gaps and get to the basket like no other (excluding LeBron). Here’s a rundown of 13 of the best Luka Doncic RCs on the market and a look at potential values over the next few years.
There are so many options to sift through, so we’ve narrowed it down to 13 of the best options from an ROI investment perspective.
#1. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Prizm RC #280
You can never go wrong from an ROI with a base Prizm rookie card in basketball, and the Luka is no different. It’s not unheard of to see over 40 bids on the base version and 100 bids when looking at versions numbered 99 or less, and prices keep rising.
Trending: The Legendary 2018 Prizm Basketball Box
In terms of design, it has a unique Prizm background and layout, focusing on a crisp image of Luka as he leaps up to shoot.
2018 Panini FB Prizms: Base, Blue (/175), Red (/125), Purple (/75), Pink (/50), Bronze (/20), Neon Green (/5), Blue/Yellow/Green, Tiger Stripe, Red (/88), Green (/8), Nebula (1/1)
2018 Panini Prizm Parallels: Silver, Green, Hyper, Pink Ice, Purple Wave, Red Ice, Red/White/Blue, Ruby Wave, White Sparkle, Red (/299), Blue (/199), Purple Ice (/149), Blue Ice (/99), Purple (/75), Orange (/49), Pink Pulsar (/42), Purple Pulsar (/35), Green Pulsar (/25), Mojo (/25), Gold (/10), Black Gold (/5), Black (1/1)
2018 Panini Shimmer Prizms: Blue Shimmer (/7), Light Blue Shimmer (/7), Red Shimmer (/7)
#2. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Opulence RPA Holo Gold /10 RC #145
Above is one of the rarest Luka rookie cards and the BEST looking by far in our opinion, but good luck getting your hands on one as we have never once seen this card for auctions ANYWHERE a /10.
Unsurprisingly, the 2018 Panini Opulence card has attracted a lot of attention from collectors even though a PSA 9 grade or higher has never been sold on the public market. As the name implies, there’s a premium look and feel to this signed Luka card, which has been decorated with gold at every opportunity.
As well as a player patch and a fantastic autograph, the Luka Doncic Opulence Holo Gold version is limited to just 10 copies. The set was well-received by hobbyists, and the gold corner makes it exceptionally difficult to find gem-mint-graded copies. A super-rare Luka card 20 years from now could be his most valuable.
2018 Panini Opulence Parallels: Gold (/25), Holo Gold (/10), Platinum (1/1)
#3. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Contenders Auto RC #122
The 2018 Contenders set contains the usual array of Rookie Ticket-themed cards and a prominent signature that has caused gem mint copies of the base version to skyrocket into the $35,000 range. There’s also an image variation to be on the lookout for. Base Rookie Tickets show an all-black team logo on the front and the same image on the front and back of the card.
Variations have a colored team logo on the front, and they use a different front image but use the same back as the base card. 2018 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Parallels: Cracked Ice (/25), Premium Edition Gold (/10), Championship (1/1)
#4. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini National Treasures RPA /99 RC #127
National Treasures cards tick all of the boxes for hobbyists. After all, it’s numbered to 99 copies, there’s a large patch, an on-card auto, and it’s from a popular set. As such, Luka’s NT RC is one of the most expensive options on the market, while there’s also a horizontal version with a print run of 49.
We strongly recommend you add at minimum one (ideally three) Luka rookie cards to your sports card investment portfolio/collection when given the opportunity”The set also contains the living legend in the one-of-one Logoman parallel, which recently sold for $4.6 million.
If money is no object, this has to be seen as the best investment piece overall. 2018 Panini National Treasures Parallels: FOTL (/20), Gold (/10), Emerald (/5), Blue FOTL (/3), Logoman (1/1)
#5. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Flawless Auto RC #39
One of the few high-end Luka Doncic rookie cards with a horizontal frame complete with an autograph to boot. The Panini Flawless brand remains one of the better ROIs in the basketball card hobby.
