LeBron James Rookie Card Sells for Record $5.2 Million

LeBron James
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According to ESPN, the rookie card for Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has sold at auction for a record $5.2 million.

As ESPN reports:

A 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection RPA (rookie patch autograph) parallel LeBron James card, numbered out of 23, was sold privately for $5.2 million with PWCC Marketplace. The Beckett Grading Services-graded 9 card (with a perfect 10 signature) claims the throne for most expensive basketball card, knocking off the $4.6 million one-of-one 2018-19 Panini National Treasures Luka Doncic Logoman RPA sold in March.

The sale ties the all-time record for any card with the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card purchased by Rob Gough this past January, also through PWCC.

It’s fitting that a James RPA usurped Doncic’s. In February 2020 and then in July 2020, respectively, more than one James card held the record for most expensive basketball card: first a James/Michael Jordan dual Logoman ($900,000) and then another version of the same record-breaking James parallel — albeit with a 9.5 BGS grade — both from the 2003-04 Exquisite Collection.

Given the incredible jump in value from $1.85 million to $5.2 million, most current holders of rare LeBron James cards are disinclined to sell, at least for the moment.

“There are LeBron cards [still] out there, I would say, worth over $10 million,” said Jesse Craig, PWCC’s director of business development. “And let’s be clear: There are three Mantle PSA 10s that, whenever they transact, will break every record there is. But as a market, there are so many desirable cards that haven’t sold yet publicly.

“It really helps when sales like these happen,” Craig continued. “It just instills confidence that there are really high-end buyers out there. And these cards are starting to get recognition as the pieces of fine art that they [are].”


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