Sarah Berge

Serena Williams rookie card sets a new record for women’s sports cards

From the moment she first picked up a racquet and stepped onto the court as a professional in 1995, everyone was certain that Serena Williams would take the tennis world to new heights. Almost 30 years later, Serena has exceeded all expectations by shattering records left and right with her thunderous forehand and backhand. Just recently, she set yet another record, this time off the court. 


It’s actually pretty funny because if you were to look up which female athlete had the most expensive sports card in 2021, you would see the name Serena Williams at the top of the page. 4 months later, the name is the same, but the card and the amount are different…much different. With her 1999 rookie card selling for a staggering $117,000, Serena broke her own record for the most valuable women’s sports card. 


The previous record was held by Serena’s 2003 card, which was autographed and sold for just over $44K back in October. Today, Serena’s 1999 SI For Kids Series 4 rookie card is at the top of the mountain with a $117K price tag attached to it. 


Here’s what the card looks like:

1999 Serena Williams Rookie Card

As you can see on the tag, this has a GEM MT 10 grade, which means it is in mint (or virtually perfect) condition according to PSA’s Grading Standard. A PSA 10 grade for this particular card is even more special if you consider it’s background. No, it wasn’t kept in a harsh environment or used as a coaster. Instead, it was printed on a sheet that had perforated edges, making it extremely delicate and easy to damage if not handled properly. 


The 1999 SI For Kids Series 4 was one of eight featured cards to appear in the summer 99’ issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. Right now, only eight cards from that issue have PSA 10 grades, adding to their rarity and overall value. This is the kind of card that passionate collectors wait for, and if it’s worth so much now, you can imagine what it can be worth 20 or 30 years from now.


This wasn’t the only Serena Williams card to create a stir among buyers and sellers. At the same PWCC auction, Serena’s 2003 Netpro Elite card sold for $96,000. It’s interesting to think that if the 1999 version didn’t sell for as much as it did or didn’t make it to auction at all, it would be the Neptro Elite card holding the record right now. But, second place isn’t bad, especially if they belong to the same athlete.

 2003 Serena Williams Rookie Card

Everyone is super excited about the sale of both of these cards, including PWCC’s head of marketing, Chris Callahan who had this to say after the gavel came down:


"We're extremely excited to see both the $117,000 and $96,000 sales for Serena Williams' cards as it reaffirms what many of us already knew: that she is the greatest of all time. The sales also highlight the rapid growth in women's sports cards over the past year. Through 2021, we saw a few records set for women's cards, but the $117,000 sale is definitely a major step up as it more than doubles the previous record."


There’s no doubting that Serena’s stock is on the rise, which I attribute to her career, her image, and not to mention the Oscar-nominated film King Richard, which tells the story of her father and how he turned both of his daughters into the masterful tennis players that they are today. 


With all of that in mind, the only question that remains is: how long Serena’s card(s) will remain on top of the pile? And if the record is beaten, which card do you think will be the one to do it. Let me know in the comments below.


Until we meet again,

Vince the Prince



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