Katie Ledecky has five Olympic medals in the Rio Games and four of them are gold — it’s a pretty good haul for a 19-year-old.
The one thing she doesn’t have, though? A bonafide pack-inserted trading card.
Instead, collectors have a trio of Sports Illustrated for Kids cards — a staple for the non-traditional sports or young stars not yet professionals found in the pages of the kids magazine as a perforated-sheet bonus. It’s a place where LeBron James, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods have made their marks in the past along with many others before traditional card appearances.
Unlike those other big names, though, her card really isn’t translating to riches just yet. Her first card from a 2013 issue of the magazine can be had in bulk as singles or even as bundles of complete magazines. At least for now.
On that card (No. 274), it’s nestled in the middle left spot on the nine-card-sheet but that location hasn’t helped it grade well — and grading is where these cards can take off. There have been 82 copies graded by PSA and none have received higher than a Near-Mint 7 mark. There have been 19 copies to get a PSA 7, while most cards (39 copies) graded a PSA 6. The PSA 7 cards have still been strong sellers on eBay, despite their condition — but nothing any sellers are banking on dramatically.
Just four copies of her newest card, No. 484, card have been graded, but two of those have received PSA 8s. (Others graded PSA 7 and PSA 6.) No copies of her No. 462 card have been slabbed by PSA.
Ledecky did not make it into this year’s officially licensed Topps Olympic set, though there are many other unauthorized cards of her to be found right now in online auctions. Unlike those, the SI for Kids cards won’t be reprinted if there’s a sudden surge in popularity and that makes them a much-safer and more official card to buy.
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