In recent years, the world of sports trading cards has witnessed a significant rise in interest and value. That phenomenon has also accelerated the value of cards featuring female athletes. This surge in popularity can be attributed to the growing recognition of women's sports, as well as the incredible accomplishments and talent of these athletes. With the fan base for these sports growing, there has been a solid increase in demand for women’s sports cards, too.
Collectors and enthusiasts are now eagerly seeking cards that celebrate the achievements of these trailblazing women. In this article, we will explore the 13 most valuable women's sports trading cards that have captured the hearts and wallets of fans around the globe. The time may very well be start investing in more sports cards featuring female athletes, both to support their sports and as a good bet on their future values.
Most Valuable Women’s Sports Cards
13. 2003 NetPro International Match Worn Apparel #4S Serena Williams Patch Card /100 - $12,000 (Tennis)
Our first Serena Williams card on the list shows the tennis legend in a triumphant moment on a clay court. Simply put, Serena Williams is one of the most successful and influential players in the history of the sport, with numerous Grand Slam titles and other accolades to her name. Known for her powerful playing style, strategic prowess, and resilience on the court, Williams has left an indelible mark on tennis and women’s sports in general.
Actually, forget women’s sports for a second: Serena Williams is just one of the greatest athletes in modern sports history. Watching her play has always been a thrilling experience and that reflects in her dominance on our list of the most valuable sports cards featuring female athletes.
In respect to this card, NetPro is known for its tennis trading cards, and the International Series has become a popular staple in the tennis collector’s market. The company focuses on high-quality cards and 2003 was a watershed year for them with a series of historical ‘rookie’ cards being released to much acclaim. This card is a great example of what they do in order to make their cards special, even though a Perrier ad can be seen photobombing Williams in the top right corner. With ‘court authentic’ match worn apparel featured on the card, this adds a little bit of tennis history to the mix. Add that to a limited print run of 100 and you have one special collectible sure to increase in value over time.
That all seems to have worked because, in October 2021, a PSA 10 Gem Mint copy sold for $12,000. The value has held up pretty well in subsequent sales, so expect this one to continue to appreciate.
12. 1999 S.I. for Kids Serena Williams and Venus Williams # 877 - $15,000 (Tennis)
Serena Williams and Venus Williams are two of the most accomplished and influential tennis players in the history of the game. They both have earned much success, with numerous Grand Slam titles to their names. Both of them are known for their powerful serves, aggressive play, and the trail they've blazed for African-American tennis players.
This card is part of the 1999 Sports Illustrated for Kids series of perforated trading cards featured in its magazine since the late 1980s. Card #877 is unique because it features both Serena and Venus Williams, a rare treat for collectors and investors alike. With a charming photo of the sisters in their tennis attire, it’s from well before they went pro but it captures the spirit of their competitive yet loving sisterly bond. Both of these exceptional athletes had huge successes in 1999. Serena won her first Grand Slam singles title at the U.S. Open, and Venus finished the year ranked No. 3 in singles for the world.
The SI for Kids cards are all the more valuable with higher gradings because these cards were originally perforated in a children’s magazine. Thus, copies of the card that have been cleanly and professionally cut are all the more valuable. The best price on record is $15,000 for a BGS 9 Mint copy, which was sold in November 2021. While this card price might rise further, other copies that have not been graded can be found for considerably less - and they could still be a great investment opportunity.
11. 2018 S.I. For Kids Naomi Osaka Rookie Card #779 - $16,800 (Tennis)
One of the most recognizable faces in tennis these days is Naomi Osaka. She’s become popular for her aggressive game and strong mental approach on the court. Born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka is a Grand Slam champion, having won the US Open and the Australian Open multiple times. Her career is really just beginning but her powerful entry into the world stage for tennis means her cards are already commanding impressive values.
This more modern 2018 S.I. For Kids Naomi Osaka #779 card still has those problematic serrated edges referenced above on the Serena and Venus Williams card, but their overall card design has definitely hit the modern era. Plus, this card has a thrilling shot of a determined Osaka powering a volley forward, with the ball in midair. It’s a great shot of an up-and-coming superstar who is making a bug name for herself on the court.
