Three-time NBA All-Star Jayson Tatum was awarded the 2022 Larry Bird Eastern Conference finals MVP award after averaging 25 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists against the Miami Heat. He also averaged 26.9 points, 8 rebounds and 4.4 assists during the regular-season, but lost out in the 2022 NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors.
It turned out that Tatum entered in the 2022 Finals with a right shoulder injury, and played through a small fracture in his left wrist during the team’s run. In any case, we don’t expect it to be his last appearance in the finals.
Here’s a roundup with 10 of the best Jayson Tatum rookie cards to collect, looking at everything from rare parallels to the sets themselves.
The Best Jayson Tatum Rookie Cards
The third pick in the 2017 draft, there are over 30 Jayson Tatum rookie cards to collect. We’ve narrowed it down to a top 10.
10. 2017-18 Panini Select Jayson Tatum RC #93 Concourse, #166 Premier Level, #256 Courtside (eBay)
2017-18 Panini Select Basketball is where we’ll begin. You’ll find a trio of Jayson Tatum rookie cards contained in the base collection. Concourse cards are most common, followed by short-printed Premier Level (2 per pack) and Courtside (2 per box). They all have different images and designs, with an example of the Courtside RC seen above.
- Concourse Parallels: Silver, Scope, Tri-Color, Zebra (3 per case), Blue #/299, Maroon #/199, White #/149, Orange #/75, Tie-Dye #/25, Gold #/10, Pink #/10, Neon Orange Pulsar #/9 (FOTL), Green #/5, Black 1/1
- Premier Level Parallels: Silver, Scope, Tri-Color, Zebra, Neon Orange Pulsar #/9 (FOTL), Pink #/4
- Premier Level Die-Cut Parallels: Light Blue #/185, Red #/135, Purple #/99, Neon Green #/65, Tie-Dye #/25, Gold #/10, Green #/5, Black 1/1
- Courtside Parallels: Silver, Zebra, Copper #/49, Tie-Dye #/25, Gold #/10, Neon Orange Pulsar #/9 (FOTL), Green #/5, Pink 1/1, Black 1/1
Check prices of 2017-18 Panini Select Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
9. 2017-18 Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Jayson Tatum RC #198 (eBay)
If you’re looking at unsigned options, it’s hard to do better than Jayson Tatum’s Rated Rookie card. Found in 2017-18 Donruss Optic, it features a simple image of the player clutching a ball in both hands. As is always the case, the colorful Prizm parallels are where the true value lies. (Check out the Gem Mint Lime Green version in the image above.)
- Parallels: Holo, Flash, Blue Velocity, Checkerboard, Purple, White Sparkle, Orange #/199, Lime Green #/175, Red #/99, Pink Velocity #/79, Blue #/49, Black Velocity #/39, Aqua #/25, Pink #/25, Purple Stars #/13 (FOTL), Gold #/10, Green #/5, Gold Vinyl 1/1, Black 1/1
- Fast Break Parallels: Holo, Orange #/193, Purple #/155, Red #/85, Blue #/50, Pink #/20, Gold #/10, Black 1/1
Check prices of 2017-18 Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
8. 2017-18 Panini Prizm Jayson Tatum RC #16 (eBay)
Another set that contains numerous parallel hits in a rainbow of colors, 2017-18 Panini Prizm is the place to look for rare editions from Tatum’s rookie year. Of course, you’ll be paying a significant premium if it has a serial number and happens to be in pristine condition. You’ll also be able to find a stickered auto in the set that has the same card number and design.
- Parallels: Silver, Green, Hyper, Red/White/Blue, Ruby Wave, White Sparkle (online promo packs), Blue #/199, Blue Ice #/99, Purple #/75, Orange #/49, Pink Pulsar #/42, Green Pulsar #/25, Mojo #/25, Red Pulsar #/25, Gold #/10, Red Shimmer #/8 (FOTL), Black 1/1
- Fast Break Parallels: Base, Blue #/175, Red #/125, Purple #/75, Pink #/50, Bronze #/20, Neon Green #/5, Black 1/1
Check prices of 2017-18 Panini Prizm Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
7. 2017-18 Panini Cornerstones Downtown Jayson Tatum RC #DT11 (eBay)
Tatum’s 2017-18 Panini Cornerstones Downtown RC insert is extremely valuable, released as part of a subset carried over from 2016-17 Studio.
Despite being unnumbered, Downtown inserts have proven to be one of the more popular NBA releases in recent years. Featuring some of the best known stars from the past few seasons, sets include a mix of rookie cards and legends, set against a backdrop dedicated to their team and city.
Typically falling at a rate of one per case, Downtown cards aren’t easy to find.
