LeBron James’ $5.2 Million Basketball Rookie Card Is Most Expensive Ever Sold

King James just dwarfed Michael Jordan’s $1.4 million NBA rookie card.

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LeBron James‘ rookie card just tied Mickey Mantle’s for the most expensive trading card ever sold. 

PWWC Marketplace announced that a collector picked up the former Cavaliers and current Lakers star’s autographed rookie card for $5.2 million, also setting the record for the most valuable basketball card of all time. 


According to Robb Report, the 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection RPA (Rookie Patch Autograph) Parallel card received a 9 overall from Beckett Grading Services, with the signature notching a perfect 10.

“At the heart of every collector in 2003, was the hope of pulling the ultra-rare Lebron James Rookie Patch Auto Parallel numbered to 23 copies,” PWCC wrote on Instagram. 

“With so few ever becoming available and demand increasing by the day, this card is quickly becoming the crown jewel of all sports card investing.”

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Naturally, King James’ card’s worth is being compared to Michael Jordan’s autographed, game-worn jersey fragment card. But His Airness’ most expensive card only netted $1.4 million—the more competitive example is the $4.6 million Luka Doncic 2018-2019 National Treasures Auto Logoman card that sold last month. 

Trading card prices have skyrocketed in the past year, with lofty records being broken every few months. Robb Report has more info: 

In August, a one-of-a-kind, autographed Mike Trout rookie card sold for $3.94 million, comfortably beating the previous record holder, a $3.12 million T206 Honus Wagner that sold for in October 2016.

That record would stand until this January, when one of the five grade 9 Mickey Mantle rookie cards in existence sold for $5.2 million.

At least by the trading card value metric, James is indeed basketball’s GOAT.