#6. 2016 Luka Doncic Upper Deck Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Rainbow RC #23
The first RC to make a list is an early release from the 2016-17 season. The Upper Deck Turkish Airlines card features Doncic during his time sprint playing for Real Madrid, with their team logo found in the top left corner.
— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) October 20, 2021
Doncic was named the EuroLeague Rising Star by a unanimous vote that year. It might not match the prices seen with his NBA rookie cards, but it’s still a noteworthy addition. There’s also a sole Rainbow parallel with no serial number.
2016 Upper Deck Euroleague Basketball Parallels: Rainbow
#7. 2018 Luka Doncic Contenders Optic Ticket Auto (SP/Variation) RC #128
Over the next few years, we feel variation rookie cards outperform the modern rookie card market on average and by a good deal. Take advantage of this and consider the 2018 Luka Doncic Optic Variation Autograph rookie card. Great looking card but expensive at high-end grades.
#8. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Impeccable RPA /99 RC #113
One of the more attractive Luka rookie patch autographs, the 2018 Panini Impeccable release, is seldom seen at auction. This is due to a low print run of 99 copies and a handful of produced parallels. The patch itself is smaller than others, but that leaves space for a great image of the player surrounded by smoke and a prominent on-card auto at the bottom.
2018 Panini Impeccable Parallels: Silver (/49), Gold (/35), Holo Silver (/25), Holo Gold (/10), Platinum (1/1)
#9. 2018 Luka Doncic Court King’s Heir Apparent RC /199 #7
The 2018 Heir Apparent subset contains a signed Luka card, limited to just 199 copies. As the name implies, the set features some of the hottest rookies, and none have taken to the throne as well as Doncic.
It has one of the best images of the player, as he takes a moment with a basketball in one hand. The card is finished with gold trim, and there’s a lighter patch at the bottom to make way for an on-card autograph. It’s somewhat undervalued compared to the others, making for a great investment piece.
2018 Panini Heir Apparent Parallels: Jade, Ruby (/49), Sapphire (/25), Masterpiece (1/1)
#10. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Donruss RC #177
Doncic’s Rated Rookie cards are supposed to be a budget option, but PSA 10 copies of the colored parallels are already selling for four figures. This makes it one of the cheaper Doncic cards but still expensive compared to the norm.
The base version features Doncic dribbling and a signed edition with the same card number (#177).
2018 Donruss Rated Rookie Parallels: Holo, Blue Velocity, Hyper Pink, Purple, Shock (Target Mega Box), Orange (/199), Lime Green (/149), Red (/99), Pink Velocity (/79), Blue (/49), Black Velocity (/39), Pink (/25), Purple Stars FOTL (/13), Gold (/10), Green (/5), Black (1/1), Gold Vinyl (1/1) Dragon, Red (/88), Black Gold (/8), Nebula (1/1)
Fast Break Parallels: Holo, Purple (/95), Red (/85), Blue (/50), Pink (/20), Gold (/10), Black (1/1)
Note: A Luka Doncic top ten rookie card list is not easy to assemble as numerous cards could easily qualify. We wanted to include a mix of high-end, affordable, rare, and popular in this write-up. If your goal is maximum return on investment regardless of cost, attempt to purchase the National Treasures RPA /99 #145, Opulence Holo Gold RPA /10 #127, or one of the rare/high-end Prizm parallels RC #280 (i.e., Gold, Tiger Stripe, Blue).
#11. 2018 Luka Doncic Status RC #122
Luka’s 2018 Panini Status is a simple card, with the player showing off his shooting prowess as he leaps through the air. There are only a handful of parallels on the market, and they’re affordable compared to the others mentioned already.
#12. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Noir RPA RC /99 #303
The Panini Noir RPA’s were split in two for each player, with number #343 being the full-color equivalent to this black and white card. The images are slightly different for each one, but they both have a print run of just 99, and each has an on-card auto at the bottom. We prefer the black and white Doncic card (#303), especially as it fits in well with the overall Noir theme of the set. Adding to the rarity, it’s hard bordered with black corners at the top, and there’s just one parallel with only five copies.
