Panini National Treasures has long been seen as a premium brand, featuring some of the most popular rookie options for a number of sports. They’re arguably Panini’s leading collectible set, with everything from the box to the design marking it as a high-end product.
The cards have a distinctive look, as well as a number of rookie patch autos (RPAs) which can often sell for thousands of dollars. Year over year they continually have one of the best returns on investment (ROI) vs any other card brand.
Top Rated Panini National Treasures on eBay
But which are the very best, and what should you look for if you’re hoping to add a crisp National Treasures rookie card or two to your collection for investment purposes? Here’s a list with our current top five.
The Best Panini National Treasures Rookie Cards Ever Printed
Obviously, the ‘best’ card for you is going to be subjective, depending on everything from the price to your interest in the sport, team, or player in question.
To that end, we’ve looked at the optimal rookie card choices across a variety of different sports and positions, to bring you a range of the very best investment opportunities.
As you might expect, each one is their most popular rookie option, featuring autographs and patches which help to bump up the interest further.
National Treasures RPAs are some of the most sought after of all rookie cards, and they’re universally seen as a high-end product. That does lead to a more expensive entry point to invest, but it also means that there’s more potential for profit. Let’s get started with the list.
5. 2018 Trae Young National Treasures RC #103 (buy on eBay)
We’ll begin with one of the hottest talents in basketball. Trae Young featured heavily at the All-Star Weekend 2020, burying a half-court shot at the end of the second quarter in a memorable display. He ended with 10 points and 10 assists in 15 minutes, which is a great return for a 21-year-old (Read: The Best Trae Young Rookie Cards).
It’s unsurprising that his National Treasures card has already started to shoot up in price rapidly, with a PSA 10 graded version recently selling for $22,100. There’s still a chance to get in on the action before it becomes as expensive as the likes of Luka Doncic’s cards, which can sell for twice as much at auction. The quote on the back reads;
“Some young players might shy away from big shots with time ticking down in the fourth quarter. Young is not one of them. Boasting range that stretches to half court and a willingness to let it fly when he gets a sliver of space, the Oklahoma product is one of the most must-watch players in the clutch”.
- FOTL (/20)
- Gold (/10)
- Emerald (/5)
- Blue FOTL (/3)
- Logoman (1/1)
4. 2018 Lamar Jackson National Treasures Rookie #165 (buy on eBay)
Coming in at number four, Lamar Jackson has his best years ahead of him, which always makes for an attractive investment prospect. The QB was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2019, but his card prices aren’t too inflated.
PWCC recently auctioned a rare Green Jersey Number version of his National Treasures card which sold for $8,600, and a BGS 8.5 Black edition went for $12,600, so it’s one of the cheaper options on the list (Read: The Best Lamar Jackson Rookie Cards). As with the others, it has an on-card autograph and a jumbo patch piece, and it’s seen as the prime collectible Jackson rookie piece.
You’ll find the following parallels;
- Holo Silver /25
- Midnight /20
- Stars and Stripes /15
- Holo Gold /10
- Green Jersey Number /8
- Black /5
- Stars and Stripes Premium /3
- Red Brand Logo /2
- Platinum NFL Shield 1/1
- Printing Plates 1/1
- Red 1/1
- Red Laundry Tag 1/1
The following quote is listed on the reverse;
“Highly regarded for his legs, Jackson proved his arm wasn’t anything to overlook vs. Miami during Baltimore’s fourth preseason game. In limited action, the rookie posted an impressive 134.6 passer rating and threw a touchdown in the team’s 27-10 win, leading him to say, “I hope people know I can throw now”.
3. 2012 Kawhi Leonard National Treasures Rookie Card #114 (buy on eBay)
The oldest player on our list, Kawhi Leonard’s National Treasures rookie card is still a viable investment in the long term.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP has won it twice with different teams, last racking up a victory with the Toronto Raptors in 2019. Despite his many accomplishments, the card isn’t overpriced, with a BGS 9.5 grade going for $14,700 at an auction in February 2020.
