This title felt very familiar after I typed it out. Maybe it’s because I recently highlighted another sports card that sold for the same price. It seems that Mickey Mantle’s Topps #311 has some competition for the most expensive card crown, and it’s NOT from a fellow baseball player. Nope, instead, it’s from someone who has quickly risen to the top of the sports sphere and has been crowned ‘king’ of the courts for quite some time. And he’s only in his prime. Of course, we’re talking about the living legend...Lebron James!
King James is no stranger to high-price value for his cards. In fact, the very same card that just sold for this staggering amount was originally priced at $1.8 million back in the summer of 2020, when the world was spinning in a different direction. Low and behold, nearly a year later, the same rookie card has made the jump to legend status and become one of the highest-valued cards out there. However, the King will have to share the throne with Mickey Mantle...for now!
Just like my other sport card posts, I’ll give you all the detail behind the sale and some more background info on the card itself. Sound good?
This card goes all the way back to 2003-2004 when Lebron first entered the NBA as a rookie with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Ever since then, James has been climbing the ladder and is now one of the most popular and talented players ever to step on the court. So, it came as no surprise when his rookie cards sold for record-setting amounts back in 2020.
One of those cards was sold for $1.8 million, which I mentioned earlier, and that same card is the one that now has a $5.2 million price tag and is the property of another passionate collector with deep pockets. This card has been living in the U.K. for almost a full year, but who knows where it’s gone now. With so many wealthy collectors out there, the possibilities are endless.
So, what makes this particular card so special, aside from the obvious? Well, once again, it all comes back to the grade. You’re probably an expert in this field by now since many of my sports card blogs talk about the grading system and how it translates to value. This rookie Lebron James rookie card was graded by Beckett Grading (BGS) and achieved a 9.5 rating, which means that it is in ‘near perfect’ (or Gem Mint) condition. 10 is the highest grade given to a card and is considered perfect/mint condition.
If a 9.5 graded Lebron Rookie card sold for $5.2 million, I can only imagine what a mint condition version would sell for. As usual, I’d like to get your thoughts on the subject. Let me know what you think about the sale of this card in the comments below.