1970 Topps Pete Maravich Rookie Card (Value, Rarity, Investment)

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Pete Maravich was one of the most exciting players to ever grace the NBA.

“Pistol” Pete could make things happen on the court that nobody else could and always put on a show for the fans.

Even today, more than forty years after he last played in the NBA, Maravich remains one of the most popular players in league history.

The 1970 Topps Pete Maravich rookie card also remains one of the hobby’s hottest and most valuable basketball cards

In this piece, we explore the career of Pete Maravich, while examining his rookie card in more detail.

"Pistol" Pete Maravich As A Player

Pete Maravich was one of the most talented players to ever grace an NBA court.

His ball-handling skills, shooting ability, and flair for the dramatic made him a fan favorite. 

Not only was he one of the most talented players to ever set foot on a basketball court, but he was also an incredible showman.

His tricks and fakes were second to none, and he always seemed to make the impossible shot look easy.

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Pistol Pete's second year 1971 Topps card.

Maravich was obsessed with basketball, as his father, Press Maravich (an NCAA college coach) had Pete in the gym at an early age. 

It was clear early on that Pete was destined to be a professional basketball player.

In college, Maravich averaged 44 points a game over his three collegiate seasons at LSU.  

Maravich also set the all time collegiate Division 1 scoring record, breaking the former record set by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson. A record that still stands to this day

“If I have a choice whether to do the show or throw a straight pass, and we're going to get the basket either way, I'm going to do the show.”. 

- Pete Maravich

Maravich carried his penchant for the dramatic to the NBA when the Atlanta Hawks selected Maravich with the 3rd pick in the 1970 NBA Draft

Pistol Pete proved to be a great scorer and averaged over 24 points a game with the Hawks, but he got a reputation as a hot dog

Many felt that he wasn't making those around him better players. The Hawks failed to win any playoff series during his four seasons. 

He was traded in 1974 to the newly formed New Orleans Jazz. Most agree that Maravich matured as a player while with the Jazz.

In 1976-77, he had his best season as a pro, averaging over 31 points per game. In a game against the Knicks he scored 68 points, a single game record at the time for a guard. 

Did PETE Maravich Predict his own death?

In a 1974 interview with the Beaver County Times, Maravich was quoted as saying, "I don't want to play 10 years in the NBA and die of a heart attack at age 40". Unfortunately, this statement did prove to be true, as Maravich died in 1988 at the age of 40 from a heart attack. He collapsed while playing pick up basketball.  

Maravich also had a bit of a dark side, and it was well known that he liked to drink. Some think it might have led to his shortened career, although he never really was the same after injuring his knees in the 1977-78 season. 

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Pistol played his last season with the Boston Celtics in 1980

Maravich retired at the age of 33 in 1980 following a short stint with the Boston Celtics. Maravich was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987, less than a year prior to his death in 1988. 

The 1970 Topps Pete Maravich Rookie Card 

The 1970 Topps basketball issue was the second consecutive 'tall boy' release from Topps. Measuring 2-1/2” by 4-11/16”, the cards feature a player image with a dark color background.

The 1970 Topps #123 Pete Maravich rookie card is the most valuable card in the set. Other rookies in the set include those of HOFers Pat Riley and Calvin Murphy. 

Pistol Pete's Topps rookie card is one of the hobby's must own vintage basketball cards.

It features Pete as a newly drafted member of the Atlanta Hawks. Pete was known to fall asleep with the basketball as a child, and we can see how comfortable he looks here.

You can just see Pistol thinking up his next trick play in this photo!

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1970 Topps Basketball Pete Maravich rookie SGC Graded 2.5 Good plus

$279.50  
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1970-71 Topps #123 Pete Maravich (RC)

$100.00  (1 bid)
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The backs of the 1970 Topps Tall Boy cards feature a player bio, stat lines and a cartoon with a quick fact about the player. On Pete's rookie, we learn that his father was his coach while at LSU. 

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Back of a 1970 Topps Pete Maravich Rookie Card

How Much Is A Pete Maravich Rookie Card Worth?

