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LeBron James Rookie NBA Card Sold For Record $1.8 Million At Auction

LeBron James Rookie NBA Card Sold For Record $1.8 Million At Auction

A rare rookie card from LeBron James' first NBA season with the Cleveland Cavaliers has been sold for $1.845 million at auction - a record sum for a basketball trading card.

The market for US collectables - particularly rookie cards of players who go on to be great - is huge. Yet this was an incredible amount, boosted by the fact that only 23 of LeBron's 2003/04 season cards were made (23 also being the player's shirt number).

Not only did the winning bid from Leore Avidar, CEO of Lob.com, smash the record for a basketball card, it also doubled the record for a modern, post-1980 card in any sport. That was the $923,000 paid in May for a card of baseball star Mike Trout.

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The reason for the sky-high price is not only LeBron's fame and success, plus the rarity of the card, but also that it was graded to be in "gem mint" condition.

We've really got to make sure we're not accidentally using one of these things as a drinks coaster.

One man who could arguably afford to do that is LeBron himself. The 16-time All-Star responded to the news with a cheeky: "Guess who has a couple of those exact ones too."

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It might seem a frivolous - and frankly insane - amount of money to spend on a piece of card. But the market for these collectables is so strong, it's unlikely to fall in value.

The most expensive trading card of all time remains the $3.2 million paid for a 1909-11 season card for baseball icon Honus Wagner in 2017.

The 'Jumbo Wagner' is viewed as the Holy Grail of trading cards - and the fame of the player with a modern generation of Americans is more connected to his card value than his exploits hitting home runs more than a century ago.

Lebron James
Lebron James
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Still, the 35-year-old LeBron can be flattered that his own rookie card is now the most expensive modern sports card - and basketball card - ever, even putting him ahead of Michael Jordan.

Though with MJ's legendary competitiveness, who's to say he won't bid $2 million at auction for his own rookie card later this year, just to own another record outright?

Imagery: PA Images

Topics: Basketball, Basketball News, NBA, nba news, lebron james

Alex Reid

Alex Reid is a writer at SPORTbible who’s previously strung words together for FourFourTwo, Boxing News, The Guardian and, yes, Cruise International (it’s about big ships, not Tom). Interests range from football and boxing to real sports like WWE and darts. He is not a cage fighter.