LeBron James rookie card goes for record $ 1.8 million at auction

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A 2003-2004 LeBron James Upper Deck rookie parallel patch card sold at auction for $ 1.845 million on Sunday at the Goldin auction to Lob.com CEO Leore Avidar.The price tag on the rare card sets a record for modern cards (recognized as cards produced in 1980 or later) and it is the largest number of basketball cards ever sold.

“If we were talking about a T206 [Honus] Wagner, or a 1952 [Mickey] Mantle, that probably wouldn’t be so much news, ”said Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions. But when you talk about a card that was literally produced 17 years ago and is for a guy who still plays in the NBA, that’s just shocking news for a lot of people. This is really where my particular industry has been going for several years. ”

The record sale surpassed the previous record set in May when the same auction house sold a rookie card signed by Mike Trout, a rookie card signed Bowman Draft Chrome Red GEM for $ 922,500. The Trout card was one of the five highest rated cards produced.

The auction house has now helped break three modern card records this year alone by selling a Logoman card from the exquisite Upper Deck 2003-2004 collection featuring LeBron James and Michael Jordan for $ 900,000, the Trout card in May. for $ 922,500 and now eclipsing the million dollars. mark with the James card.

The Upper Deck Rookie Patch Autograph Set typically only produced 99 of each card, which included a player’s Rookie Season jersey patch and an on-card autograph. This particular James card, however, was part of the parallel patch autograph set that only produced the same number of cards matching the number on the player’s jersey.

For James, wearing the number 23, there was only 23 of this card produced, and as it was classified as a 9.5 mint gem by the Beckett rating service, it was one of two only of these particular cards at this level.

“There are only two, one of them is in private hands and the other has been auctioned,” Goldin said. “So that was really the best LeBron card anyone could have hoped for. It was a very active call for tenders, a lot of bidders, and we are satisfied with the results. “

The basketball card market has grown steadily over the years with increasingly modern card sales coming from the basketball side.

“Right now, I would say basketball is in some cases stronger than baseball and in other cases neck and neck with baseball,” Goldin said. “I have a lot of foreign bidders from China, we have had bidders from the Middle East, bidders from Australia and Europe. With baseball, it’s completely North American; that’s 99% of North America. With basketball, this could be as much as 50 to 60 percent of the foreign auction because it is more of a global sport.

“He’s growing up and I think he could potentially have more growth than baseball in the collection aspect. ”

The same lot also sold a pair of Michael Jordan season rookies, 1984-1985 gaming shoes for $ 369,000, as well as a 2004-2005 LeBron James Autographed Parallel Patch card for $ 246,000.

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