There are only two PSA 10 (Gem Mint) copies of Pistol Pete's rookie card. The last sale was in 2019 for over $130,000. Today, that number would likely reach past the $500K mark. 

We have more data for PSA 9 (Mint) graded copies. Average sales prices have ranged from between $15K to $20K. 

NM-MT (PSA 8) copies are more plentiful and thus more affordable.

As shown below PSA 8 Maravich rookie values have nosedived.  From the peak in early 2021, PSA 8 Maravich rookie values have fallen by over 65%

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1970 Topps Pete Maravich Rookie PSA 8 Values - Courtesy Card Ladder

Perfect example of a hype bubble. Prices in the vintage basketball card market moved way too far, and way too fast. Prices are now more realistic.

Can I Buy A Maravich Rookie Card For Under $500?

Collectors with a budget of around $500 or less can typically find a nice mid grade Maravich rookie card in Excellent condition or lower.

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Even ungraded Pistol rookies in low to mid grade are often found on eBay for only a few hundred bucks

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This ungraded Pete sold at auction on eBay for less than $200

What Is The Current Graded Population For Pistol Pete's Rookie Card?

In total, there are over 3,200 PSA Graded Pete Maravich rookie cards. 

Only two PSA 10 (Gem Mint) copies of Pistol Pete's rookie card exist.

There are only 80+ PSA 9 (Mint) graded copies (and other 26 PSA 9 with qualifiers)

Why Are Rookie Cards More Valuable?

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Pete Maravich Rookie Card PSA Values By Grade with Population

Because of the card's size, condition issues are common. Along with many print issues, including poor centering and print dots.

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1970 Topps Basketball cards are very often found off-center like this Maravich RC

How Much Is An Autographed Pete Maravich Rookie Card Worth?

Pistol Pete Maravich died in 1998 at the age of 40. During his career, he was notorious for refusing to sign items. He was, according to PSA, a more liberal signer following his retirement, but his signed memorabilia is quite hard to find. 

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A signed Maravich rookie card, image courtesy Goldin Auctions.

PSA has only authenticated seven autographed Maravich rookie cards. Thus, finding one won't be easy. One sold at auction in 2020 for nearly $7,000, but the card was in poor condition. 

A signed Pete Maravich rookie card in decent condition today will likely sell for over $10,000.

1971 Topps Basketball Sticker #299 Pete Maravich 

Not a rookie card, but I like this second year trio sticker of Pistol Pete from 1971. 

Any budget collectors seeking an inexpensive early Maravich card should take a look at this one. 

It also features Celtics star John Havlicek and can typically be found for under $100 in good condition

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What's The Investment Potential?

Pistol Pete's 1970 Topps rookie card is one of the hobby's most desired vintage rookie cards.

PSA has graded over 3,000 copies, thus we must consider the sizeable supply.

Maravich is a legend, but all time rankings put him low in the ranks when considering the best point guards of all time

Because of the massive supply, it’s hard for me to get excited about lower-grade Maravich rookie cards.

Still, his rookie card in mid to high grades should be a solid investment over time. 

Pete Maravich Rookie Cards For Sale on eBay

1970 Topps Basketball Pete Maravich rookie SGC Graded 2.5 Good plus

$279.50  
End Date: Sunday May-22-2022 13:28:23 EDT
Buy It Now for only: $279.50
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1970-71 Topps #123 Pete Maravich (RC)

$100.00  (1 bid)
End Date: Friday May-20-2022 16:43:13 EDT

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1970-71 TOPPS BASKETBALL #123 PETE MARAVICH ROOKIE VG-VGEX SET BREAK

$227.50  (21 bids)
End Date: Thursday May-19-2022 22:11:21 EDT

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Topps 1970-71 Pete Maravich card# 123 - EX

$449.00  
End Date: Wednesday May-18-2022 23:00:05 EDT
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1970's Topps Basketball (3) Pete Maravich Cards (Nrmt/Mt) a_1655

$9.99  (1 bid)
End Date: Wednesday May-18-2022 21:24:45 EDT

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