Check prices of 2017-18 Panini Cornerstones Downtown Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
6. 2017-18 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Jayson Tatum RC #103 Autograph #/125 (eBay)
2017-18 Panini Contenders Basketball essentially revolves around the famous Rookie Ticket subset. There are both horizontal and vertical versions of the signed Tatum RC to chase, featuring a familiar Rookie Ticket design, and an on-card auto.
The vertical base card has a print run of 125, while the horizontal variation is limited to 75. Print runs for the parallels also differ. We’re always big fans of the Cracked Ice design.
- Vertical Parallels: Premium Edition, Playoff #/65, The Finals #/49, Cracked Ice #/25, Premium Edition Gold #/10, Championship 1/1, Printing Plates 1/1
- Horizontal Parallels: Premium Edition, Playoff #/35, The Finals #/25, Cracked Ice #/20, Premium Edition Gold #/10, Championship 1/1, Printing Plates 1/1
Check prices of 2017-18 Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
5. 2017-18 Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Signatures Jayson Tatum RC #198 Autograph (eBay)
The autographed version of the Jayson Tatum RC which is ninth on this list, 2017-18 Donruss Optic is a cut above the average option thanks to the on-card signature. It uses a close-up shot of the base card image, with a large Rated Rookie auto in the top left corner.
Parallels for the signed versions are as follows:
- Parallels: Holo, Purple, Blue #/49, Pink #/25, Gold #/10, Green #/5, Black 1/1, Checkerboard 1/1, Gold Vinyl 1/1
- Fast Break Parallels: Fast Break, Pink #/20, Black 1/1
Check prices of 2017-18 Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Signatures Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
4. 2017-18 Panini Impeccable Jayson Tatum RC #154 #/99 (eBay)
This is where we start getting into valuable RPA territory. Numbered to 99 copies, 2017-18 Impeccable Basketball might not have the brand recognition seen with the sets below, but it does tick all of the boxes if you’re looking for the best Jayson Tatum rookie cards ever. The patch isn’t the largest, but the on-card auto is massive.
- Parallels: Holo Silver #/25, Holo Gold #/10, Platinum 1/1
Check prices of 2017-18 Panini Impeccable Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
3. 2017-18 Panini Immaculate Jayson Tatum RC #126 Autograph Patch #/99 (eBay)
The premium 2017-18 Panini Immaculate Basketball collection is where we’re heading next; more specifically the Rookie Patch Autographs subset. This Jayson Tatum RC is limited to only 99 copies, and includes a trio of rare parallels. In terms of RPAs, it has a better rep than Impeccable Basketball, but it’s blown away by the 2017-18 Panini National Treasures Basketball card seen below. (Regardless, it’s still one of his more impressive RCs, and would compliment any collection.)
- Parallels: Red #/25, Gold #/10, Tags #/3, Logoman 1/1
Check prices of 2017-18 Panini Immaculate Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
2. 2017-18 Panini Flawless Jayson Tatum RC (eBay)
2017-18 Panini Flawless features a strong selection of premium collectibles. For example, the base card has a gemstone rather than a signature, although signed copies (such as the card seen in the image above) still sell for high amounts. We wouldn’t look past the rarer Tatum RCs found within the set.
Check prices of 2017-18 Panini Flawless Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
1. 2017-18 Panini National Treasures Jayson Tatum RC #103 Autograph Patch #/99 (eBay)
Sticking with the high-end theme, 2017-18 Panini National Treasures Basketball is where you’ll find another eye-catching RPA from Tatum’s first year in the NBA. Base versions are limited to 99 copies, with the landscape design allowing for a larger patch, as well as more space for an on-card auto. There’s also a horizontal version, limited to 49 copies.
- Parallels: Bronze #/25, Limited Edition #/15 (FOTL), Gold #/10, Emerald #/5, Platinum 1/1, Logoman 1/1
Check prices of 2017-18 Panini National Treasures Jayson Tatum RC on eBay
Jayson Tatum Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
We’ve put together a brief buyer’s guide if you’re interested in picking up one of the best Jayson Tatum rookie cards for your personal collection.
There are various affordable Tatum RCs to look to if you’re working with a smaller budget. If you’re just starting out with your collection, we’d advise to look at some of the unsigned parallels listed towards the top of the list.
We’d opt for the 2017-18 Panini National Treasures Jayson Tatum rookie card if you’re looking for the best option overall. There’s only 99 base copies, and a handful of limited parallels to chase. It’s also prestigious, and is seen as the premium RC to collect.
Tatum is entering his sixth NBA season, is the face of the Celtics, won a gold medal with Team USA during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and looks to have learned from his 2022 Finals loss. It’s hard to think of many reasons why it’s a bad idea to look at his best rookie cards, whether it’s for collecting or investing purposes.