In April 2022, a PSA 10 Gem Mint copy of this card sold for $16,800. The pricing trend for this card and Naomi Osaka cards in general seems to be going up, so now is a good time to look into investing in this serious contender.
10. 2021 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Exquisite Autograph Naomi Osaka Patch /5 - $19,500 (Tennis)
Osaka’s second appearance on this list won’t be her last. Her powerhouse performance has made her popular with fans and sports card collectors alike. This card is one of many that Upper Deck has produced in their Goodwin Champions series that have been fetching top dollar from collectors and investors.
The 2021 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions set is known for its eclectic mix of sports figures, celebrities, and historical figures featured on the cards. This card is part of the Exquisite Collection subset, and it's highly sought after thanks to its premium design and limited availability. The Naomi Osaka card is number #AM and features Osaka’s autograph. The card features a good action shot of the athlete in the middle of a serve in front of an olive-colored field. The card also includes a match-worn patch to help increase the special appeal of the card. With only 5 copies of the card in existence, the scarcity surely helped drive up the value.
In April 2022, a PSA 10 Gem Mint copy sold for $19,500. This certainly bodes well for sales of the other 4 copies as Naomi Osaka remains a force to be reckoned with in the world of tennis. If you can’t find one of those, note that a variant with a different background color was printed as part of a run of 25, too. Even so, a PSA 10 Gem Mint copy of that version sold a month later in May 2022 for $15,000. Upper Deck didn’t stop there - many more Naomi Osaka cards in this series with limited print runs and slight variations in color or the picture show have been selling for between $10,000 and $15,000 in the last couple of years.
The lesson here is simple: Naomi Osaka trading cards are worth a lot of money and investing in cards featuring this future superstar right now just might be a good idea.
9. 2018 Upper Deck Employee Exclusive Autograph Materials #UDSW Serena Williams Signed Jersey Card /199 - $22,800 (Tennis)
Upper Deck has been making sports cards for many years, but they’ve not focused on exclusive cards as much as some other manufacturers like NetPro. This sterling Upper Deck Employee Exclusive Autograph collectible is the exception. This card was given to Upper Deck employees, which ensured that this was limited in numbers and exclusive.
Of course, they picked one of the most exceptional athletes of the modern era. Serena William’s needs no introduction, but it’s still worth noting that her cards are so valuable because she has won a staggering 39 Grand Slam titles if you add up the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events, is a four-time Olympic Gold medal winner, and has dominated tennis courts all over the world for years. Add to that a swatch of tournament-used clothing material, and her own blue-ink signature and you have one truly valuable collectible. While 199 copies were made, the biggest sale of this card so far appears to be a PSA Mint copy sold in January 2022 for $22,800.
8. 2021 Panini Black Gold Prizm Sabrina Ionescu #39 Black Gold Prizm /5 - ~$23,000 (Basketball)
Sabrina Ionescu is a WNBA player who had a storied career in college basketball before debuting as a pro in 2020 after being the very first pick in the WNBA draft that year. During her career as a college player, Ionescu was a dominant force and holds the NCAA record in triple-doubles with 26. She was also named the NCAA Player of the Year three times and helped lead the Oregon Ducks to the Final Four in 2019.
Based on her stellar performance for the Oregon Ducks in college ball, Nike signed her to a multiyear deal right after the draft pick. Sabrina Ionescu is currently playing point guard on the New York Liberty and has made such an impression she was on the All-Star Team in 2022 and this is just the beginning of what looks to be a long, successful career.
This is one of 5 cards in the WNBA Prizm Black Gold series, which are published by Panini. The Black Gold design is one of the rarest of the Prizm parallels. There are only 5 of these cards, which likely helped drive up the value for this card. In November 2021, number 1 of the five copies produced was sold in PSA 10 Gem Mint condition for a best offer price from a listing at $23,000. Sabrina Ionescu has many years ahead of her to continue to build on her legend, so the fact that her basketball cards are already commanding five-digit sales suggests there is plenty of room for them to keep climbing.
7. 2016 Leaf Metal National Pride Superfractor Autograph Serena Williams #NPSW1 /1 - $25,000 (Tennis)
Back to Serena Williams, the force of nature tennis player who is as dominant on the court as she has been on this list. The 2016 Leaf Metal Tennis set is popular because they only print autograph cards. These cards are typically characterized by their high-quality, glossy design, which is a hallmark of its "metal" style. This card is labeled as ‘number’ #NPSW1 and it's a standout in the set for several reasons.
