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Sunday, October 17, 2021

How to make sense of the NBA TopShot marketplace

This post was originally published on swysh

You shop around the Marketplace for your favorite moments of Kevin Porter JR and then find an overview that looks like this.

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NBA TopShot marketplace overview for Kevin Porter JR moments. Source: NBA TopShot

This is the slam dunk and it’s identical for all four moments.

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What a windmill slam from Kevin Porter JR. Source: NBA TopShot

But they all come at different price points. So what’s the difference?

Let’s remind ourselves that a moment = play + serial number + set

You find some of that information directly on the marketplace overview page.

Play: Dunk

Set: Base Set, Throwdowns, Rookie Debut, Metallic Gold LE. These sets indicate the rarity level which has a major impact on value and price. You get a first indication of that by looking at the “lowest ask” and the amount of cards available.

Common moments appear in all sets. Rare moments are exclusive to certain sets, in this case MGLE, Rookie Debut, Throwdowns sets.

Serial number: Click on the thumbnail to access the marketplace view that shows serials numbers for sale

What’s the deal with Sets

The characteristics of Sets drive price drive value. We start with the Metallic Gold LE set for Kevin.

Metallic Gold LE cards are “rare” and limited to 250–300 cards. Kevin’s MGLE moment is special as it was never sold in any pack: 150 moments have been minted as a reward for participating in the “Metallic Gold LE Challenge 2” in September 2020.

This screenshot of the marketplace shows there are 6 moments for sale at different price points. Across the marketplace, prices never move perfectly linear from low to high serial numbers.

The screenshot also shows the limited edition size of 150 moments.

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Available MGLE moments. Source: NBA TopShot

Metallic Gold LE moments are available in Premium Packs which retail at $24 but are currently sold out. Some MGLE moments are included in other packs, eg Rookie Debut (see below). Thus, there’s no way to get your hands on these existing Metallic Gold LE moments, just by buying packs. You need to go to the marketplace to get your hands on them.

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Premium Packs drop. Source: NBA TopShot

The Rookie Debut set offers more insights into pricing behavior and availability. Right now, there are 35 moments in the store ranging from $4.9k to $63.

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Available Rookie Debut moments. Source: NBA TopShot

Rookie Sets were sold in packs priced at $49. These packs were great value for money: Get 2 rookie debut cards + 1 MGLE. Unfortunately, they have also been sold out.

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Rookied Debut drop. Source: NBA TopShot

Throwdowns are also limited edition sets and there are 35 moments in the store out of a total of 275 ever minted. Prices range from $10k to $15.

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Available Throwdowns moments. Source: NBA TopShot

Throwdowns packs retailed at $26 and there are still some available in the store.

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Throwdown drop. Source: NBA TopShot

Base Sets only include common cards. Kevin’s card has a circulating count of 1,528. “Circulating count” denotes that there will be more moments minted of that set. Unless the card has been retired which you can read about here.

Prices vary wildly for base set cards and can be as low as $1.

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Available Base Set moments. Source: NBA TopShot

Common cards are include in sets like the “Early Adopter” one which sell at $9.99. If you watch the screenshots of the other packs closely, you will notice that common base set cards are always included in the higher priced packs.

Watch out though which serial numbers of these common moments are included in the various packs. You want to have the lowest serial numbers.

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Early Adopters drop. Source: NBA TopShot

What’s driving prices in the marketplace?

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”

Some users are religiously following a player and assign a higher value to a specific moment.

We have also seen a number of listing on the marketplace with sky-high ask prices: We call this the reservation prices of a fan to let go of a certain moment.

Demand for moments is also driven by your emotional connection to a certain play. We adore this Ja Morant moment and would buy this any time of the day if we wouldn’t already own it.

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Ja Morant monster slam dunk. Source: NBA TopShot

Other factors driving demand:

Network effects: The more people join NBA TopShot , the more demand. Being early pays off.

Challenges, showcases and minigames: In order to participate you have to fill in gaps and pick up missing moments. In our logic, we prefer lower serial numbers as we expect them to retain more value. However, we have not had a chance to test this rationale in action yet.

The general interest in sports trading cards will generate significant interest in NBA TopShot moments. See the below articles to get a feeling of how explosive the price action for provably rare sports cards has become recently.

What’s next

We are looking into data points to make sense of the transaction activity on the NBA TopShot marketplace. Stay tuned for data-driven intelligence and educational content.

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