LeBron James rookie card sells for $1.72 million

Rookie trading cards of LeBron James continue to soar in price, not unlike King James driving to the basket.

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A 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Patch card featuring James’ autograph and a swatch of his Cleveland Cavaliers jersey sold for $1.72 million Saturday night in Goldin Auctions’ April Premium Card Auction, according to the New Jersey-based auction house. Eighteen bidders drove the price up from its opening bid of $500,000 according to the auction listing. The final price included a buyer’s premium.

In a tweet, Goldin said the price was a record for that particular card.

The card was graded 9 out of 10 -- mint condition -- by Beckett Grading Services, according to the auction listing. James’ signature was graded a perfect 10 by the grading service, located in suburban Dallas.

The card, which was limited to 99 copies, had a serial number of 09/99, according to the auction listing.

“LeBron James is one of the greatest of all time so it’s no surprise that his cards continue to smash records,” Ken Goldin, founder and chairman of Goldin Auctions, said in a statement. “What’s really incredible is the massive enthusiasm that we’re seeing across other sports and categories. Prices for cards across sports like golf, soccer and hockey, and for trading card games like Pokémon, have absolutely taken off and we’re just scratching the surface.”

A similar card, graded 8.5 by Beckett, sold for $1.537 million in March 2021, according to Bleacher Report. In July 2020, an Exquisite Rookie Patch autograph parallel card of James that was graded 9.5 by Beckett sold for more than $1.8 million by Goldin Auctions, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

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