It did not take long to break the auction record for a modern-day trading card… I am referring to a card that was produced after 1980. In June, I wrote about a Mike Trout rookie card that made $922K… well, a LeBron James trading card from his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers just shattered that record!
Why would a card that was produced just 17 years ago be so valuable? Limited production! The 2003-04 Upper Deck set of Basketball cards titled the Exquisite Collection is one of the most sought after sets of cards by collectors. The base set included 78 cards of which 36 were rookie players from the 2003 – 04 basketball season and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh were among the rookies.
The card that was just auctioned, is from a parallel collection called the Rookie Patch Autograph collection, meaning it had a slight variation to the base card and each rookie card included the players’ autograph and a patch from their jersey. Upper Deck only produced as many cards as the number on that player’s jersey, as a result, there were only 23 cards made for LeBron James; this card is numbered 14/23.
Currently, there are only 2 known examples of the LeBron James Rookie Autograph Patch card that are graded 9.5 mint gem by Beckett grading services; the card that just sold is one of them. As 34 bidders battled to take possession of the prized card, an auction record was achieved when it finally sold to Leore Avidar, the CEO of Lob.com, for $1.5M ($1.845M w/p)! By the way, when the cards were released, only one Rookie Patch Autograph card was included in each pack of cards which cost $500! That was considered a really ridiculous price – obviously today it would be a real steal!
And if any of you are interested in bidding on another Mike Trout rookie card, one is coming up at auction soon…starting bid is $1M!! I will let you know how that goes!