If he could add a third Finals win, you’ll definitely be in the money. The back notes;
“Leonard, a Second-Team All-American, racked up 40 double-doubles in 70 career games, including 23 in 2010-11. That double-double total was second in San Diego State history behind Michael Cage (60), who played four seasons to Leonard’s two. Leonard also matched Cage for the most in a single season (23).
The card also has the following parallels:
- Jersey Number (/25)
- Gold (/5)
- NBA Logoman (1/1)
- Printing Plates Black (1/1)
- Printing Plates Cyan (1/1)
- Printing Plates Magenta (1/1)
- Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
2. 2018 Luka Doncic National Treasures Rookie #127 (buy on eBay)
This 2018 Luka Doncic rookie card barely misses out on a space at the top of the list and is the Best National Treasures Basketball Card in the hobby. By far his most valuable and popular rookie option, it’s also the only one that comes with a jumbo patch.
A PSA 9 version of the base National Treasures card sold for $47,878 in February 2020, attracting 74 bids along the way. But why is he so popular?
Doncic was named as the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2019, and he already holds a number of league records. Given his current trajectory, there’s only one way his rookie card prices are likely to go. The quote found on the reverse notes;
“Became the second teenager to start a season opener with the Mavericks (Dennis Smith Jr.)… tallied 10 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in his NBA debut vs Phoenix on Oct. 17 2018… First player from Slovenia to be drafted in the first round since Beno Udrih and Sasha Vujacic in 2004.”
Here are the available parallels;
- Horizontal (/49)
- Horizontal Bronze (/25)
- Limited Edition (/20)
- Gold (/10), Emerald (/5) Blue (/3)
- Logoman (1/1)
1. 2017 Patrick Mahomes National Treasures Rookie #161 (buy on eBay)
The Patrick Mahomes’ Panini National Treasures Football card is undoubtedly expensive. The base version regularly sells for anywhere between $20,000-$30,000, but you’ll be getting a copy of the best QB in the league’s top rookie card. At just 24 years of age, there’s also massive scope for future profits if he continues to perform well, which is why he’s top of the list of our superior investment list.
His National Treasures cards (Trending: Patrick Mahomes Rookie Cards) have already begun to leap up in price, with limited availability and a number of rare parallels. Numbered to 163, you’ll find the following quote on the reverse;
“Joined Todd Blackledge (1983) and Steve Fuller (1979) as the third quarterback drafted by Kansas City in the first round… Led all QBs with a 4.08 second time in the 20-yard shuffle at the 2017 NFL combine… Set NCAA records for passing yards (734) and total yards (819) on Oct. 22, 2016 vs. Oklahoma.”
Parallels are as follows;
- Green Jersey Number (/88)
- Holo Silver (/25)
- Stars and Stripes (/13)
- Holo Gold (/10)
- Black (/5)
- Red (/2)
- Red Brand Logo (/2)
- Red Laundry Tag (/2)
- Platinum NFL Shield (1/1)
- Printing Plates (1/1)
The Best National Treasures Rookie Cards: Overall
It’s hard to see past some of the most exciting players in the world right now when it comes to the very best National Treasures rookie card investments. Each player selected probably has their best years ahead of them, with the possibility of future championships and individual awards which are sure to raise the bar even higher.
The sole downside is that they’re reasonably expensive, even when compared to other premium collectible options. However, that means that there’s more chance of making a serious profit if you choose wisely.
Buy: 2019 Panini National Treasures Baseball Hobby Box
Take Mahomes’ card which came in at number one on our list. As we mentioned, a PSA 9 sold for $47,878 recently. Incredibly, a PSA 10 grade (Read PSA or BGS) could be had for $3,500 midway through 2018, while the same grade sold for $60,100 in February 2020. That’s almost 20x the original investment.
It’s incredible profit if you happened to have the foresight to grab a couple of gem mint copies a few years ago, but it doesn’t mean that the opportunity has passed you by completely.
National Treasures RPAs are always going to be valuable, but their price ceilings will be highly dependent on the player’s form.