First, the card features an authenticated autograph from Serena Williams herself. Second, it’s a "Superfractor," a term typically used in the trading card industry to denote a card with a special type of refractor finish that gives it a unique, rainbow-like shimmer. Last, it’s a single card population item. In the world of sports trading cards, cards that are unique or have a very limited print run are typically more valuable. We also can’t discount the power of the card’s photo, a shot of Williams calling out in victory after one of her numerous successes.
The value of such a card is usually quite high but this card had a rough year in 2022. In January 2022, the PSA 10 Gem Mint card sold on auction for $25,000. Despite being a single population card with an autograph from a superstar athlete, it sold again in June 2022 for just over $10,000. Who knows what leads to distressed sales like this one, but we can generally expect this, like all Serena Williams cards, to maintain or rise in value over time.
6. 2003 NetPro International Series Match Worn Apparel Serena Williams Jersey Rookie Card #BONUS /25 - $26,400 (Tennis)
As you can see, we could practically fill this entire list with cards featuring Serena Williams. This is another high-end, low-population 2003 NetPro International Series card that draws in collectors and drives up value with its unique qualities.
NetPro published only 25 copies of this Serena Williams card with match-worn apparel", meaning that the card features a small piece of a jersey the superstar wore during a professional tennis match. These features drive up what collectors and investors will pay for trading cards because of that direct connection to the athlete and their performance. The "#BONUS" number designation notes that this card was a special insert in the set, adding to its rarity, desirability, and value.
The image on the card features an action shot of Serena Williams on the court with a bemused smile, perhaps wondering if that last ball was going to get called as ‘in’. It’s a gorgeous card with Williams’ white outfit perfectly complementing the clay court behind her. Unsurprisingly, a PSA 10 Gem Mint copy of the card sold for $26,400 back in August 2022. With Serena Williams’ cards continuing to rise in value, finding a copy of this one at a good price will remain a solid investment opportunity for some time.
5. 1992 Mia Hamm S.I. for Kids Series 2 #71— $34,440 (Soccer)
Mia Hamm is well-known as one of the finest soccer players in the history of the sport. With a legendary history on the field that included 17 years playing for the women’s US national soccer team, Hamm won Olympic Gold twice, won two FIFA Women's World Cup titles, and was named FIFA’s world player of the year in 2001 and 2002. She’s received countless other honors, including U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year five years in a row and three ESPY awards. Hamm was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame and others around the world, including being the first female player inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame.
While SI isn’t known for their card design, this card makes good use of a frame-breaking photo that shows a thrilling action shot of Hamm in her iconic U.S. national team uniform. This card is one of her earliest soccer trading cards and it came out just as Hamm was beginning to make her mark on international women's soccer.
Mia Hamm was a truly exceptional and groundbreaking player, so it’s no surprise that a PSA 10 Gem Mint copy of this card sold for almost $35,000 in June 2021. This was a high-water mark for the card, however, with additional cards in the same condition selling for less than a third of that. Keep an eye out on Cardbase’s page for Mia Hamm to watch for Hot Deals, which are opportunities to buy cards for below the market’s going rate.
4. 2020 Topps Transcendent Tennis Hall of Fame Collection Framed Autographs Red #TCANO Naomi Osaka Signed Card /1 - $39,600 (Tennis)
On a list dominated by another tennis great, it’s refreshing to get another Naomi Osaka into the upper echelon of the most valuable cards featuring women athletes. We’ve already noted above how this exceptional player has been excelling on the court in the last few years. She’s still young and has many years of success ahead of her, which will surely further increase the value of her cards.
As for this series, the Topps Transcendent Collection is an exclusive, high-end line of sports cards. The series features limited print runs, high-end cardstock, and elegant design. The fact that this card is from the Hall of Fame Collection means it's part of an even more limited subset within the Transcendent line.
