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A LeBron James rookie card sold for $1.8 million on Sunday at Goldin Auctions, setting a modern-day record price for a card. Lob.com CEO Leore Avidar purchased the autographed 2003-04 James rookie card.
The rare James rookie card, of which there were just 23 produced, sets a record for modern-day cards (cards made in 1980 or later) and is the most any basketball card has ever sold for. The James rookie card was graded as a 9.5 mint gem by the Beckett grading service, it was one of only two of these particular cards graded that high.
“If we were talking about a T206 [Honus] Wagner, or a 1952 [Mickey] Mantle, it probably wouldn’t be that much news,” Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions, told ESPN. “But when you’re talking about a card that was literally produced 17 years ago and is for a guy still playing in the NBA, it’s just shocking news to a lot of people. It’s really where my particular industry has been going for several years.”
The seven-figure sale broke a previous record set this past May when Goldin Auctions sold a gem mint Bowman Draft Chrome Red Refractor Mike Trout signed rookie card for $922,500. The Trout card was one of only five produced and considered to be the highest graded.
In 2020, Goldin Auctions has helped break three modern-day card records. Along with the James and Trout rookie card sales, the auction house also sold a 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Logoman card featuring James and Michael Jordan for $900,000.