#13. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Threads RC #141
The base card might not be the most exciting option, so we’d opt for the Dazzle parallel if you’re looking at Doncic’s 2018 Threads RC. The jersey-designed cards are busy, while there’s no sign of an auto or a player patch. Regardless, it’s an entry-level piece that could still make serious money.
#14. 2018 Luka Doncic Crown Royale Silhouette Jersey Auto RC /199 #226
Another card with a lower print run than usual; we’re focusing on the Rookie Silhouettes Autograph Jersey subset for our next pick. The Silhouettes might have a smaller picture of Doncic, but that’s a fair trade when looking at the sheer size of the player patch. A chrome Crown Royale logo is found in the middle, with a white section underneath with space for an on-card auto. It’s not the most popular set, but that could all change in the future.
#15. 2018 Luka Doncic NBA Hoops Short Print RC #268
The 2018-19 Luka NBA Hoops SP is a sneaky good pick regarding potential ROI and won’t cost thousands and thousands of dollars at high grades. It is more wallet-friendly than the signed version from the collection and has an RC logo at the top and a chrome finish for the NBA Hoops logo at the bottom.
#16. 2018 Crown Royale Luka Doncic RC #63
#17. 2018 Court Kings Luka Doncic RC #117
#18. 2018 Panini Dominion Luka Doncic RC /199 #126
#19. 2018 Panini Obsidian Luka Doncic RC #91
#20. 2018 Panini Contenders Optic ’81 Tribute Luka Doncic RC
Luka Doncic Rookie Card Checklist
- 2016 Upper Deck Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Rainbow Luka Doncic RC #23
- 2018 Panini Impeccable RPA Luka Doncic RC /99 #113
- 2018 Absolute Memorabilia Luka Doncic RC #58
- 2018 Certified Luka Doncic RC #153
- 2018 Panini Status Luka Doncic RC #122
- 2018 Select Zebra Prizm Premier Level Luka Doncic RC #122
- 2018 Crown Royale Luka Doncic RC #63
- 2018 Immaculate Collection RPA Luka Doncic RC /99 #124
- 2018 Donruss Rated Rookie Luka Doncic RC #177
- 2018 Select Luka Doncic RC #25
- 2018 Panini Cornerstones Auto Quad Mem /199 Luka Doncic RC #153
- 2018 Court Kings Luka Doncic RC #117
- 2018 Panini Opulence Luka Doncic RC #145
- 2018 Panini Spectra Luka Doncic RC #108
- 2018 Panini Threads Luka Doncic RC #101
- 2018 Panini Encased Auto Luka Doncic RC /75 #108
- 2018 Panini Contenders Autograph Luka Doncic RC #122
- 2018 Panini Flawless Luka Doncic RC /20 #81
- 2018 Panini Dominion Luka Doncic RC /199 #126
- 2018 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Autograph Luka Doncic RC #126
- 2018 Panini Contenders Optic Autograph Luka Doncic RC #128
- 2018 Panini Chronicles Luka Doncic RC #71
- 2018 Panini Prizm Luka Doncic RC #280
- 2018 Panini National Treasures RPA Luka Doncic RC /99 #127
- 2018 Panini Impeccable RPA Luka Doncic RC /99 #113
- 2018 Panini Noir Luka Doncic RC /85 #169
- 2018 NBA Hoops Luka Doncic RC #268
- 2018 Donruss Next Day Auto Luka Doncic RC #26
- 2018 Panini Revolution Galactic SSP Luka Doncic RC #128
- 2018 Panini Obsidian Luka Doncic RC #91
- 2018 Panini Opulence Luka Doncic RC /39 #88
- 2018 Panini Contenders Optic ’81 Tribute Luka Doncic RC
- 2018-19 Donruss Optic Signature Series Choice Auto Luka Doncic RC #LD
- 2018 Panini Prizm Mosaic Luka Doncic RC #68
- 2018 Panini Revolution Luka Doncic RC #128
- 2018 Panini Dominion Regal Platinum Luka Doncic RC #40
- 2018 Panini Obsidian Electric Etch Yellow Luka Doncic RC #11
- 2018 Panini Spectra Auto Luka Doncic RC /175 #6
- 2018 Panini Cornerstones Downtown Luka Doncic RC #11
- 2018 Immaculate Luka Doncic Trae Young Rookie Dual Auto /49 RC #CS
- 2018 Chronicles Titanium Draft Year Prizm SSP /18 Luka Doncic RC #450
- 2018 Panini Chronicles XR Jumbo Luka Doncic RC #10
Luka Doncic’s card values have soared over the last few years, and other than the Jordan Fleer rookie card may have the top ROI in the hobby over that time frame.