The "Framed" part of the name suggests that this card comes in a special display-ready frame. The card also features an original, authenticated signature from Naomi Osaka herself, which naturally increases its value as well. The single copy was graded by BGS at one of their highest ratings: 9 Mint condition, which sold for a massive $39,600 in October 2021. Osaka’s other cards have been on the move, so keep an eye on her Cardbase page for Hot Deals opportunities to buy high-value cards for less.
3. 2003 NetPro Elite Glossy Serena Williams #G2 /100 — $99,000 (Tennis)
Yes, it’s Serena Williams again, and she’s also featured on another gorgeous card from NetPro. At this point in the list, you know her history and the reason why this dominant tennis player has become a superstar in sports and beyond.
This card is from the 2003 NetPro Elite Glossy set. The brand is now synonymous with tennis trading cards and 2003 was a banner year for their releases featuring the biggest names ever to walk onto a tennis court. The Elite Glossy subset is particularly prized among collectors and investors due to its enhanced production quality and the high-profile athletes featured on the cards. That sheen looks great on the card’s photo, which shows Serena Williams ready to power out another colossal serve. This card is also a limited print run of 100, adding scarcity to the calculation of its value.
The #G2 Serena Williams card is particularly noteworthy because this arrived at a high point in her career. In 2002, Williams had completed the "Serena Slam," holding all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously, and she spent much of 2003 as No. 1 in the world for women's singles. While you could find copies for less than $10,000 just a year before, in January 2022, a PSA 10 Gem Mint copy sold for about $99,000 (a best offer), which was similar to prices paid for the same card around that time.
2. 1999 S.I. For Kids Series 4 Serena Williams #814 — $117,000 (Tennis)
As we near the top of the list, it’s all about the phenomenal Serena Williams. This card is another from the 1999 Sports Illustrated for Kids set, which was a truly consequential year for this tennis genius. As noted above, the fact that these SI for Kids cards were included in a magazine with serrated edges means it’s all the more challenging to find cards in pristine condition.
Helping add to the value of this card is the dynamic action shot of Williams on the court, delivering the kind of powerhouse shot that helped make her so successful. While the card’s design feels a bit dated by modern standards, the photo is so good that this is easily dismissed.
In January 2022, a PSA 10 copy of this classic card sold for $117,000. Additional copies have sold subsequently for a bit less, but this remains one of Serena Williams’ most valuable and iconic trading cards.
1. 2003 NetPro International Series Apparel Autograph Serena Williams #2A — $266,400 (Tennis)
There should be little surprise that the top spot on the list is held by Williams. While Serena Williams hit the pro circuits way back in 1995, she has been a dominant force in tennis ever since. Serena Williams properly began her winning streak by taking the 1999 US Open. That led to a stellar performance in 2002-2003 when she took the US, French, and Australian Opens, each time edging out her own older sister, tennis also-great Venus Williams. Thus, this card comes from a time when Williams was at the height of her power on the court.
During this period in her career, she joined an elite group of women that have held all Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously, an honor called the "Serena Slam" by fans and the media at the time. The increased value of her cards makes good sense, as her legend will continue to amaze fans for years to come.
In May 2022, a PSA 8 copy of an exclusive game apparel and autograph card from NetPro International went for a record $266,400. The value of this card is definitely on the rise, as many copies of similar grades sold in the range of $30,000 to $50,000 in the year leading up to that huge record sale in 2022. This record-setting card can expect to continue its appreciation in the years to come.
The Rising Popularity of Women’s Sports Cards Opportunity
The 13 most valuable women's sports trading cards listed above showcase the incredible talent, determination, and impact of these incredible athletes. As interest in women's sports continues to rise, collectors can expect the value of these cards to follow suit. With calls to increase media coverage of women’s sports from people like basketball great Brittney Griner, we’re seeing more people take notice of the exceptional sporting ability so many sports fans are missing when they fail to tune in. More fans means cards will rise in value, so investing now could be a good bet.
Not only do these trading cards serve as an ideal way to honor the achievements of these trailblazing women, but they also give fans an enjoyable way to celebrate and connect with their favorite athletes. Sports card manufacturers are seeing the opportunity, and they’re producing more cards. Fans are tuning in and getting to know the best of the best in women’s sports. That also means we in the card collecting and investing community can expect this market to grow as more people clamor for trading cards featuring the best in women’s sports.