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LeBron James, Kobe Bryant rookie cards sold for record prices nearing $2M

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3-min read

A LeBron James "Exquisite Collection" rookie card and a "Black Label" Kobe Bryant rookie card are both big earners in the latest Goldin Auction. The stars' cards went for more than $1.5 million each in separate records. 

James rookie card auctioned for $1.5M

The first LeBron James "Exquisite Collection" rookie card ever produced sold for $1,537,500 million at auction, 10 times the minimum starting bid. 

The card sold Saturday via Goldin Auctions and is an all-time record for this card in the 8.5 rating category by Beckett Grading Cards system. The signature was graded the high of 10 by Beckett. 

The signed patch rookie card is considered in near mint to mint-plus condition, per Goldin, and the is the first of its kind ever produced.

"The importance of this point — to the collecting industry and to LeBron's legions of devoted enthusiasts — simply cannot be overstated," Goldin wrote in the item listing. 

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Bidding opened at $150,000, but quickly skyrocketed with 24 bids placed before the extended bidding period began, per Bleacher Report. Goldin wrote in the listing: 

The 16-time NBA All-Star has penned a vivid blue ink signature on the obverse of this fantastic collectible. Its cardfront presentation also incorporates an exceptional, James-worn jersey patch relic. A congratulatory statement on the card's back attests to the authenticity of the signature and genuineness of the patch component, and serves as Upper Deck’s COA. The limited-edition piece is serial-numbered "32/99." Near Mint to Mint-plus condition.

A different James card also set an all-time record through Goldin on Saturday. The 2004 Ultimate Collection James card sold for $1,291,500, which is an all-time record according to Goldin for any James card produced from 2004 to the present. 

Bryant card sells for all-time record

Goldin said it sold a 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors Kobe Bryant rookie card in 10 pristine condition for $1,795,800, which is said is an all-time record for a Kobe card. The bidding started at $250,000 and ended as the 10th most-expensive trading card sale of all time, per Darren Rovell of Action.

The sale knocked Michael Jordan's 1997 autographed jersey card sold for $1.4 million out of the top-10, per Rovell. 

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It is the fourth-most expensive basketball trading card. A Mickey Mantle Topps 1952 card is the most expensive card ever at $5.2 million.

The rookie card has a run of perfect "10" scores in centering, corners, edges and surface, Goldin said in its listing. It earned it a prestigious "Black Label" distinction. 

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