Here are the five most expensive Luka Doncic basketball cards.
The Luka Doncic National Treasures Logoman sold for over 4 million dollars in February of 2021 and is considered the most expensive modern card.
- 2018 Panini Opulence RPA Holo Gold /10 RC #145
- 2018 Panini National Treasures RPA RC /99 #127
- 2018 Panini Prizm Gold RC #289
- 2018 Panini Contenders Premium Gold Rookie Auto /10
- 2018 Panini Immaculate Acetate Gold RPA RC
Please note that due to extreme volatility in card values weekly, if you find a Luka card that should be on this list but is not, leave a comment, and our editor will fact-check and update.
Luka Doncic’s rookie card values have slowed down a bit in the last month or so, and some of the base Luka RCs have even lost value (this is related more due to a must-needed correction in the hobby vs. Luka Doncic rookie cards themselves).
We still expect Luka Doncic RCs to be one of the top gainers in terms of ROI over the next 10 years and are a solid long-term investment. Attempting to predict Luka card values in the short term depends more on the card market and is a game we don’t like playing (unless we have an edge).
Investment Rating: Excellent (4.9 out of 5)
Risk / Return Analysis: Low Risk / Moderate to High Return
Ownership Disclosure: 2018 Prizm RC #280, 2018 Panini Impeccable Patch Auto /99 RC #113, 2018 Upper Deck Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Rainbow RC #23, 2018 Opulence RPA RC /10
As we mentioned, the long-term value of Luka Doncic cards is superior to just about any card on the modern market. We recommend buying Luka and holding long-term and don’t try the short-term flip game. That may have worked for the last couple of years (i.e., 2018 to 2020), but DO NOT count on it going forward.
You’ll be paying big money for any rookie card featuring Doncic, especially after the Luka National Treasures /99 RC card sold for over 4 million dollars. Of course, the buyer’s banking on the card is worth even more in the future, which is a safe assumption (but far from guaranteed like all investments).
A one-of-one is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay, but Fiorella (the buyer) must see the potential to make a profit on the sale. As with the majority of Luka’s RCs, they’re the hottest cards in the hobby right now, and they’re directly tied to his progress in the NBA and the overall sports cards market as a whole.
Alternate Investment Option: another great season by Luka, and we will see values continue to increase, which is tempting for buyers. But be sure to diversify your holdings and purchase a couple of vintage HoF rookie cards: Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card, Derek Jeter Rookie Cards, and Michael Jordan Rookie Cards. Also, please check out our 22 Sports Card Investing Tips write-up and thank us later.
The prices we are paying for Luka cards today assume he has a HOF-type career. If he suffers a career-altering injury or his season numbers start trending downward, his rookie card prices will plunge.
However, we do not see that happening, and we feel we will be able to hold court with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Mike Trout, and LeBron James rookie cards in the sports card investment world in time.
What is the Rarest Luka Doncic rookie card?
The rarest Luka Doncic rookie card is the 2018 Panini Opulence RPA Holo Gold /10 RC #145. Only ten of these were made and we have never seen one up for auction at eBay or anywhere for that matter.
Are Luka Doncic Rookie Cards a good investment?
Luka Doncic rookie cards are not only a good investment but they are a great investment. We feel Luka and Justin Herbert rookie cards are the two best modern players to invest in.
Why is Luka Doncic rookie cards so expensive?
Luka Doncic cards are so expensive because his numbers based on his age can only be matched by LeBron James. If Luka can win a title his basketball card values will sky rocket.